ASK THE EXPERTS: SHOULD I BUY WATERMELON OR GROW MY OWN?


JASON K. ASKS: Watermelon isn’t THAT expensive, but watermelon seeds are pretty cheap. I eat a lot of watermelon, so I was wondering: should I buy watermelon in the store, or should I try to save a few bucks by growing my own?00

You’re right about watermelon not being all that expensive, Jason. In fact, pound-for-pound, watermelons are one of the cheapest fruits or veggies you can buy. Like most produce, prices vary depending the season, but you can usually pick up a watermelon for much less than a dollar per pound. Last summer, my local store was selling 10-pounders for $3.99 each. That’s only 40 cents a pound!

Of course, you’re also right about watermelon seeds being even cheaper. A pack of 50 Crimson Sweet seeds will run about five bucks. That’s about the same price you’d pay for two of those Crimson Sweets. Faced with math like that, the decision to grow your own watermelon sounds like a no-brainer, right?

What you have to remember is this: Growing watermelon ain’t easy. Trust me, I’ve tried. Back in 2013, I made a new year’s resolution to grow my own watermelon. The adventure started out great, with my five watermelon vines producing little watermelons that grew shockingly fast. But after a few months, the watermelons stopped growing. By the end of the growing season, my watermelons were inedible and no larger than a baseball.

That’s assuming you’ve got plenty of space to grow them in. And time. Growing watermelon — especially a whole bunch of them — is a full-time gardening job. Watering, weeding, more watering, building fences to keep the rabbits out, watering again…it’s not easy.

Don’t get me wrong — I definitely recommend every watermelon lover at least TRY to grow their own watermelon at some point. It’s fun, and it really makes you appreciate the hard work that watermelon farmers put into their crop. But when it comes to picking a watermelon to take to the barbeque this weekend, I’ll gladly leave the growing and harvesting to the experts and shell out five bucks for a big ol’ 20-pounder at the grocery store.

UP NEXT: An interview with a watermelon carver


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