Watermelon is a heat-loving vegetable. It takes a lot of sun for it to mature and become truly sweet. Traditionally, this culture is grown in the Volga region, in the Krasnodar Territory and in the Stavropol Territory. It ripens successfully on poor sandy soils, on which most crops and crops will not give. In the middle lane, and even more so to the north, not all gardeners want to grow it. Summer is too unpredictable here. However, there are varieties of watermelon that can live up to expectations. They will have time to ripen and collect enough sugars in just 2-3 warm months. And if they are grown through seedlings, the result will be guaranteed.
Seed firms now sell a lot of early and ultra-early ripening watermelon seeds, but most of them are of foreign origin. They are not too adapted to the realities of our harsh climate, so they do not always meet the expectations of the gardener. Back in Soviet times, many good domestic varieties with different ripening periods were bred. Their distinctive feature is their high sugar content. They were so sweet that when they ate, the juices made their fingers stick together. One of them is the watermelon Ogonyok, it is shown in the photo.
We will compose its description and figure out what are the features of growing a watermelon Ogonyok in such different regions as the Moscow region and Siberia. What needs to be done to get ripe sweet fruits in any of them.
Watermelon Ogonyok has been represented in the State Register of Breeding Achievements for almost 60 years. It was bred at the Institute of Vegetable Growing and Melon Growing, located in the city of Merefa, Kharkov region. Despite the fact that many new varieties and hybrids have been obtained during this time, the Ogonyok variety does not give up its positions. Reviews of gardeners speak of its early maturity and good taste, and, most importantly, excellent adaptation to growing conditions in the Russian climate. Initially, the Ogonyok watermelon variety was intended for cultivation in the Central Black Earth and North Caucasian regions, where the summers are warm. At the same time, it was recommended for Eastern Siberia and the Far East. In these regions, the climate is not so unambiguous, nevertheless, the test results for the Ogonyok watermelon were good.
Gardeners-enthusiasts have expanded the list of favorable regions for growing the gourd culture Ogonyok, they collect ripe fruits in Central Russia and even further north. This is facilitated by the following varietal characteristics:
- The Ogonyok variety belongs to the early ripening, the first watermelons will ripen within 80 days after the first shoots appear, and in hot summer a week earlier. This variety of watermelon ripens very easily, it is impossible to overexpose it in the garden.
- the weight of watermelons is not too large - up to 2.5 kg, such fruits are called portioned, this is an advantage, not a disadvantage: you don't have to puzzle over where to put the uneaten part of the sweet treat;
- the taste of the vegetable is very good, the sugar content is high;
- the shape of watermelons of the Ogonyok variety is round, the color of the peel is dark green almost black with barely discernible dark stripes, the color of the pulp is red-orange, it is grainy, juicy, the seeds of the watermelon Ogonyok are small, dark brown;
Important! Watermelon Spark has a thin skin, which is good for consumption, but inconvenient for transportation.
Among other features of this variety, a short shelf life should be noted. The harvested watermelons need to be eaten in a week and a half, otherwise they will go bad.
In order for the watermelon Ogonyok to please with sugar content and ripen in time, you need to follow the basic rules for growing this melon crop.
How to grow
Watermelon Ogonyok is intended for outdoor cultivation. In the south, he will give a good harvest without much hassle. In the middle lane, and even more so in Siberia, it is better to sow it on seedlings and plant it after the end of the cold weather.
You need to sow only prepared seeds of watermelon Ogonyok.
Advice! The best germination is possessed by seeds that have lain for 2-3 years. They will give the biggest harvest. Plants from fresh seeds will grow strong, but will not produce many watermelons.
- select full-weight watermelon seeds without damage;
- they are heated for 2 hours in hot water, the temperature of which should be about 50 degrees;
- disinfect watermelon seeds Ogonyok in a solution of potassium permanganate with a concentration of 1% for 60 minutes;
- soak in a damp cloth in a warm place until they hatch.
For sowing, you will need loose fertile soil: a mixture of peat, humus and sand in equal parts. You can sow watermelon seeds Ogonyok in any containers with a volume of at least 0.6 liters, the main thing is that you can easily extract the plant from them for planting without damaging the earthen ball and roots.
Warning! Watermelon does not like transplanting, therefore, seedlings are grown without picking and only in separate containers.
Sowing depth - 4 cm. For seedlings to appear faster, keep pots with sown watermelon seeds at a temperature of 25-30 degrees. The emerging seedlings are in great need of good lighting - they choose a place for them on a sunny windowsill.
We create comfortable conditions for the sprouts:
- a lot of light;
- the daytime temperature is about 25 degrees, and the nighttime temperature is not lower than 14;
- watering with warm water as the soil dries in pots, complete drying cannot be allowed, but overflow is also harmful;
- 2 dressing with mineral fertilizer of full composition in a soluble form - for the first time in a decade after germination and again after the same time;
- hardening a week before planting, we gradually accustom the seedlings to fresh air.
