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Fireworks, apple pie, and days spent lounging on the lake, must be summer time. Another summer favorite is watermelon. This sticky, sweet, and juicy fruit is a staple all across America. Great in salads, cocktails, and fruit plates, watermelon also packs plenty of health benefits, including: vitamin c, antioxidants and amino acids.

While eating watermelon fresh off the vine is always a great way to go about consuming it, here are some great recipes ideas to try for a creative summer: Watermelon Sala, Watermelon Mojito, Pickled Watermelon Rinds, and Watermelon Tomato Salad. Here are some recipe ideas for the little ones: Watermelon Cake, Watermelon Fresca and Watermelon Popsicles!

Try this at your next summer get together.

Watermelon Tomato Salad

  • 5 large heirloom tomatoes, 1 inch dice
    1 small seedless watermelon, 1 inch dice
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    to taste kosher salt
    to taste black pepper, fresh cracked
    1 cup feta cheese, torn into large crumbles
  • Grow your own melon! Who hasn’t accidentally had watermelon plants pop-up after a summer time BBQ where the seed were casually spit around the years? This time, intentionally plant your watermelon and tend to it with care so you are rewarded with this delicious green and red melon.

Step 1: Choose your seeds!

There are 300 varieties grown in the US, 50 of which are commonly used. Do some research and pick the seed for the melon you want. Some different attributes you can look for are seedless, sugar content, size, shape and color! Yellow watermelon often have a light honey flavor to them. Find seeds here mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Step 2: Choose your growing spot!

For a healthy enjoyable watermelon, the plant will need at least 6 hours of sun light a day. Also, each plant to should be allotted a plot of land ruffly 4×6 feet. For the mini watermelons, this size can be decreased.

Step 3: Soil!

The soil should be well tilled either with a shovel or a tractor Here are somethings to keep in mind: 1) watermelons need warm, well fertilized soil. 2) the soil needs to drain well. 3) compost should be mixed in with the top layer of soil. 4) the soil should be at a pH level of between 6.0 to 6.8. pH test can be bought online or at your local supply store. If your levels are off, they can be adjusted by adding different compounds that can be purchased at your local nursery. Lay down some black landscaping fabric to reduce weeds, keep the soil moist and wet and discourage direct contact of the soil and melons. Be sure to cut adequate holes in the fabric for the vine to grow!

Step 4: Plant!

Mound your soil in rows and plant your watermelon seeds 4 feet apart and 1 inch into the soil. Lightly press the soil back on top of the seed.

Step 4: Water!

The amount of water you will need to use will very. For the first 10 days use small amounts of water to keep the soil close to the seeds moist. Be carful not to drown the seeds. As the seeds sprout, water ever 3 days or so, being carful to not over water and water log the soil. As the flowers and baby melons begin to appear, water less. If the plants are over watered, you run the risk of the melons being less sweet.

Step 5: Weed!

Be sure to weed regularly. This will help keep pests away, keep important nutrients in the soil for the watermelon and make it easier to maneuver around the plants.

Step 6: Harvest!

After about 4 months of sun, the melons should be ready to harvest. Notable tells are the curly tendril near the stem being dried out and the ground contact spot being a pale yellow instead of it being white or green.

Step 5: Eat!

Any way you want!

More than just a delicious snack, there are watermelon inspired scratch-and-sniff stickers, air fresheners, candles, dresses, and dolls along with whole festivals devoted to this great melon. As well as all the wonderful watermelon inspired dishes from food venders, some great watermelon based activities at these festivals include: eating, chucking and seed spitting competitions. The current watermelon eating world record holder is “Buffalo” Jim Reeves. He has held the record since 2005 and ate 13.22 pounds of watermelon in 15 minutes.

Enjoy Your Summer!

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Chef Ryan Grimm
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