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The watermelon of the Ogonyok variety was bred back in the 60s, but it remains in demand by gardeners today. This is not surprising, since for an early variety, it contains an abundance of sugars and contains sweet, delicate flesh. The light also distinguished itself with other positive qualities, but first things first ...
Benefits and characteristics of watermelon Ogonyok
A representative of the pumpkin family settled in the territory of central Russia. It ripens well in the Moscow region, yields a crop in difficult Siberian climatic conditions. This is due to its unpretentiousness and disease resistance. But the variety is unsuitable for long-term transportation, so it is better to consume it immediately on the spot.
The variety got its name thanks to its carmine-red pulp. It is distinguished by its granularity, juiciness, and sweet taste. The fruit itself looks like a ball, it is round, smooth, weighing up to 2 kg (sometimes 2.7 kg). A thin, dark green rind surrounds the pulp containing small seeds. Due to the thin peel, there is a problem with the transportation of the fruit.
In the course of growth, lashes branching in different directions are formed on the plant. Stems and leaves have a characteristic descent. The leaves are arranged alternately and are arranged on long petioles. The leaf blade is solid, rigid, triangular-ovoid.
The description says that the variety is not just fruitful, it ripens earlier than many famous hybrids. This is due to its ability to withstand sudden warming and cooling, damp weather, and adapt to different climatic conditions. He stoically tolerates the lack of watering and fertilizing, is rarely affected by Fusarium wilting and anthracnose.
The variety is characterized by the following indicators:
- early ripening: ripens on average in 85 days;
- average berry weight up to 2 kg;
- dark, green fruit;
- yield up to 2.6 kg / m. sq.;
- the ability to grow in open and closed ground.
Watermelon Ogonyok is resistant to a short drop in temperature, although, like other melons, it loves warmth and sun. He manages to ripen in the middle lane before the onset of frost.
How the growing region was bred
The unpretentious watermelon was bred in our country back in Soviet times at the Institute of Vegetable Growing near Kharkov.
It is believed that Ogonyok was obtained by crossing an Asian hybrid and a Sugar variety. It was intended for cultivation in the southern regions.
Gradually, its geography expanded. Ogonyok made a good showing in the Moscow region, reached the Urals and ended up in Siberia. But the cold Siberian climatic conditions did not allow growing melons in the open field. But the greenhouse conditions turned out to be quite suitable.
Features of growing watermelon in different regions
The concept of the middle zone of Russia is quite extensible. The climate in the middle lane depends on the specific region. So, in the Moscow region, a watermelon ripens both in the open field and in a greenhouse. Naturally, in a greenhouse, controlled climate, the harvest can be obtained much earlier.
In the Urals, growing outdoors is a risky business. In a hot summer, the fruits will have time to ripen, but if the season is cool and rainy, then there is no need to wait for the harvest. Therefore, it is possible to grow Spark without risk only indoors.
Siberian conditions presuppose exclusively greenhouse cultivation of the variety. This is a zone of risky farming, where it is problematic to get a harvest of southern culture “under the open sky”. In the southern regions, Ogonyok ripens without any problems and hassle. Here growers get early harvests.
Planting and growing rules
In mid-latitudes, the Ogonyok variety is planted in a seedling way:
- The seeds are sown in peat tablets or plastic cups to a depth of 3-4 cm, since the seeds are large.
- When seedlings appear, 12-hour daylight hours are important so that the seedlings do not stretch out.
- The seedlings should get stronger, so they need regular watering and feeding.
- When the third true leaf appears, it is ready for planting in the ground (greenhouse). When planting "outdoors" it is necessary to harden so that the southern plant gets used to cool, continental conditions.
Before planting, the seeds are tested in a saline solution, while non-viable specimens float to the surface. It is also advisable to keep them in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection for half an hour.
In the greenhouse
Indoors, ideal conditions for growing southern crops. There are no temperature extremes, rain or high humidity. The conditions are created that require watermelons. If an early harvest is planned, then the seedling method will be preferable. Although already in April, you can sow seeds in a greenhouse created in a greenhouse.
The landing pattern is 60 × 70, since the lashes will be tied to a trellis to save space. You can plant seedlings already in early May, by which time the greenhouse will warm up well.
