Monday 20 February 2017

Watermelon grown at my balcony

Yes, watermelon takes a lot of space and it almost impossible to grow them at our highrise apartments in Singapore. After doing some research on the internet, I saw people across the world growing watermelon vertically.

I have a balcony and it is not a big area for the watermelon to grow. I have other plants and trees growing in my balcony already and there isn't much space for watermelon. I was determined to grow at least one. One day, I was eating watermelon and saved a couple of seeds to sow. These were the red flesh watermelon. I placed two seeds into the soil. Another day later, I ate yellow flesh watermelon and placed two seeds into the soil too. I marked them but in the end, I got mixed up and couldn't distinguish them. Only the fruit will tell us in the future.

The watermelon seeds germinated almost the same time and grew quickly. In a couple of weeks, they were already one foot long. They started bearing flowers and mostly male flowers. After say 5 to 10 flowers, I saw the female flowers appearing. The female flowers will have a small under-developed watermelon beneath it. I plucked the male flowers and rubbed the pollen onto the female flower until the stigma is covered with pollen. The flowers will wither in the afternoon and it is better to do the manual pollination in the morning. Of course, if there are natural pollinators such as bees in near the flowers, it is not necessary to do the manual pollination. I needed to be sure that the female flower was pollinated.

The watermelon were growing and spreading quickly. I had to put a "trellis" over the pot to let the vines climb. I let the watermelon circled itself and made sure that the leaves get enough sunlight.

After one or two days, the watermelon will "drape" over and hang onto the stalk. If the pollination is successful, the watermelon will grow gradually in size.

It is amazing to watch it growing bigger each day. However, during this stage or earlier, you will need to do some examinations on the leaves and vines to see for spidermites and mealybugs. They are the worst enemies for watermelon. The spidermites will hide under the leaves and suck all the juice from the leaves. The mealybugs will also be there. I have a tough time to get rid of them. The watermelon stopped growing after 30 days because of the spidermites and mealybugs. I let the watermelon to stay on the stalk for another 30 days before harvesting. So, the total number of days is 60, after the pollination.

Watermelon ready to harvest
Watermelon ready to harvest

The diameter of the watermelon is about 7 cm. The flesh is red coloured and it is 2 times the sweetness of the watermelon in the supermarket. The skin is about 3mm thick. There are about 20 black seeds that I have saved for the next growing season.

Balcony grown watermelon
Balcony grown watermelon
For the growing of watermelon in Singapore, please refer to my blog.

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