Moon and Stars watermelon is a vigorous heirloom vine that was almost lost forever and is now one of the most popular farm stand varieties. These juicy melons have dark red meat and the sweetness and flavor are unmatched. Being easy to grow and cold and drought resistant make this a winner for your garden and your kitchen.
Watermelons like lots of space to sprawl (about 10 feet per plant) and as such, it helps to plant them well out of the way of walking areas. If a vine gets stepped on, this could be the end for it due to infection and the like.
Common name: Moon and Stars Watermelon
Botanical name: Citrullus lanatus
Type: Tender annual
Scarification/Stratification: None needed, but it helps germination to soak seed in hot water for 8 hours. Some liquid seaweed/kelp in said water will make bigger plants!
Hardiness: Frost tender
Sow temp/season: 70F+ in spring. Same time as corn seed.
Sow depth/spacing: Plant 1 inch deep 9 to a hill. Hills spaced at least five feet apart.
Germination time: One week.
Final spacing: Thin to three to a hill or 1 per foot in rows spaced three feet apart.
Final height/spread: 10 inches tall and watermelon vines can sprawl 50 feet from crown of plant!
pH range: 5.5-7.5
Soil type: Loose, rich soils that have lots of organic matter and nutrition. Vigor favors the soils that are higher on the pH scale and loaded with compost and manure (Or balanced feed)
Root type: Watermelons have many pencil thick taproots each with its own lateral branching.
Nutrition After making hills loaded with compost and balanced fertilizer, I like to poke three inch (3x3x3) holes into soil, filling the hole with compost, plant three seeds spaced in hole, tamp down and fill to the top with coarse sand (1/4 inch). Thin to best plant in holes. After the plants are six inches tall, add a teaspoon of high N feed (bat guano) four inches from the crown of plant on highpoint of hills. I like to make a hole with my thumb an inch deep and fill with feed and cover with soil (keeps the feed in place). When you see the first flower, do the same with a high P feed (fish bone meal) Massive vines and melons.
Drainage: Watermelon does not like a wet crown. Hilling keeps crown dry and allows for a bit of wet feet. Good drainage is good for grade dirt as well.
Water requirement: Likes lots of deep waterings. Especially during fruiting.
Sun: Full sun (8 hours of direct sunlight)
Time to maturity: 100 days
Hilling: No additional hilling needed.
Suckering: No suckering, but watermelon branches profusely.
Propagation: Direct seeding is best, but one can plant one seed per four inch pot and transplant to final location. Some like to plant in peat pot and plant the pot and all to prevent transplant shock. It works well if your growing season is short.
Hybridization: Plant different varieties of watermelon 200 feet apart if you want to keep genetics pure.
Uses: Lots of good time around the barbecue. One can cut in half, scoop out the fruit and use rind as a compost-able bowl for fruit salad.