Yesterday I harvested my "Early Moonbeam" watermelon. It was certainly an interesting learning experience growing watermelon for the first time.
I couldn't have had a better Summer for my first attempt. It was extremely hot and dry for the Pacific Northwest; we set a record for the number of days over 90 degrees. But I learned watermelon plants need more than heat. I needed to provide my plants with more water and more fertilizer than I first thought.
Without daily watering, my plants only set 4 fruit and the leaves started to curl. The plants were very much alive but essentially stopped growing.
Once I began a regular fertilization program and watered everyday, the plants took off again. The vines started branching like crazy and I had a strong second flush of blooms. From that mid-September flush, the plants set 9 more fruit that grew faster and larger than the fruit set in the first flush. None of them hit the 5-8 lbs. mark that the catalog described, but they were closer! Unfortunately, since they set so late in the season, they didn't have a lot of hot weather to help produce sugars and sweetness. Still, I was happy with my first try at growing watermelon. Here are the final numbers. I harvested a total of 13 watermelon this year. The largest was 3 lbs. 1.3 oz and the smallest was 12.3 oz. The average size of the watermelon harvested was 1 lbs. 14.70 oz. and my total harvest weighed in at 24 lbs. 15.6 oz.