Harvest a Harvest Moon

By Susan Littlefield

You won't have to wait for a harvest moon in the sky to pluck one from your garden -- a 'Harvest Moon' watermelon, that is! A 2013 All-America Selections (AAS) Vegetable Award Winner, this is the first ever hybrid, triploid seedless watermelon to garner this distinction.

Similar to the seeded heirloom variety 'Moon and Stars', with the same deep green rind speckled with yellow dots, this seedless hybrid is earlier ripening, higher yielding, and, according to many, better tasting than its old-time kin. Its short, healthy vines produce elongated round, medium-size fruits weighing 18-20 pounds, with sweet, crisp, pinkish-red flesh. Ready in 80-100 days from transplant, each vine produces 4-5 fruits, on average.

Like other seedless watermelon varieties, 'Harvest Moon' is best started from seed indoors in peat pots about four weeks before planting out, using bottom heat to aid germination. Set hardened off seedlings in the garden once the soil is warm and the danger of frost is past. Included in the seed packet will be seeds of a diploid, seeded watermelon variety to provide the necessary pollinator vines; plant one diploid for every three triploids. If you start with purchased seedlings, be sure to buy a suitable pollinator variety as well.

AAS winners are new garden seed varieties that have been selected by AAS judges for superior garden performance in impartial, judged trials across the country.

To read find out more about 'Harvest Moon' watermelon, go to: AAS.

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