Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Essential Tools and Equipment for Growing and Enjoying Watermelons

Gloves and a trowel—two important tools for growing watermelon

Working your watermelon garden means having the right tools to do the job! And the right kitchen tools for enjoying your harvest. Please find list below of items to consider. If you don’t already have some of these items, please check our Resources section at the end of this Collection for recommended suppliers for acquiring the right tools and equipment. And remember, many of these items can be helpful to you for all of your gardening and kitchen needs—not just for watermelons.

Watermelon-specific tools and equipment:

Melon Baller: A small spoon-like tool used to scoop fruit out of melons in ball-shaped forms, this kitchen tool can help make your melon dishes attractive and fun to eat. We recommend getting one that has a metal scoop and sturdy handle. Melon ballers can be used with watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon.

Melon Cradle: If you’ve ever been disappointed by misshapen watermelons or fruits that rot before they ripen, then a melon cradle may be the answer. This garden tool elevates watermelons up off the ground, providing better air circulation, promoting more even ripening and minimizing the potential for rot.

Watermelon Sling: Growing watermelons vertically can be a great solution when space is at a premium, but once your melons are more than a few pounds they will fall off the vines if not properly supported. Many websites sell watermelon slings, but this can also be a fun DIY project using nylon stockings, mesh onion bags, pieces of fabric or even bird netting. Just make sure your sling is securely attached to your trellis, allows for expansion as the melon matures, and provides maximum airflow to prevent disease.

Watermelon Slicer & Tong: This tool has a scythe-like design and it can be used to cut smooth slices out of the watermelon and as a tong to pick out the slices from the rind. The wire at the end of the tool helps you cut slices into uniform cubes

Watermelon Wedger: This tool is designed like an apple slicer and cuts a watermelon into 12 precise wedges. This giant pie-shaped slicer can handle melons up to 16” in diameter.

Containers and Pots

If you want to start plants indoors before the outdoor growing season commences, you can try several environmentally friendly and free ways to begin with materials you probably already have:

  • Newspaper or brown-paper pots
  • Egg cartons
  • Toilet-paper rolls (yes, these work great!)
  • Random containers, kitchen pans, or baking sheets (you might need holes drilled into the bottom for drainage)—if you have aging or rusting kitchen pans that you’re looking to replace, they make for great “starter pots” for getting your garden launched inside
  • Starter trays and peat pots

Garden Gloves

Using a pair of garden gloves—and wearing long sleeves—when you’re tending to your plants is a good way to avoid skin irritation and to protect your fingers, hands, and arms. Get a comfortable pair of gloves that fit well, so you still have full dexterity in your garden.

Garden Trowel

A useful garden tool, the garden trowel is handy when filling your containers and when mixing compost and worm castings. Avoid cheap versions that can have flimsy handles that are prone to break. Even inferior metal trowels can bend in hard clay or rocky soil. Invest in a higher quality trowel, and you’ll have it for years!

Irrigation Equipment

Many plants thrive when watered slowly and deeply. While tedious and even sometimes difficult to do with a watering can, you might want to consider an irrigation method for keeping your plants slowly and deeply watered.

A standard sprinkler system is not the best solution—while easy to set up, the wide-ranging water coverage of a sprinkler can lead to wet plant leaves that promote diseases and can encourage weeds.

A drip-watering irrigation system that operates on a timer is one of the best irrigation solutions for watering plants. This type of system better controls how much water you use, minimizes water lost to evaporation, and more exactly directs water to where you want to soak your soil. While more expensive than a simple watering can, an investment in an irrigation system can pay off—specially to ensure proper watering when you’re at work or on vacation!

Pruners or Snippers

Wear your garden gloves while pruning, and be sure to get a set of pruners or snippers that are comfortable in your hand when cutting. Don’t skimp on this—you need something that cuts well and will endure through many seasons.

Rain Barrel

Some areas of the country experience drought conditions in the spring and summer, and some municipalities may impose watering bans; that means hand watering only. If you collect rainwater, you can put it to good use when it comes time to tend your plants. Some communities offer rain barrels at a special discount to encourage water conservation.

Spade

Every gardener—no matter what plants you’re tending—needs a spade, or even several of different sizes. Use your spade to move around compost, dig soil for your initial plant hole, and to keep your garden soil tidy.

Spray Pump or Bottle

To control the emergence or spread of plant diseases and pests, get a dedicated spray bottle for your potion to do the job. This is one thing you can go basic on—no need for anything fancy, as a simple plastic spray bottle is fine.

Watering Can

Watering cans allow you to better control exactly where the water is directed in your garden. Plant leaves and fruit don’t need water, the roots in the soil do. Get yourself a good-sized watering can, and have some fun finding a watering can with an interesting design that fits your personality. Also, you want one that has a comfortable grip.

Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow makes it easy for you to move soil and mulch from plant to plant; and it works as an excellent mixing bowl when you’re combining the perfect soil blend. If you feel like a wheelbarrow is just a little over the top for your gardening needs, a 5-gallon bucket may suffice. Just make sure you have a good trowel to mix with.

Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your gardening.

Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Tell us which items you absolutely need for your watermelon gardening.

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