Advice! If in the cotyledon phase the seedlings are very elongated, they can be rolled up into a ring and covered with soil.
Usually, thirty-day seedlings are planted in the ground. This can be done only when the weather is warm. The most important thing for a watermelon is a well-warmed soil, if its temperature is below 18 degrees, the roots of the plant do not absorb nutrients well, and their growth will slow down. Before the earth warms up well, there is no point in planting seedlings. In each region, this happens at its own time.
How to plant seedlings
Seedlings are planted in prepared soil. It is prepared for this melon culture in the fall.
Preparing the beds and choosing a site for planting
The garden bed is chosen so that it is fully illuminated by the sun throughout the day. Vegetables from the pumpkin family should not have grown on it in the previous 3 years. Solanaceae are also not suitable as a predecessor. The earth should be light in texture and have a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction, warm up quickly in spring. Stagnant water is detrimental to the root system of a watermelon of the Ogonyok variety, so damp beds are not suitable for it.
In the fall, for every square. m of soil for digging, up to 40 kg of peat-manure compost, 35 g of superphosphate and 40 g of potassium salt in the form of sulfate are introduced. In spring, during harrowing, nitrogen fertilizer is applied in an amount of 40 g to the same area and a 0.5-liter can of ash.
Important! A watermelon has a taproot up to 3 m long, and the adventitious roots of one plant are able to master up to 10 cubic meters of soil, therefore fertilizers are applied to the entire area of the garden, and not only to the planting holes.
We plant seedlings
So that the garden bed warms up faster in spring, immediately after the snow melts, it is covered with a black film or non-woven material of the same color. It is better to plant watermelons in one row. This culture requires a large feeding area, so the distance between the plants of the watermelon Ogonyok should not be less than 80 cm.To make its roots warmer, the covering material is not removed, but simply cut cross-shaped holes in it, bend the ends and form a hole. 2 handfuls of humus and a pinch of complete mineral fertilizer are added to it, 2 liters of warm water are poured and the seedlings are carefully planted without deepening it.
If the weather is unstable, it is better to install arcs over the bed and cover them with a film or non-woven covering material. In the heat, they need to be removed.
Sowing with seeds
It is carried out into the prepared and heated ground to a depth of about 6-8 cm at the same distance as when planting seedlings. To sprout faster, the bed is covered with non-woven material.
Growing a watermelon of the Ogonyok variety in the open field is impossible without watering, dressing and loosening, if the bed is not mulched with film or organic matter.
Despite the fact that watermelon is a drought-resistant crop, it consumes more moisture than all moisture-loving plants. The reason for this is the strong evaporation of water from the leaves - this is how the watermelon is saved from the heat. It is necessary to water the Spark rarely, but abundantly and only with water heated to 25 degrees and above. Most of all, it needs moisture during the flowering period and the beginning of the formation of fruits. A month before harvesting, that is, about 10 days after the formation of ovaries, watering is stopped so that the watermelons collect more sugar. The exception is extreme heat - the plantings will have to be watered, but with less water. Plants must be protected from rains with foil.
Watermelons are fed Ogonyok twice:
- a decade after the relocation of watermelon seedlings Ogonyok into open ground with a solution of urea in the amount of 30 g per ten-liter bucket of water;
- after another 2 weeks, complete mineral fertilizer in the amount of 40 g per ten-liter bucket of water.
It is in the warm southern sun that all the fruits that have set will ripen, and when growing a watermelon Ogonyok in other regions, such as the Moscow region, the Urals or Siberia, the plant must be formed, and the harvest must be rationed.
- fruit formation in a watermelon Spark occurs only on the main lash, so all the side ones are pinched off once a week. It is permissible to leave one ovary on the side lash and pinch it after 5 sheets;
- more than 2-3 watermelons on one lash simply will not have time to ripen, as soon as they tied up, pinch the lashes, counting 6 leaves after the fruit;
- no more than 2 main lashes are left on one watermelon.
More information about the formation of a watermelon can be seen in the video:
If everything is done correctly, at the end of July the first ripe watermelons of the Ogonyok variety can be served. How do you know when they are ripe?
Watermelon ripeness criteria:
- when tapping on the fruit, a ringing sound is heard due to the voids that it contains;
- the antennae at the peduncle or the existing stipule dries up;
- the color becomes brighter and a waxy coating appears;
- a light spot appears at the point of contact with the soil.
I love watermelons. With my illnesses, every year I cleanse the body with a watermelon diet in August and September. I used to always buy them on the market. But one day I was very poisoned and decided that I would grow them only myself. Through trial and error, I have developed the optimal planting technology for myself. I don't bother with varieties, I chose a proven Ogonyok. I like it both in taste and size. Every year I collect my seeds for sowing.
Anatoly, Art. Temryuk
I grow watermelons every year. We have our own technology - after planting we water only once, then they grow without watering, but they gain a lot of sugars. I plant large-fruited varieties for sale, and for myself, among others, the Ogonyok variety. Small fruits are very convenient for pickling in barrels.