Not everybody has a large garden to grow desired vegetables and fruits. In that case, you can grow your favorite plants in pots or containers, or buckets.
This is an ideal way of growing colorful plants for those who are facing the problem of limited space. This is also good news for watermelon lovers. It means you can grow this sweet juicy treat easily in a 5-gallon bucket.
The Benefits Of Growing Watermelon In A 5-Gallon Bucket
The main advantage of growing watermelon in a 5-gallon bucket is space-saving. But this is not the only reason for growing watermelon in buckets. Following are the other benefits of growing melons in a bucket.
- This smart idea provides warm soil as watermelon likes. If you transplant or plant the seeds in cool soil then your seed will not germinate and the transplanted plants will not thrive. The soil in the container warms quickly so you can start your growing season earlier as compared to the watermelons that are grown in the ground.
- If you use a dark color bucket then it can absorb more sunlight and the soil in the bucket will warm faster. You can start your growing season a few weeks before planting watermelon in the ground.
- Water is an important factor in the healthy growth of any plant. So you have to maintain the moisture level of the soil. When you grow watermelons in the bucket then you can control the moisture level easily. If you want to make your watermelon plants happy then you should increase the frequency of water.
- Pests are a threat to your watermelon but when you grow your watermelon in a 5-gallon bucket and place it on your balcony, patio, porch, or deck then watermelon plants will be protected from pill bugs, wireworms, slugs, and other ground-level pests.
Watermelon Varieties For Growing In Containers
When you grow watermelon in a 5-gallon bucket then you can’t grow a variety that can grow up to 10 feet because it is very difficult to maintain. In that case, you should select a variety that is [perfect for a 5-gallon bucket.
The ideal variety for growing in small spaces is ‘Bush Sugar Baby’ watermelons. The height of this plant only reaches 24 to 36 inches. It means this is the right variety for bucket gardening.
The size of watermelon produced by this variety is about 10 to 12 pounds. Each vine can easily produce 2 to 3 watermelons which have a green rind and red flesh.
The other varieties that grow best in a 5-gallon bucket are:
- Golden Widget Watermelon
- Orange Sweet Watermelon
- Crimson Sweet Watermelon
- Jubilee Watermelon
- Millennium Watermelon
- Moon and Stars Watermelon
- Solitaire Watermelon
- Early Moonbeam Watermelon
The Best Soil For Growing Watermelons In 5-Gallon Bucket
After choosing the right variety and 5-gallon bucket for growing watermelons. The next step is filling the bucket with soil. If you want to thrive your watermelon well in the 5-gallon bucket then you should use the right soil.
If you use well-drained soil then it will dry out very quickly which is not suitable for the watermelon plants and the production of fruit. On the contrary, if you use soil that is not well drained then soggy soil Cos root rot and many fungal diseases.
As you know watermelon plants don’t like drained soil and they are also heavy feeders. You must choose high-quality potting made as it contains all the essential nutrients.
It is better to combine your potting soil with compost. The compost you add to the soil will absorb the soil and help to retain water. The potting mix you use keeps the soil light and well drained.
Compost not only contains nutrients but also provides beneficial microbes to the soil.
Should We Grow Watermelon From Seed Or Transplant?
Now we will discuss which way is best for growing watermelon. You can grow watermelon from seeds or transplants.
- Growing watermelon from seed is a cheap and inexpensive way. You can easily transplant the young seedling into a 5-gallon bucket. The downside of this method is that the growing season will become long. When you grow watermelon from seed then it will be ready to harvest within 80 to 85 days. Sometimes it happens that your seed will not germinate and your time will be wasted. When you grow watermelon from seeds and transplanted them into the bucket. It may be possible that your young seedlings can’t tolerate the transplant shock and will not produce the specific variety you are looking for.
- When you transplant the watermelon plants then you can get mature fruit earlier which is not possible when you grow from seeds. The downside of transplanting is that the readymade plants from any local nursery or gardening store can be costly.
How To Plant Watermelons In 5-Gallon Bucket From Seeds?
Now we are going to discuss with you important guidelines about how to grow watermelon from seeds in a 5-gallon bucket.
- You can buy seeds online or at a local gardening center. This is an inexpensive way of growing watermelon. If you want to grow earlier then you can start the seeds indoors otherwise sow the seeds directly in a 5-gallon bucket outdoors.
- In case you are living in an area where you have a short growing season then it is suggested that you should start seeds indoors and transplant them when the temperature is favorable for young seedlings. For regions that have a long growing season then the seeds can be sown easily after the last frost date.
- For sowing the seeds indoors you need starting trays. Fill the trays with a starting mix. Make one-fourth inch of holes and put 2-3 watermelon seeds in each hole.