In the open field
It is possible to grow melons and gourds in open ground only through seedlings (we are talking about the middle lane). Planting time is the last week of May - the first week of June. The plants are grown according to the scheme: 60 × 140 cm. That is, the distance between the bushes is 60 cm, between the rows - 140 cm. The watermelon throws out the whips, so this placement justifies itself.
A watermelon is planted in a loose, well-permeable soil, without stagnant moisture, because the melon culture is drought-resistant. An open, level, slightly elevated place is suitable. The area for melons should be large: pumpkin crops do not belong to small crops.
If the night temperature drops below +15 C, then the growth of the watermelon stops. With the threat of recurrent frosts, watermelon seedlings need shelter, especially if the hardening stage has not been passed.
The main requirements for care are traditional: loosening, cleaning weeds, watering, feeding. For melons, it is important to form lashes and place them on a trellis. This technique must be mastered in order to get a full harvest. Otherwise, the Ogonyok variety can be grown by a vegetable grower without experience, since the care for it is minimal.
Although watermelons are classified as drought-resistant crops, a comfortable soil moisture indicator for them is 85%. Therefore, on sandy soils, frequent watering is carried out, and on black earth or clay soils, melons are watered less often.
Watering is carried out with warm, settled water in the evening hours, and water should not get on the leaves or under the root. In greenhouses, the frequency of watering is regulated and carried out as the soil layer dries up. Outdoors, it all depends on the "rainy season". With abundant summer precipitation, watering is not required at all. When the fruits are ripe, the Spark does not need moisture.
During the growing season, the watermelon needs to be fed three times. Each plant should receive 2 liters of fertilizer. Power sequence:
- 10 days after planting young plants, the first feeding is carried out. It consists of 45 g of superphosphate, 30 g of ammonium sulfate, 15 g of potassium salts. The mixture is diluted in a bucket of warm water.
- During the period of active growth and formation of ovaries, phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are applied, but in a different ratio: 20 g of ammonium sulfate, 10 g of superphosphate, 35 g of potassium salts per bucket of water.
- 10 days after the last application, the third feeding is carried out with a similar composition.
There are also organic fertilizers that are safer, but no less effective. For watermelons, nettle infusion is useful. Collect nettles, pour in water and wait about 3 days until the fermentation process begins. The composition is diluted with water 1: 1 and the wells are watered. For one plant, 2-3 liters of nutrient solution is enough.
The most convenient way to grow is on a net or trellis. So, the leaves receive maximum light, do not get dirty. After the formation of the fruits, they are laid in nets so that the whip does not break off and, when suspended, they do not come into contact with the ground and do not rot.
In the course of growth, the side lashes are removed and one remains on which fruits are formed. After flowering, 3-4 ovaries are left, the rest are removed. Without this procedure, the watermelon Spark will ripen, but its fruits will be smaller. When it is seen that the fruits have gone into growth, pinch the apical shoot, since its further growth is not needed.
Since Ogonyok is well pollinated by bees, honey plants can be grown nearby to attract them or melon can be sprinkled with sugar (honey) solution.
How to determine the ripeness of a berry
Ripening of fruits in a watermelon of the Ogonyok variety is friendly. To determine ripeness, experienced vegetable growers use an external examination:
- the size of the watermelon should correspond to its varietal characteristics, it is better to choose a medium-sized fruit;
- characteristic dark green color of the fruit;
- the formation of a hard crust with a dry "tail";
- resonant sound when tapped due to voids inside;
- the presence of a lateral light spot when the watermelon ripens on the ground.
If the fruit is thrown into water and it floats up, it means that the watermelon is ready for consumption and its ripeness is beyond doubt.
When to harvest
The ripening period of the fruit is different and depends on the region and the time of planting. In the Moscow region, the crop can be harvested in July, in the Urals - in August, in Siberia before the first frost in September.
The term for harvesting fruits in the greenhouse will come 2 weeks earlier due to early planting, higher temperatures, the ability to create optimal conditions for growth. Greenhouse Spark is characterized by more juicy and tasty pulp.
This type of watermelon should be used immediately after harvest. They do not have a high keeping quality, are poorly stored and are suitable only for quick consumption. But these shortcomings are more than offset by excellent taste.
Every year the market pleases with new varieties of watermelons: square and oblong, with pulp of different colors and shades, unusually colored fruits. But the watermelon Ogonyok does not give up its positions. This old, time-tested variety remains a favorite of many vegetable growers.