Is Watermelon a Fruit or Vegetable?

 Watermelon a Fruit or Vegetable?

Is Watermelon a Fruit or Vegetable?

So, is watermelon a fruit or a vegetable. While the answer may seem obvious, it’s actually a good question, because there are quite a few fruits masquerading as vegetables.

Botanically Speaking…

…watermelon is a “fruit of the vine”.  By that it means that seeds are surrounded by the “meat” of the fruit.  But here’s where it gets interesting; many of what we term vegetables are actually fruits!  Here are just a few:

  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Pumpkins
  • Peppers (sweet and chile)
  • Squash (Summer and Winter)
  • Tomatoes
  • So there are quite a few vegetables that are really fruits.

What Makes a Fruit a Vegetable?

Fruits are “legally” termed vegetables if their primary use is with a main meal.  A fruit is a fruit if its main use is as a dessert course.

Yes, this did actually go to court at one point, back in the late 1800’s (the “defendant” was the tomato).  The reason it went to court was because there was an import tax on vegetables, but not on fruits.

Is Watermelon a Fruit or Vegetable…the Answer Is…

Because watermelon is used primarily as a dessert course, it’s termed a fruit in the legal sense.  Sure, there are pickled watermelon rinds and such, but who can deny the utter pleasure of a sugary slice of watermelon on a hot day?

It’s nice to know that a fruit can actually sometimes be a fruit!

Growing Watermelons

If you’re interested in growing your own watermelons, it’s really pretty easy.  But beware, the vines are long and the plants take up a lot of room.  They aren’t the kind of plant to grow if you’re short on space!

Watermelon are happiest in warm, sandy soils.  Of course, some compost worked into that sandy soil will make the plants even happier.  Clay soils can produce watermelons, but it’s tougher on the plants.

You can start the seeds indoors around the last frost date.  The seeds sprout pretty fast, so they will be ready to plant out in just a week or two.  But if you can hold off, wait until the soil reaches at least 65 degrees (your watermelon plants will thank you).  Watermelon prefer warm soil and warmer weather.

Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep, and allow two feet between plants.  Allow 4 feet between rows.  If you plant in hills, allow 2 plants per hill, with hills 4 to 6 feet apart.

Fertilize at planting out time (for transplants) or when first true leaves apear (direct sowing).  Keep the plants well-watered until fruits start forming, then keep them a bit drier thereafter (but don’t let them wilt).

Watermelon aren’t wildly productive, but especially if you’re growing the larger varieties, it doesn’t seem to matter as much — ’cause there’s plenty to go round!  (And as a side note, the smaller varieties are a bit more productive in general.)

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