- Use a spray bottle to water the newly sown seeds. Seeds need water for germination to keep the soil moist. But never make the soils soggy otherwise the seeds will rot.
- The suitable temperature for germination of watermelon seeds should be higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For maintaining the temperature you can also use a heating mat.
- If you provide suitable conditions then proceeds will germinate within 3 to 10 days.
- The young seedlings need light to grow faster so you should place the tray near a sunny windowsill where they receive enough light.
- Regularly examine the seedlings when they grow 3 to 4 inches tall then this is the right time to transfer them to their permanent location.
- Prepare your 5-gallon bucket for transplanting the young seedling. But before that, you should harden them.
- Before transplanting the seedling, you should move them outdoors for a few hours daily. After that move them inside your home because they can’t tolerate full sunlight or wind.
- When your seedlings are hardened, this is the right time to transplant them in a 5-gallon bucket.
- Fill your bucket with a high-quality potting mix and make a hole in the center of the bucket and place your seedlings in it. Now cover the roots of the seedlings with a potting mix.
- Now your seedlings need water to adjust to the new environment.
- 20 Best Vegetables To Grow In Buckets
- Growing Pumpkins In 5 Gallons Buckets
- Growing Peas In 5-Gallon Buckets
How To Grow Watermelon In 5-Gallon Bucket From Transplants?
If you are living in such an area where the growing season is very short, you have to buy seedlings from any local nursery or gardening store. You can directly transplant the watermelon’s seedlings into a 5-gallon bucket.
It is better to move them outdoors for a few hours daily before transplanting. Within one week then transplant them.
But you should keep in mind that the size of the nursery-bought
watermelon plant is according to the 5-gallon bucket. If the plants grew in a peat palette then the first peal of the fine plastic mesh after that transplant.
In case, the transplant is grown in nursery pots and then carefully planted without disturbing the roots.
Watering A 5-Gallon Bucket Of Watermelon Plants
It doesn’t matter which method you use for growing watermelon plants. But after the transplant, they need water. Watermelon plants need moist soil so you should keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil.
You can check the surface of the soil with the help of your finger. If it feels dry it means it is time to water your plants. In summer, when the temperature is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit then heat dries the soil very quickly so your plants need more water.
The best time for watering your plants is in the morning and late afternoon. Make sure the bucket you are using must have drainage holes at the bottom so the excess water is easily drained from the holes.
Best Fertilizer For 5-Gallon Bucket Watermelons
When you fill your bucket with high-quality potting mix and compost it has nutrients for your favorite watermelon plants. But it is not enough for watermelon plants because they are heavy feeders.
You need granular organic fertilizer that contains phosphorus. You can also use liquid organic fertilizer with a high amount of phosphorus. You should apply two tbsp of fertilizer every 3 weeks after developing the true leaves of seedlings.
How To Support Watermelon Plants?
Although you are growing a smaller variety in a 5-gallon bucket, watermelon is a vining plant and needs some support to produce healthy and juicy fruit.
With perfect support watermelons never break from the vine due to their weight. Ideal support helps to get fresh air and harvesting becomes easier.
You can use tomato cages or wooden stakes for this purpose. As watermelon vines start growing then tie them for stability.
This fruit is heavy so the vine can’t bear its weight. You need any stretchy material and tie it to the support to form a sling. Your watermelon grows in the sling until it is ready to harvest.
How Do You Know When Watermelon Is Ripe?
After transplanting the watermelon plants into a 5-gallon bucket, then your wait begins when sweet watermelons are ready for you to eat. Commercial farmers use a Brix refractometer.
This tool is very helpful as you can measure the sugar content of watermelon. This is a good option so you should buy a Brix meter if your pocket allows you.
The maturity time of ‘Bush Sugar Baby’ is about 80 to 85 days. Never pick your watermelon too early because it will not give you a perfect taste. For home gardeners following are the tips that will help you to check about watermelons ready to pick.
- The maturity time of ‘Bush Sugar Baby’ is about 80 to 85 days. Never pick your watermelon too early because it will not give you a perfect taste.
- If the underside of the fruit is yellow then you should pick your fruit. If it is light green or white it means your watermelon is not ready to pick.
- You should carefully inspect the tendril of the watermelon. If it starts to shrivel and turn brown it means your fruit is ready to be harvested.
- You need a sharp scissor or pruner for cutting watermelons off from the vine. Some portion of the stalk must be cut along with watermelon to keep it fresh for a long time.
- Thumping the watermelon with your fist is another way of checking.
If you want a sweet flavor for your watermelons then stop watering them two weeks before picking. When your watermelon is ready to be harvested then you can cut it from the vine with the help of a knife for a pruner.