Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to Use Ammonium Nitrate on Watermelons

Use fertilizer to grow large, tasty watermelons.

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Watermelons, with their juicy, sweet pink flesh, are a favorite summertime snack for both kids and adults. Watermelon plants take several months to mature and bear fruit. As they grow, watermelon plants benefit from plenty of water and a few applications of fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate contains high amounts of nitrogen and, when properly applied, encourages vine and foliage growth. Watermelon plants get almost all the nitrogen they need through healthy soil. If your soil lacks nitrogen, two applications of ammonium nitrate make up for the deficiency.

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Allow the watermelon's vines to grow to approximately 2 feet in length. When blossoming begins, wait one week before starting to fertilize. If the watermelon's vines have already started to run, it is best to avoid fertilizing with ammonium nitrate.


Make a shallow, circular trench around the stem of an individual watermelon plant. Dig the trench six inches away from the stem. For a long row of watermelons, dig a trench six inches away from the plants down the length of the row.


Pour ammonium nitrate into the trench, and then cover with soil, to side-dress the watermelon with fertilizer. In general, use 1 pound of ammonium nitrate per 100-foot row.


Water the plants thoroughly after fertilizing. Take care not to wet the leaves.


Side-dress with ammonium nitrate a second time after fruit starts to develop on the vine.

Tips & Warnings

Ammonium nitrate is high in nitrogen. Watermelons do not need too much nitrogen, so if you use it, do not use another nitrogen fertilizer.

Use caution when working with, storing or transporting ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a highly volatile chemical that may catch on fire or explode if mishandled.

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ReferencesClemson Cooperative Extension: WatermelonsHorticulture: Q&A: Side-Dressing FertilizersResourcesHSE: Storing and Handling Ammonium NitratePhoto Credit ImagesRead Next:

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