Vegetables and Fruit forum→What is your favorite watermelon to grow...and why?

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Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Region: Alabama Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
Jun 30, 2020 8:50 PM CST
Well, like the title says... What is your favorite watermelon to grow? And, why? Smiling
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/

South Alabama Weather
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jul 1, 2020 12:57 PM CST
I grew these last summer:
https://www.rareseeds.com/blog...

They grew well for me... tasted good... and... Made for interesting telling and retelling of the story of a New World Watermelon!

Watermelons come from Egypt... If these truly are from the Americas... that is a pretty interesting case of parallel evolution!

Thumb of 2020-07-01/stone/467b49

Thumb of 2020-07-01/stone/580f9a

Planted a bunch of those pretty red seeds again this year...
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Region: Alabama Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
Jul 3, 2020 10:38 PM CST
Well, Stone, looks like you're the sole responder here. Thanks for the feedback. I think I'll be planting Sugar Baby again, but I might be laying the Mini Love to the side.
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/

South Alabama Weather

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ElPolloDiablo
Jul 4, 2020 3:12 AM CST
stone said:I grew these last summer:
https://www.rareseeds.com/blog...

They grew well for me... tasted good... and... Made for interesting telling and retelling of the story of a New World Watermelon!

Watermelons come from Egypt... If these truly are from the Americas... that is a pretty interesting case of parallel evolution!

Thumb of 2020-07-01/stone/467b49

Thumb of 2020-07-01/stone/580f9a

Planted a bunch of those pretty red seeds again this year...


The Spaniards were growing watermelons on large scale in Mexico in the second half of the XVI century already. It proved to be widely popular with local Indios and Native Americans loved it as well and started developing their own cultivars as soon as they got seeds on trade. By 1650 Native Americans were growing watermelons as far north as Massachusetts Bay. The founding cultivars were largely of Spanish origins but it cannot be ruled out some Asian cultivars were introduced by the Manila Galleons connecting The Spanish Philippines with Mexico.

Watermelon seeds are generally viable for 5 years if stored properly and many of the tecniques used nowadays to recover ancient/old seeds were only developed starting in the 80's. Even if the conservation conditions were exceptional, obtaining a 5% germination with centuries old seeds in the 1920's would have been extraordinary. Truly extraordinary. So my gut feeling is these seeds were much younger than originally assumed.

There are all sorts of "lost domestic breeds", ranging from the legendary Talbot hound of Medieval England to completely obscure Japanese tobacco cultivars. Once in a while one resurfaces, or perhaps a previously unknown breed is discovered and quickly claimed to be a long lost national treasure or whatever. It's very hard to learn the true, and even then the situation may be extraordinary complicated as far as genetics go.

To be honest I have never had the room nor the climate to grow watermelons. Even melons adapted for short growing seasons really struggle here: I have presently four (for testing purposes only) and at the present growing rate they may bear fruit in 2056. Hilarious!
I'd love to test one those fabled watermelon cultivars from Asia but right now I'll focus on other stuff that has a chance of growing here.

The Saviour.
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Region: Alabama Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
Jul 4, 2020 7:18 AM CST
EPD, thanks for the feedback and history. Very interesting. You've posted on here often but could you share your location with us? Thanks.
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/

South Alabama Weather
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jul 4, 2020 7:43 AM CST
It is hard to pick a favorite of anything as something new always comes along and catches your fancy for a while. I have grown a lot of varieties so here is a list of ones that have had a lasting impact on me. Note that what may suit me and perform well under my conditions could well be a dud under your conditions.
1. Crimson Sweet - An all around melon. Best flavor and texture, good size when given space (22 lb class)but will size down to 15 lbs when crowded with out losing quality. There are lots of newer melons based on Crimson Sweet which may have increased performance in a specific area, but I have not found one I like better than the original.
2. Iopride AKA Pride of Iowa- Best of the big melons for flavor. Productive under my conditions churning out 40+ pounders.
3. Legacy- 25 lb class, Allsweet type. Competitive with Crimson Sweet for flavor. Does not size down as well. undersize melons lose quality.
4. Sweet Favorite - Best hybrid that I have tried. Jubilee type.
5. Golden Honey- Dark yellow flesh, 20 lb class. Best Yellow flesh melon for flavor that I have grown.
6. Chris Cross- Smaller more tasty version of Dixie Queen which is a favorite from my child hood.
7. Micky Lee- My favorite icebox type.
8.Verona- My favorite Black Diamond type . Fairly large (30 lb) more consistent in flavor than Black Diamond
9. Tendersweet (orange) Large melon with dark yellow flesh, Great flavor. Suits me much better tha Orangeglo.
10. Cream of Saskatchewan- White fleshed icebox type. A novelty for shock value, but surprisingly good tasting.
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Region: Alabama Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
Jul 4, 2020 9:35 AM CST
Thank you Dillard!!!! That is a great list with good info!!!!

