Guide To Growing Watermelons | How To Grow Sugar Baby Watermelon

Learn how to grow watermelons, specially Sugar Baby watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) from seeds in containers or in raised bed in garden at home.

Sugar Baby watermelons, one of the sweetest watermelon cultivars have a brix (sweetness) measurement of 10.2.  The Sugar Baby melons are heirloom variety with small 18-20 cm (7 to 8 inch) size and weigh about 4-5 kg (8 to 10 pounds) having small dark brown seeds or tan-black seeds.

Sugar Baby Watermelon
Sugar Baby Watermelon

The sugar baby watermelon fruit has green rind with slight dark veins and red, firm, super sweet flesh. The sugar baby watermelon vines can spread out to 4 m (12 feet). The vine needs at least 60 square feet of space to grow and produce fruits.
The sugar baby watermelon fruit has orange to red juicy flesh.
Sugar Baby Watermelon from inside

The above picture shows a ripe sugar baby watermelon from inside. The fully ripe sugar baby melon inner flesh ranges from red-orange to red having  small dark brown seeds. A single watermelon can have about 10-20 seeds.

Growing Sugar Baby Watermelons From Seeds

  1. You may germinate the seeds in a small pot indoors at least six to eight weeks before outdoor planting time. 
  2. Grow watermelons from Spring to Summer.
  3. Select a fully ripe sugar watermelon and take out its seeds. 
  4. Soak the seeds in water for 1 day. Discard the seeds that are floating as they may not germinate.
  5. Discard white seeds, as they are immature seeds.
  6. Sow the seeds directly in soil in rows about 1 cm deep, 40-50cm apart and 100cm between rows.
  7. Seed may germinate within a week. 
  8. As watermelons is an annual vine, you will have to plant watermelons every year.

Soil For Planting and Growing Sugar Baby Watermelon 

Sugar watermelons grow best in rich, well-draining soil. Add lots of compost or cow manure in the soil to make it nutrition rich.

Position: Where to Plant Sugar Baby Watermelon

  1. Sugar Baby melons require warm, dry temperatures.
  2. Plant Sugar watermelon where it can receive at least eight hours of sun light per day. 
  3. Watermelons will stop growing on cool temperatures below 18ºC (60ºF).

Watering Sugar Baby Watermelon Plants

  1. Sugar Baby watermelon vines requires regular watering. Too much or too little water will stop growing watermelon plant.
  2. Give the watermelon plants plenty of water to grow the largest, sweetest, and juiciest fruit. Don’t overwater, Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry between watering.

Mulch For Sugar Baby Watermelon

  1. Put a thick layer of sugarcane mulch, straw or grass clippings around the plant for moisture retention and weed control.
  2. You can use stakes or wooden board to protect the fruit from the ground as it matures.

Sugar Baby Watermelon Flowers, Pollination and Fruits

  1. The baby watermelons mature in about 75 days.
  2. The fruits are packed with full-size flavour and sweetness.
  3. The flesh is red coloured due to lycopene, an antioxidant that gives red colour. A close variety has yellow coloured flesh due to the lack of red pigment.
  4. Sugar baby watermelons per plant: How many sugar baby watermelons a plant can produce:? The sugar baby watermelon vine produces two or three melons per plant. First many fruits will form, but most of these young melons will fall off and only the strongest fruits remain on the vine to ripen.
  5. The Sugar Baby plants have both yellow male and female flowers which are pollinated by bees. The male flowers appear first on the vine and the female flowers follow afterwards. Approximately, there are about one female flower for every seven male flowers.
  6. It is easy to find a male and a female flower. A male flower will connect directly to the vine while A female flower have a bulb looking like a miniature watermelon below the flower, while a male flower will not have such a bulb.

Hand Pollination of Watermelon flowers

Sometimes, due to insufficient bee populations or wet weather conditions the flowers are not pollinated. You can hand pollinate the flowers as you hand pollinate bottle gourd flowers. 

Simply rub a soft paintbrush or cotton swab in the male flowers gently and transfer the pollen to the female blooms. Once pollinated, the small watermelon will grow into a full size watermelon in about 5 weeks. 

When a Sugar Baby watermelon is ready to harvest? 

Watermelons do not ripen once harvested, therefore, they will not become sweeter after harvest. So it is important to pick the fruit at correct stage. 

So when to pick the baby watermelon? Predicting the sugar baby water melon is ripe can be tricky. Green colour at the attachment point means the fruit is not yet ripe. You can pick the melon when the attachment point begins to turn brown and dry.

A fully ripe melon will be of dark orange colour inside. If you find that your sugar baby watermelon is white inside, it means it is under-ripe, not ready for harvest.

How To Improve Taste of Watermelons?

Can you improve the taste of watermelon and make it sweet?

  1. Lack of magnesium or boron in the soil will grow unsweet tasteless watermelons. To sweeten watermelons, mix about 1.5 tablespoons of Epsom salts and 1 tablespoon of borax in 5 litre (1.3 gallon) of water and give to the plant.
  2. You can just sprinkle salt on the soil to improve the taste.
  3. Add lots of composted manure in the soil while planting.
  4. The add blood meal an bone meal in the soil every 3 to 4 weeks.
  5. To grow the largest, sweetest, and juiciest fruit, give your watermelon  lots of water, but do not overwater.

Fertilizer For Sugar Watermelon  

  1. Add lots of compost in the soil to add micronutrients when you sowing the watermelon seeds.
  2. When watermelon plant is young, use nitrogen based fertilizer or 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 general purpose fertilizer.
  3. Start feeding a fertilizer high in potassium and phosphorus (NPK 5-10-10) when the plant begins flowering.  Excessive nitrogen at this stage will just result in foliage growth of the vine with no fruits.
  4. Liquid seaweed fertilizer is also good when the foliage first emerges and once the plants have flowered.
  5. Water well after fertilization so that the roots easily absorb the nutrients.

Sugar Baby Watermelon Diseases

The watermelon vines are susceptible to aphids, nematodes, spotted and striped cucumber beetle, grasshoppers, beetles, leaf miner flies, anthracnose, gummy stem blight, and powdery mildew and various fungal diseases. To prevent any fungal disease, do not water over the leaves. You can use a fungicide to control fungal disease.

You can plant chamomile, dill, cosmos and pineapple sage which attract insects that eat watermelon pests, aphids, caterpillars, beetles, etc. You can spray a dilute solution of neem oil periodically to control insect problems.

Pruning Sugar Baby Watermelon

  1. Correct pruning watermelons makes vine healthier and increases fruit size.
  2. Pinch out the growing tip when the new plant has 5 or 6 leaves to encourage the growth of side shoots. 
  3. Remove the imperfect melons or rotting melons so that the plant can to put its energy to grow bigger and juicier melons.
  4. Prune the tips if the vine is spreading and overlapping other plants.

Growing Sugar Baby Watermelon in Containers

Due to its compact nature and relatively small fruits size, Sugar Baby watermelon is suitable for growing in containers.

Pot Size

  1. Pot should be at least of 25 litre size, larger is better.
  2. The container must have several drainage holes go drain excess water.

Sugar baby watermelon growing in a Pot on a trellis
Sugar baby watermelon growing in a Pot on a trellis

Use Trellis To Grow Sugar Baby Watermelons Vertically on Trellis

You can use a trellis to climb your baby watermelon to save garden floor space and utilizes the unused vertical area. Otherwise, just allow the vine to grow on ground. 

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