Fruit and Vegetables

Watermelon - Cucurbita


GeneralitŠ°


Known since ancient times, it has been and still is much loved for its fresh and dissecting pulp.
The watermelon, also called watermelon, (Cuccumis citrullus or Citrullus vulgaris) is a plant with an annual vegetative cycle; it has a herbaceous stem, long prostrate, creeping, hairy leaves, petiolate, yellow flowers with a bell-shaped corolla. The fruit is a peponide with a varied shape, from spherical to oval, skin from dark green to whitish, red pulp (but in some whitish or rosy varieties) with a sweet taste due to its sugar content. The dimensions of the fruit are variable, according to the botanical varieties of the plant, from the C. vulgaris maximus, very large, to the hybrid varieties with small fruit with a diameter of about 20 cm.

Variety



we remember the Crimson sweet medioprecoce with medium-sized fruit, the early Sugar baby hybrid F1, the Charleston gray 133 with oblong fruit, late, the Blue Belle Hybrid F1 round, very productive, the Iimperial Hybrid F1 round, early, Florida Giant, The Blue Ribbon, the Ashai Miyako F1 Hybrid early with round fruit.
The most cultivated varieties are: the watermelon of Pistoia and Faenza, the hybrid Baby Funn large and the latter resistant to diseases, Black Diamond, The Klondike Blue Ribbon with large oblong fruit, the average sugar Baby, excellent are the forty and the Fifty from the time needed to mature.

Climate


it prefers the temperate-warm climate, to give good results, it wants heat, light and water in abundance.

Ground


the soil must be of medium mixture, dissolved, rich in organic substance, deep and permeable with a reaction from 5.5 to 7.

Propagation



It is carried out directly in the garden at the beginning of spring in the south and in April-May in the north. The seeds, in the number of 2 or 3, are placed in small holes 1-1,5 m apart from each other on the row and 2-2,3 m between the rows, at a depth of about 3-4 cm.
The sowing for normal production takes place in April, in holes between them one meter and a half in every direction and fifty centimeters deep. Since the harvest begins in July, the space between one plant and the other can be exploited with a vegetable in a very rapid development, which can conclude its cycle before the watermelons are fully developed. When sowing five or six seeds are dropped in each small hole, to then leave only the two plants that are more robust.
The watermelon can also be sown in different ages, in pots full of soil in protected crops and then transplanted to dwelling, in rows outdoors or in tunnels for a forced cultivation.

Fertilization and cultural care


bury 4 q / 100 square meters of mature manure or compost. Before the seedbed is prepared, a phospho-potassium fertilizer is applied.
The cultivation treatments include the thinning with which two seedlings are left for each little hole, the topping, or the truncation of the primary shoot after the fourth leaf, to stimulate the growth of other branches that will be equally trimmed, scerbature and hoeing to aerate the soil and keep it clean from weeds; a couple of water interventions at the request of the climatic conditions, not to be carried out, however, to the ripening and harvesting of fruits; scrappage is done to eliminate unnecessary secondary shoots. The fruits are isolated from the ground with plastic sheets (or wooden laths in the case of a few plants) to protect them from humidity and parasites.
During the vegetative cycle the soil is maintained with weeding and hoeing: the waterings slow down and, if possible, they are suspended as the complete ripening approaches. The watermelon can be harvested when the tendril of the peduncle is detached or appears completely dried. Help plant development by administering a complex fertilizer such as 8-24-24 in granular form.

Turnover


it is advisable to wait a few years before repeating the cultivation on the same land. Watermelon should be considered as a renewal crop.

Consociazione


goes well with many vegetables: onions, carrots, lettuces, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, peas, etc.

Collection



proceed to climb during the summer. Only experience allows us to detach the ideal ripening fruit. As an indication, the tendril of the peduncle must be dry and the typical bloom must be highlighted on the bark of the fruit.

AvversitŠ°


Among the cryptogams we report downy mildew which, although causing serious damage, has sporadic manifestations, oidium, cladosporiosis, tracheofusarosis and root rot, downy mildew. Among the animal parasites, aphids, mole cricket, beetle, noctodes, nematodes, mites are attacked.

Sheet


Origin: tropical Africa
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucurbita
Species: citrullus
Variety: spherical, oval, oblong fruit; dark green, light green, striated, red, rosy, yellowish pulp; early, semi-early, late cycle.
Climate: climate: temperate-warm, open and sunny exposure; optimum temperature 21-29 ° C.
Soil: deep, organic, with high water capacity; pH tendentially acidic.
Nutritional requirements: abundant anticipated manure, or compost, mixed with pollen, in pre-sowing, together with ternary fertilizers with high levels of potassium and phosphorus; potassium nitrate in cover.
Water requirements: normal during sprouting, high and constant during development.
Production cycle: annual; it occupies the ground for 90-150 days.
Sowing:
- to stay: April-May, 5-6 seeds in small holes distant from each other 1-1.5 m; sowing depth 2 cm; seed quantity g 15-20 / mq;
thinning: small plants 3 cm high; 1-2 plants per hole;
· In seedbed: protected, January February; in jars of 10 cm in diameter (2-3 seeds per jar); sowing depth 1 cm;
transplant: March-April, 20-30 days after sowing; 10 cm tall plants, with 4-5 leaves; distance: between the rows, 150 cm, on the 100 cm row
sprouting: 4-15 days; optimum temperature 25-28 ° C, minimum temperature 20 ° C.
Irrigation: the watermelon succeeds very well in very hot exposures, as long as it is assured an abundant water supply; in drought periods the night flood of the field is used. Compared to the very high needs of water, the watermelon has a shallow root system; however, imported varieties have deeper roots and therefore are less demanding.

Watermelon: cultivation works



Cultivation work: weeding, chipping, topping, possible thinning
Harvesting: the desiccation of the tendril next to the fruit, slight depression of the peel around the peduncle, appearance of the waxy patina (pruina) that covers the rind, the crunch of the pulp under pressure, a typical dull sound that is felt at the percussion;
July-September, 90-150 days after sowing; climb, for 1 month
Average production: 5 kg / sqm
Storage: 20-30 days at 3-4 ° C
Rotation: crop for renewal; it does not follow itself, other cucurbitacce, potato, tomato, aubergine, pepper, garlic, onion
Combination: not recommended
Due to the high percentage of water, watermelon is a poorly nutritious food, but sufficiently energetic due to its good content in assimilable sugars.
It is generally believed that it is a rather indigestible fruit, but this can be attributed precisely to the considerable water content, which strongly dilutes the gastric juices, and the habit of consuming it very cold, when it is hot, with the typical effect of iced drinks.
Watermelon is a voluminous food, which satisfies the sense of satiation long enough and for this prerogative is recommended in slimming diets, replacing some meals.
Its deliquescent, crunchy, particularly thirst-quenching pulp lends itself to the preparation of sugar-free shakes, very useful also for diuretic, laxative and detoxifying effects.
With watermelon he can take periodic treatment, similar to the well-known "grape cure"
The pulp must be perfectly ripe, that is uniformly red; the white parts, especially near the skin, must be discarded.
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