Container gardening is great for smaller spaces or keeping plants contained in your landscape. Using a kiddie pool for a container garden is inexpensive and yields great results. In this article, we will explain how you can cultivate watermelon in your kiddie pool this growing season.
Yes, you can grow watermelon in a kiddie pool. To successfully turn your pool into a melon garden, follow these steps:
- Pick your pool
- Decide on the placement of your pool
- Create drainage holes
- Use mesh to line your pool
- Fill with soil and fertilizer
- Plant your watermelon seeds
- Water thoroughly
- Keep up with maintenance and plant care
You now have the basic steps for turning a kiddie pool into a watermelon garden. We will go on to explain each step in more detail. Keep reading as we talk about when the best time is to plant watermelon and provide some tips and tricks when it comes to container gardens.
How To Grow Watermelon In A Kiddie Pool
Watermelons grow rapidly and require a large container, making a kiddie pool perfect for the job. Growing in a kiddie pool frees up space in the yard for other plants, allows you to get ahead of pests and diseases more quickly, and creates an ideal soil environment for your melons.
Let's take a closer look at the steps of growing watermelon in a kiddie pool.
1. Pick Your Pool
The first step in this project is getting your pool. You may already have a kiddie pool that you are trying to find a use for; this could be it. The kiddie pool you choose needs to be made of rigid material—inflatable pools will not work for this.
Additionally, kiddie pools come in different sizes. Since watermelons like to be planted 3-5 feet apart, you will want to pick a larger pool for this project.
2. Decide On The Placement Of Your Pool
Once you have a kiddie pool, the next step is placing it. You want to set your pool in the desired spot before filling it, as it will become very heavy and difficult to move once full of plants and soil.
When selecting your placement, think about what will be under your kiddie pool. The pool will kill any plants or grass that are underneath the plastic, and it will be draining regularly, creating moisture underneath.
With this in mind, the ideal placement would be on top of gravel, a patch of dirt, a large patio, or any mulched garden areas.
3. Create Drainage Holes
Now that you have your pool in place, it is time to start prepping for your plants. Watermelon thrives in an environment with good drainage, so you will need to create drainage holes on the bottom and sides of your kiddie pool.
Use a utility knife or drill to cut 1-inch holes in the bottom of the pool. These holes should be spaced about 12 inches apart. Next, use a drill with a 1/2-inch twist bit to create holes in the side of your pool. Again, these holes should be spaced about 1 foot apart.
You can increase drainage by elevating your pool off the ground slightly using bricks or pieces of wood. If you elevate your pool, ensure that it is evenly lifted and adequately supported.
4. Use Mesh To Line Your Pool
Next, line your kiddie pool with porous mesh, such as landscape fabric. The bottom of the pool and the sides should be lined, covering all drainage holes. You can shape and cut your fabric with scissors to match the size of your pool.
5. Fill With Soil And Fertilizer
Your pool is now ready to fill with soil. Watermelon grows best in sandy loam soil. You can fill your pool with a mix of potting soil and garden soil. Additionally, you want your soil to have a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
After your soil is in, you can mix in a slow-release fertilizer. Adding fertilizer before you plant your seeds or transplants will set your plants up for success, ensuring they have all the nutrients they need to grow.
Finish this step by smoothing out your soil and gently patting it down. Now it is time to plant.
6. Plant Your Watermelon Seeds Or Transplants
You can plant either watermelon seeds or transplants in your kiddie pool. If planting by seed, you can be more certain as to what type of watermelon you are growing. Transplants are already started, but they may suffer from transplant shock.
When planting watermelon seeds, they should be placed 1/4-1/2 inches into the soil. Both seeds and transplants should be planted about 4 feet apart, as watermelon likes to sprawl out and needs plenty of space.
You should plant when all chances of frost have passed. These melons enjoy warm temperatures and grow best when the soil temperature is at 70 degrees or above.
7. Water Thoroughly
Once your seeds or plants are in place, water your soil thoroughly. Water with a watering can or hose containing a mist nozzle until water starts to come out of the bottom of your kiddie pool.
Regular watering is required for new plants. Once your plants begin producing fruit, you can ease up on how often you water.
8. Keep Up With Maintenance And Plant Care
As you let your watermelon grow in the kiddie pool, you want to keep up with the regular maintenance and care these plants require. Part of that care is checking soil pH and amending the soil with organic matter as needed.
You can use a soil pH meter to easily check this value.
The slow-release fertilizer you added into the soil will feed your plants at the start. You can add compost to the soil mid grow season to keep your watermelon fed and happy.
How Long Does It Take Watermelon To Grow?
If you planted seeds, they should germinate in about 4-12 days, and you will begin to see the start of your plants. Seeds will germinate faster in higher-temperature soils.
Your watermelon plants should start producing fruit about 70-75 days after planting. It will take an additional week or two for your fruit to mature and ripen before they are ready to eat.
This timeline can vary slightly based on which species of watermelon were planted.
How Deep Do Watermelon Roots Grow?
The root depth of watermelon is one of the reasons they can thrive in a container such as a kiddie pool. Watermelon roots are typically found in the top 12 inches of soil. The tap root will grow the deepest, with lateral roots branching out to the side at a more shallow depth.
Keeping a mound around the base of your plant keeps a reservoir of nutrients and water for the root system.
Learn more in this blog post: Can You Grow A Plant From Just Roots
How Many Watermelons Will You Get Per Plant?
On average, each watermelon plant will produce 4-5 watermelons. Each vine of your plant should grow 2-4 watermelons. Keeping up with vine health is vital for fruiting plants. Regular pruning of your watermelon plant can add to vine health and increase fruit size.
Smaller varieties of watermelon may grow more fruits per vine versus larger species of watermelon.
What Other Plants Can I Grow In A Kiddie Pool?
There are many plants you can grow in a kiddie pool, in addition to watermelon. These small pools create an ideal environment for herbs, vegetables, flowers, and other fruiting plants. Some great choices for this type of container gardening include the following:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bell pepper
There are many other plant options that grow well in a kiddie pool outside this list. The basic steps of setting up your kiddie pool for growing will remain the same. The type of soil and plant care that follows should change based on which plant you are growing.
Planting watermelon in a kiddie pool can be done, and it yields great results. We hope you found this article helpful when it comes to starting your container watermelon patch. Happy gardening!
Are you looking for more container ideas for your garden? Have a look at this post: