WATERMELON SEEDS - Knowledgebase Question

Question by dsccox
March 21, 2010
will watermelon seeds saved from watermelons (dried between newspaper pages) from 1991, 1996, and 2000 still be able to be planted and grow? I had saved seeds from these melons that were the best melons I had ever tasted...was going to plant the seeds but did not know if they would still bloom and grow after all this time

Answer from NGA
March 21, 2010


Seeds lose their viability over time so you'll need to test a few of the seeds to see if they are capable of sprouting. If they have been stored in a cool, dark, dry location, they have a better chance of sprouting. As for what they will produce - you may be surprised. Melons cross pollinate with other melons so the fruits produced from saved seeds might not turn out to be true to the parent. If you grew the melons yourself and they were the only melons in the garden at the time the chances are better that they were not cross pollinated with another variety. With that said, here's how to check viability. Place a few seeds from each lot between damp papertowels and put them in a plastic baggie. Set them in a warm spot such as a kitchen counter. Check the seeds after about a week, and keep checking every few days to see if they sprout. If so, you can count the number of seeds from that lot and determine the percentage of viability. For instance, if you tired to germinate 10 seeds and only 5 sprouted, those seeds have a 50 percent chance of sprouting in the garden so you would plant two seeds instead of one and you'll probably get one plant. If only 3 seeds sprouted you'd have a 30 percent germination rate and would need to plant 3 seeds together to get a single plant. Best wishes with your project!

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