You are not alone if you find yourself daydreaming about a sunny, warm summertime these days. Gardeners are already booking on the return of sunshine and warmth as they make seed orders and prepare seed starting trays and soil mixes for spring and summer planting.

Indeed, summer seems a long way off, but now’s the time to get ready for it in the garden. Forget your vine-ripened tomatoes, cool cucumbers, crunchy green beans — there’s nothing, absolutely nothing that says “summer” quite like a juicy and sweet watermelon does.

Yes, these days with international transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables it is possible to buy a watermelon in March, but at the risk of repeating myself — there is nothing that says “summer” like a watermelon and a cold watermelon is indeed a summertime joy. If that watermelon is one you grew yourself — it is so much sweeter.

While we traditionally think of watermelons as a crop of the Deep South, in truth Maine gardeners have plenty of success growing these sweet melons. Camden gardeners Laura and Eric Evans grow a variety of watermelons each summer.

Indeed, our long daylight hours during the summer months help to contribute to success growing them. Last summer among those they tried was a brand new selection, Mambo.

Mambo was one of the All America Selections seeds of the year. It was almost as if this marvelous little melon was designed for gardeners here. This is what AAS said about Mambo:

"Mambo watermelon will grow and yield well even in cool cloudy conditions. Gardeners who plant Mambo will enjoy multiple, perfectly round melons with a beautiful dark green rind and deep red flesh. The sweet crisp flesh is extremely tasty and holds well (doesn’t over ripen) if you can’t harvest them right away. Each nine-inch fruit will weigh about 11 pounds at maturity, which is only 75 days from transplant.

"A smaller seed cavity means you almost get the look of a seedless melon but the superior taste of a seeded melon. The AAS Judges agree this is one of the easiest watermelons they’ve grown because of high seed germination and vigorously healthy vines."

Of the half dozen or so watermelon varieties the Evans have grown, Eric assured me that the new little “Mambo’ is the “best ever.” That’s high praise from someone who knows his watermelons. These little wonders are indeed special. So, the recommendation is clear — if you want to grow watermelons this summer, look no farther than Mambo. Check with your regular seed supplier or go online and Google them to find a seed source.

Now that you’ve decided to grow them, a bit of advice is in order for optimum success. Start seeds soon so that they can be planted outside as soon as the soil has warmed up and night time temperatures are in the 60s.

Plant your seedlings in full sunshine for success in loamy soil that has been amended with a bit of sand for good drainage. The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

By growing watermelon vines in raised rows or hills ensures good drainage. The hills serve another purpose, and that is to hold the sun’s heat just a little bit longer. When setting out seedlings, space the plants about two feet apart along a five-foot-wide hill.

While the plants are growing, blooming and setting fruit, they will need one to two-inches of water per week, and can be side-dressed with compost or solution of fish or kelp emulsion every two to three weeks while growing. But once flowers and fruit appear, reduce nitrogen and increase phosphorus and potassium.

You can add a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Keep soil moist, but not waterlogged. Take care to water at the vine's base in the morning, and try to avoid wetting the leaves and avoid overhead watering. Reduce watering once fruits are growing.

To harvest, check your calendar! Starting around 70 to 75 days from when you set out the seedlings, start checking for this clue: Tendrils that are normally bright green near where the watermelon meets the stem will turn brown.

Then you get to enjoy one of the most flavorful sweetest watermelons you’ve ever tasted, and that’s a guarantee.

Lynette L. Walther is the GardenComm Gold medal winner for writing and a five-time recipient of the GardenComm Silver Medal of Achievement, the National Garden Bureau’s Exemplary Journalism Award. She is a member of GardenComm and the National Garden Bureau. Her gardens are in Camden.