The melons that I recall being popular in my area when I was growing up were Charleston Grey, Jubilee, and Crimson Sweet came along a little later. Sugar Baby was also popular, but was more of a novelty for us on occasion...there were four kids in our family so usually my father was smart and brought a large melon home. Thumbs up

Do you save your watermelon seed or do you purchase fresh seed each year?
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/

South Alabama Weather
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jul 4, 2020 9:48 AM CST
I usually save a few for experimenting. not many anymore as I have reduced from 100 hills to five. (getting old) Even so My main motivation is trialing varieties so do not make any effort to maintain a pure seed line.
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Region: Alabama Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
Jul 4, 2020 11:29 AM CST
Understood, thanks for the feedback. I'm just looking to have a single variety, *maybe* two. The Sugar Baby seems to be doing pretty good. I'm happy with production...so far. Getting them ripe has yet to be seen but hopefully there will be no monkey wrenches appear to mess that up. The Mini Love just isn't very prolific this year but I have had good luck with them in the past. Maybe I do need to shoot for two varieties...insurance.
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/

South Alabama Weather
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jul 7, 2020 8:32 AM CST
I have some of those ice box types that will soon be ripe, volunteer vines...
I have another of those large melons also with fruit on them... another volunteer..
My ancient melon were planted later and don't even have flowers yet... but soon...

Also in the mix are some citron crosses that I'm trying for the first time...

As far as genetic purity goes... I'm in the category of whatever will grow, fine... eventually I'll have landrace melons that won't need to be planted, or weeded or watered, or anything else... they may even pick themselves and hitchhike a ride to the house!

I already have squash and spiny cucumbers that come up to the house without my help... And... those spiny cucumbers... I don't need to plant, they showed up in my garden on their own 4 or 5 years ago, and are thriving just fine by me not pulling them out.

Just this morning, I planted a second generation of cherokee trail of tears bean that self sowed...
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jul 7, 2020 8:50 AM CST
Stone if want a fighting melon, try the African Horned melon. Takes a long season, but here they self seed, grow through droughts, are invincible to deer and other critters, immune to disease, insects flee. Does better sprawling than climbing, but they will fight on either way. Draw back., I don't eat them and can't find anyone who will. I thought about passing them out for folks to pelt politicians but they are too much a lethal weapon. Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus)
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jul 7, 2020 9:15 AM CST
Looks yummy.
I've seen them offered by baker creek, but... I can't purchase everything that catches my eye...

Sad that you don't eat them. Having edible vines seems like a total bonus... greens during the summer! Something to add to the sweet potato leaves!

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ElPolloDiablo
Jul 7, 2020 9:17 AM CST
farmerdill said:Stone if want a fighting melon, try the African Horned melon. Takes a long season, but here they self seed, grow through droughts, are invincible to deer and other critters, immune to disease, insects flee. Does better sprawling than climbing, but they will fight on either way. Draw back., I don't eat them and can't find anyone who will. I thought about passing them out for folks to pelt politicians but they are too much a lethal weapon. Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus)


I think it's the stuff that David Letterman called "damned inedible" on air back in the late 80's/early 90's.

The Saviour.
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
Jul 7, 2020 12:56 PM CST
I grey Charleston grey before, but I like Blacktail Mountain, it looks like a large Sugar Baby. Plants are more vigorous, I also have Crimson sweet.
2022 wishlist: Blonde Vision.

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