Undoubtedly, watermelons are a must-have snack during the summertime. You should consider Sugar Baby varieties since they are very sweet, tasty, and compact.
Here, you will discover a guide on Sugar Baby watermelon how to grow and care for it.
Sugar Baby ripens in approximately 75 days. This tiny-fruited icebox type produces round fruits. Moreover, they weigh about 2.2-3.6 kilos or 5-8 pounds.
These fun-size watermelons possess luscious orange-red flesh.
Whether you are a hobbyist or gardener, discover the crucial steps of growing them through this guide.
- 1 Reasons to Choose Sugar Baby Varieties
- 2 Sugar Baby Watermelon Growing Stages
- 3 Growing Sugar Baby Watermelons
- 4 Maintenance
- 5 How to Grow Sugar Baby Watermelon in a Container
- 6 Harvesting and Seed Saving
- 7 Final Thoughts
Reasons to Choose Sugar Baby Varieties
Growing fruits is not a piece of cake. It demands lots of hard work since they are prone to diseases and pests.
However, Sugar Baby watermelons are the exception. Below are some reasons why gardeners have to grow them.
These icebox watermelons boast compact vines that span 8 feet or 2.4 meters across. Therefore, they do not consume lots of space.
Sugar Baby watermelons are not challenging to grow. You do not have to prepare for the specific soil because most soils would work for them.
- Wholesome Texture
These picnic watermelons feature fine-grained flesh. The texture of the flesh pairs perfectly with its sweetness.
- Plenty of Flavors
The Brix levels of Sugar Baby watermelons are 10.2, making them taste as sweet as ripe mangoes.
- High Productivity
The Sugar Baby watermelon yield per plant is incredible. Every vine produces 2 to 5 fruits annually.
Sugar Baby Watermelon Growing Stages
Knowing the different stages of the watermelon life cycle is crucial. Furthermore, it helps improve your gardening.
By understanding the growing stages of Sugar Baby watermelons, you can overcome issues faster.
Additionally, it increases your patience.
Germination & Sprouting
After sowing the seeds, let them germinate for about 3 to 10 days. Moreover, the seedlings will sprout and emerge from the soil.
The plant keeps growing over the next seven days since it begins to develop more leaves. At this stage, it will produce the main vine too.
The watermelon vine can attain a length of 12 feet or 3.6 meters. Moreover, it triggers several smaller vines.
Once the smaller vines have emerged from the large vine, the watermelon will start producing blooms.
The female flowers appear right after the male ones.
Male blooms boast pollen-covered stalks or stamens, while female flowers comprise a pretty sticky area or the stigma.
Pollination becomes vital because they only last for a day.
Many watermelon growers plant flowers or install beehives. They do so to attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
If the garden has insufficient pollinators, just hand-pollinate Sugar Baby watermelon plants. You can grab a tiny paintbrush or cotton swab.
Another way to hand-pollinate watermelons is by picking a male bloom. Then, brush it over the other plants’ female blooms gently.
Just move the pollen to the stigmas.
The sign of successful pollination is the plant starts fruiting. Also, it is time to fertilize the watermelon.
The fruit takes about 30 days to form and ripen. Additionally, when you knock the hand against a ripe watermelon, it will sound hollow.
Watermelons are ripe when their nearby curly tendrils start to become brown. As for the ground spot, it should turn yellow.
Growing Sugar Baby Watermelons
You should start Sugar Baby watermelon seeds indoors since the growth takes time. Do so before transplanting the plants outdoors.
Starting the seeds inside the home allows you to control the temperature.
Ideally, you can start Sugar Baby watermelon seeds indoors in mid-April for 1.5 months before the outdoor starting.
The indoor starting typically happens 3-4 weeks before the season’s last frost. Plant the seeds ¼ inch (0.6 cm) deep in shallow pots.
Every pot can accommodate up to three Sugar Baby seeds. Make sure the medium remains moist during germination.
The germination process hugely depends on heat. Furthermore, keep the soil warm between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit or 26-32 degrees Celcius.
You can use a heat mat to get better germination rates.
After the seeds germinate, lower the temperature to the mid-70s for 7-14 days. Moreover, move the watermelon plants.
Thin to one plant in every pot.
Once the foliage begins to appear, decrease the water. Additionally, when the plant bears a set of leaves, cut down on watering again.
The plant should not get desiccated, though.
Bring the pots outside to expose the watermelon plants to outdoor environments. Grow them in a permanent spot once the last frost has come to an end.
