Is it possible to grow watermelons in a container?

jsvand5February 5, 2009

I am growing watermelons for the first time this year. I have grown tomatoes in pots for a few years and I was wondering if it is possible to grow watermelons in large pots or even the earthtainers and allow them to just grow over the side on to the ground? My soil is pretty much clay so it is much easier for me to just grow most things in pots. I will correct the soil if it's not possible to do in pots but I would prefer to go the pot route. Thanks for any info.

Also can anyone give any reviews on the varieties I chose? I went with Moon and Stars (round), Dixielee, and Klondike Blue ribbon.

Any other types that you can recommend? Maybe a seedless type? I am looking for mainly large/medium types.

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rnewste(8b NorCal)


I think a SWC like the EarthBox or EarthTainer would do very well for watermelons (letting them mature outside the 'Tainer on the ground). The constant water supply should be great for fruit development. If you have the extra space (and containers) give it a shot.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 8:22PM
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There are a few "bush type" varieties that stay small like Sugar Baby.
You'll probably have to water them more often though.
Good luck

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 4:45AM
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Thanks for the info. I think I am going to try a few in a SWC, a few in amended soil, and a few in the unchanged native soil just to see how each of them do.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 2:41PM
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I grew watermelon in 10 gallon container last year. And, darnit, I forgot the variety. But it was a seedless smaller variety of watermelon, you see it in grocery stores. It did fine. Never grew in the ground before so I do not know the difference. Got 3 fruit, but I also removed a bunch of fruit to focus on the bigger ones.

I plan to have at it again this year.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:04PM
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That gives me hope. Thanks. I would be thrilled with three fruit per plant. I just can't make myself spend as much as they ask at the grocery store for watermelon now. So hopefully it will work out ok.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 7:10PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

They love to do this kind of stuff at EPCOT but specialize in hanging it as well...took me a while to find a picture, scroll down to see other stuff as well as melons here.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 8:02PM
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Willhite Seed in Texas has a large enough selection of watermelons to keep your field of dreams full.
When your crop comes in here's an easy recipe for watermelon pickles;
in a 2 gallon container dissolve 1/2 c pickling/kosher salt + 1/2 c sugar + 1 pound coarsely chopped celery + 1/2 pound fresh dill greens + 2 tbs. pickling spice + 1.5 tsp. crushed cayenne + 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar + 1/2 pound crushed peeled garlic + 3 quarts cold water;
then add 3-4 pounds of watermelon wedges (skin still on) to above brine, refrigerate 1 week covered before eating

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Tomncath, great pictures from your visit to EPCOT. 9 lb lemon, a pumpkin tree. "When you wish upon a star..." Don't tell the people over in "it's a small world"
I will now try harder.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 2:47AM
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Yes, you certainly can grow watermelon in containers. It isn't even difficult. In fact most all melons thrive in warm soil which makes container growing an advantage in the north where soil stays cool even in summer.

I have grown Atlantic Giant pumpkins in an earth box and while I didn't set any records I ended up with a pumpkin I had to use a wheel barrow to move. The 'fruit' was over 2' in diameter and the vine was 20' long when I chopped the growing tip off.

If you are growing anything smaller the answer is an easy 'YES!' it can be done.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 3:00AM
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Thanks for all the info everyone. I am definitely going to give it a go.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:48PM
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The one thing not mentioned here that killed my pumpkin before it got big last year was that my SWC was 2 ft higher than the ground. As the pumpkin grew, the vine hardened and broke close to the container. I imagine the same could happen to a watermelon vine if your not careful.

You have to be able to support the vine until it comes in contact with the ground or wind or other environmental concerns could cause your vine to break.

Other than that, they are perfect environments to grow watermelons in.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 9:16AM
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That is a great point, jleiwig. I have had vines break in high winds before the vines reached the ground. It pretty much stinks when that happens, particularly for those of us with short growing seasons where there isn't time to start over.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 10:58PM
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How many watermelons can one plant produce? I've thought about doing this as well as I have a 6x8 greenhouse. I have access to ~5gal buckets.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:17PM
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It depends on the variety. For larger watermelons I'd say the max you want to allow the plant to produce would be 3, and some say that would be pushing it. For smaller types like sugar babies, I've seen 6 good size fruit from one vine.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:22AM
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I know I've seen pantyhose supports for trellis grown melons. I think they were slung from the trellis itself.

It sticks in my mind that they were grown up a stepladder.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:33PM
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mizadventure(9b FL)

That is what I was wondering clay and rock- can they be grown up a trellis net? Or are they too heavy and long? I have just a little space. What varieties would anyone recommend or is it best for large areas? Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 1:37AM
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can they be grown up a trellis net?

Depends on the breaking strength of the netting. If it is the common nylon netting with 7" openings then it is very risky. This netting has around a 60-70lb breaking strength and this includes the force of wind blowing things around.

It barely survives a season for me with tomatos and cucumbers, I wouldn't even think of melons on it.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 1:43AM
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mizadventure(9b FL)

JAG, yep it's that nylon 60 lb type. Hmmm... I will keep thinking on this. Would strong stakes work? Or perhaps if I build a shelf up high on a wall and let them hang down? It's a fenced/walled in courtyard so not very much wind. Or maybe I should stick with the more space friendly plants. I don't have any fruit though, all veggies. Could a watermelon grow in a spot with dappled sunlight? Or maybe I'll just live my watermelon dreams vicariously through ya'll and try a strawberry plant. Hmmm... we'll see. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:56PM
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Something I have done to control the growth of large vines is to direct their path. I use those earth staple things around the vine to secure it in place where I want it and direct the growing tip whichever way I want it going.

There has got to be somewhere (full sun) that you could squeeze one or four in ;)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 4:21PM
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mizadventure(9b FL)

Yep that's one thing I've found with gardening- there's ALWAYS room for a just a couple more plants! That sounds like a good idea! It may turn out great, leading the vines around the bucket paths that I don't actually walk in and are just there for space between the other plants... hmmm. Then I could worry about figuring out where to lead it as it gets longer. They would be on a wood deck but the spaces between boards are pretty wide- I think I could still use staples since the ground is 3" below the wood. I'm sure there has to be a way to make it work! And if it doesn't really work, well I'll try something different next time. Thanks again. And good luck with them jsvand5. I looked up the varieties you picked and they look tasty. And seeds are okay- makes you eat it slower and the enjoyment last! And you can actually roast watermelon seeds. If you really wanted to anyways. Not that anyone actually does it. Do they? Hmmm. Well, take care.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 5:29PM
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sldeal(Zone 11)

This is interesting. Mother Earth News talks about the Instant No Dig Garden Beds. I'm sure the same concept can apply. If I can locate some seeds I think I'll give this a try. See site below

Here is a link that might be useful: Mother Earth News

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:41AM
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