Although related to cantaloupe, cucumbers, and squashes; watermelon stands alone.
When you grow your own you'll find out what I mean- and how it got it's name. Oh, and be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
Plant your seeds the same way you would winter squashes, 3-4 to a hill. Give them a good full sun and a well-drained fluffy soil.
Watermelon does love some moisture, so mulching is recommended.
Just note that some pests like to hide under mulch, so you may want to pull it back a bit, depending on what critters are in your garden.
Our issues were with those rascally rabbits, so the solution was to hide the fruit. In previous years I've used cardboard boxes, but this time I tried out some plastic buckets instead. The boxes stay damp and can cause issues in a wet summer.
You'll see I punched some good drainage holes, and this worked well enough that we even saved a few melons that they had found first.
Space your hills a good distance, watermelon vines can easily grow 8 ft. or more. Once you have a few good fruit going, pinch off the other flowers so your plants will put their effort where it's most needed.
One of the FAQ's we get is on harvesting watermelons.
At the market you 'thump' on them to see if they are ripe, right? Well, that works in the garden as well.
You can also tell (unless you use plastic buckets) by looking at the spot where the melon was touching the ground. When it starts yellowing, the melons are ready.
The last way to know if it's time to harvest is by looking at the tendril nearest the fruit, when it begins to turn brown it's time to pick.
Botanical name: Citrullus lanatus
Yield: Most varieties produce 1-2 fruit, some as many as 5.
Days to Maturity: 80-100 days, depending on variety, when direct seeded.
Storage: Can be held fresh for a week or two; can be made into jelly, sorbet and watermelon rind pickles, or frozen as melon balls. Don't defrost completely before serving.
Pests: Cucumber beetles, plant radishes nearby to help repel them.
More on melons.