You can transplant Sugar Baby watermelons on an overcast day. It helps you create a controllable condition for the young plants.
In June or mid-summer, transfer the watermelon plants to the garden. Apart from providing dry, well-drained soil, give them protection against the frost with a plastic covering.
Gardeners in areas with long growing seasons can sow the seeds directly into their gardens. In short-growing season regions, people must pick fast-growing cultivars and start them indoors.
You can protect the watermelons with fabric row covers. Also, use black plastic mulch to speed up the soil’s warming.
Plant the seeds directly when the soil’s temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celcius).
You should grow watermelon vines in 60 cm or 24-inch-diameter mounds. Thus, they will do well. Each mound can accommodate six Sugar Baby seeds. Also, space them 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) apart.
Thin to three vines per mound. Spacing the mounds properly offers Sugar Baby watermelon vines enough room. Therefore, they can grow and span appropriately.
Determining a Planting Spot
Sugar Baby watermelons enjoy warm and well-drained soil. It must be organic matter-rich too.
Sandy soils are ideal for Sugar Baby watermelons since they warm quickly during the spring. Mulch is necessary for their growth.
Keep the soil’s pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5 all the time. During the first weeks, the plants require plentiful moisture. Soil should remain moist until the watermelons are as large as tennis balls.
Reduce the water. Once the watermelons are ripe, don’t water them for seven days before harvesting. It helps increase the sugar level concentration.
Watermelons need some proper maintenance work. It is not intimidating once you understand how to take care of them.
Make sure the plants possess a leaf or two before getting transplanted. They are delicate. Thus, thin them using scissors.
Sugar Baby melons require different water needs. In the early growth stages, they demand an inch (2.5 cm) of water weekly.
Moist soil speeds up the growth rate and improves the fruit quality. Watermelons need consistent moisture until they get pollinated.
Once the fruits are about the fist’s size, water the plants when their foliage starts to wilt and the soil becomes dry.
Organic matter and mulch will maintain consistent moisture since they enhance water retention. Apply two inches of mulch onto the mounds.
Instead of keeping the soil moist, mulch also kills weeds.
- Extra Fruits
If Sugar Baby watermelon vines boast more than two fruits, remove the excess fruits. They can affect the fruits’ sweetness and growth.
Give each mound an inch (2.5 cm) of compost every three weeks. Besides, water the plants after adding the compost.
Aphids and cucumber beetles are the enemies of Sugar Baby watermelons. They affect their sweetness too.
Check on watermelon patches regularly and search for beetles. Remove them using a soapy water mixture. As for aphids, spray them using a hose.
Fungus growth and rot can afflict Sugar Baby watermelons. Therefore, place a square wooden board underneath every fruit.
- Grow Watermelons on Trellises
If growing Sugar Baby watermelons vertically, create slings from fabric or netting. Then, support the fruits with them.
Trellising enhances air circulation around watermelons. They help lower foliar disease issues as well.
Pick small-fruited cultivars and grow them at closer spacings.
How to Grow Sugar Baby Watermelon in a Container
With appropriate care and preparation, you can grow icebox watermelons with success. A 5-gallon or 19 liter-container makes a nice growing medium.
Watermelons demand moist and nutrient-rich soil. Thus, you should add aged manure and compost. They help the plants thrive.
- Sowing Seeds
People in warm climates can sow the seeds directly. On the other hand, gardeners in colder climates must start them indoors.
Feed 4-week-old seedlings with an organic fertilizer at half strength.
Watermelons require full sun. The extra sunlight lets them develop many fruits while adding energy and warming the soil.
Drip irrigation is suitable for container-grown Sugar Baby watermelons.
Give your container-grown watermelons a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Moreover, it offers the plants lots of nutrients throughout the growing season.
As the plants grow, train them to grow up the trellis. Furthermore, support them using pantyhose when they fruit.
This stretchy material can accommodate the fruit well.
Harvesting and Seed Saving
Unlike cantaloupes, ripe watermelons don’t come off the vines. Harvest them when you spot yellow undersides and dry tendrils.
Separate the seeds from ripe fruits. Next, place them in a water bowl. Remove the sterile, lightweight seeds.
Air-dry the remaining watermelon seeds. Once they are thoroughly dry, store them in a jar.
Sugar Baby varieties are versatile. You can grow these icebox watermelons in containers or directly in the soil.
The guide on the Sugar Baby watermelon how to grow above provides instructions. You can grow tasty fruits by implementing them.