Vegetables and Fruit forum: Volunteers to conserve heirloom 'Schochler' Watermelon?

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Sep 4, 2013 4:03 PM CST
We think we can get some limited number of seeds of the family heirloom 'Schochler' Watermelon from the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry in Saint Petersberg, Russia.

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus 'Schochler')

We couldn't find a sample of them from any commercial seed vendor, breeder or association we could find, but Stacy Schochler and a bunch of other ATP members would like to conserve the variety.

So we'd like to propagate the Vavilov sample cleanly and then offer some seeds to the USDA ARS seed bank in Griffin Georgia, and the North Carolina State University watermelon breeding program. And SSE, Baker Creek, Victory Seeds, the Sustainable Seed Company, Sand Hill Preservation Center and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

My problem is that my summer nights are much too cold to expect watermelons to do well. So I'm asking for some volunteers who would each grow 1-2 hills of 'Schochler' Watermelons and share seeds back with Stacy Schochler and the seed banks and vendors who've expressed an interest in conserving the strain. Stacy will also try to grow them out, but it would her first year growing watermelons.

Please?

Watermelons are insect-pollinated, so in theory an isolation distance of 1/4 mile to as much as 1/2 mile would be desirable for multiplying this first generation out of the Vavilov seed vaults, on its way back to breeders and the USDA seed vaults.

If we have more volunteers than seeds from Dr. Irina Gashkova, the seeds would go first to someone who has grown watermelons before and thinks their near neighbors are probably not growing something that would cross over. Or to anyone who knows how to hand-pollinate!

I'm hoping to go back to Irina in Saint Petersberg and say "we have volunteers to propagate it at this many sites, can you spare 10, 20 or more seeds for each site?"

We would pool multiplied seeds from as many volunteers and as many plants as possible before offering them forward to breeders and preservationists.

From what I read, inbreeding depression is not a problem with this kind of inbred strain, so small numbers of plants at each site, or even hand-pollinating a few blooms, would be OK.

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Patti1957
Sep 4, 2013 4:07 PM CST
oops.... I posted this in the other thread.

I'll volunteer, I grow watermelon but I am no expert. I only grow one variety at a time and have nobody near me that is growing watermelon but if it were me I would hand pollinate just to be on the safe side.

Crimson Sweet growing this year.




[Last edited by Patti1957 - Sep 4, 2013 4:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Sep 4, 2013 4:18 PM CST

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I'll also volunteer to grow a batch of these next spring. We are very rural and isolated from anyone else so can guarantee seed purity by separation.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 4, 2013 4:35 PM CST
That's TWO angels! Angel Angel Angel Thank you both! Angel Angel Angel
Name: Michele Roth
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chelle
Sep 5, 2013 5:30 AM CST
You can add my name to a reserve list, Rick. Growing conditions here aren't always favorable for producing mature melon seeds, but I do try to grow out one variety each year. Smiling
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Sep 5, 2013 10:10 AM CST
I would like to give it a try.
wildflowersoftexas.com
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 5, 2013 11:24 AM CST
Thank you, Chelle and Jay! Angel Angel :angel:

I've told Dr. Gashkova that we will split however many seeds she can give us over multiple sites, but did not hear back this morning. I think our chances are good!

If she does send several grams, we would have enough seeds for even more volunteers. It's great to already have five growers! Thank you all!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 12, 2013 10:46 AM CST
Good news! Dr. Irina says "yes" but needs permission form her boss, and he needs a letter from us or from an institute.


Dear Mr Richard Corey,

I shall prepare this accession for a dispatch.It is long. I need your
e-mail-letter with address of your post but better if will letter and
address of a institute or a other establishment.
Our first boss has e-mail
n.dzubenko@vir.nw.ru, you send your letter for Nicolay Dzubenko. I must
have a permission of my boss for this dispatch. You write, that 1
accession of water-melon need for a study and a trials of field, give a
number of accession, a name and a origin. All!.

Regards,

Irina Gashkova


Ideally, I would give the return address of some "institute or other establishment".

Bob Jarret at USDA / ARS / said:
>> I think it would make a useful addition to the USDA collection – so we’d be pleased to add it,

So I think I should ask him to email the boss at Vavilov and request seeds, then forward some to us for multiplying. First I'll ask Irina if sending to the USDA gene bank is a problem. If so, I could ask Dr. Wehner at NCSU – Raleigh to ask for us.

Irina has never commented on numbers of seed, so I'm not going to rock the boat. Best if they just do whatever they usually do.

What do y'all think?





Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 13, 2013 7:17 PM CST
Todd Wehner agreed to request seeds on our behalf! He said:


Sure; I would be happy to help get the seeds. I will send a request to VIR.

I am also starting a project to find and increase all of the old cultivars and the gene mutants for the USDA germplasm collection so they will not be lost.


Todd Wehner
North Carolina State University,
Professor of Horticultural Science

Progress!


Name: Arlene
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abhege
Sep 13, 2013 7:40 PM CST
Go, Rick!
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Sep 13, 2013 9:19 PM CST
Fantastic! Thumbs up
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Patti1957
Sep 14, 2013 12:57 PM CST
Awesome Thumbs up


Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 16, 2013 10:46 AM CST
Todd tried over the weekend, but there was a typo in the director's email address.

It turns out that requests for seeds go right to the Director General of the Vavilov Institute!

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 15, 2013 4:27 PM CST
I haven't heard back since Professor Todd Wehner sent the formal request to the Director of the Vavilov Institute. I'm starting to think I should ask irina how it's coming.

(I just don't want to pester her too soon, she said it would take a while.)
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Oct 22, 2013 10:13 AM CST
If you need another volunteer, I'll be happy to grow it next year. Isolation won't be a problem for me. At one time Water Valley was the Watermelon capital of the world. They still have a Watermelon Carnival each year the second Friday in August. Claud
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 22, 2013 2:54 PM CST
Thanks, Claud!

Mississippi has a different climate from the other volunteers, and I think that's a good thing to keep the combined genetics from drifting to favor just one climate.

I'll post back here when I hear from Irina at the Vavilov Institute. I haven't written to her recently because I don't want to be a pest.

Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Oct 24, 2013 6:59 AM CST
I talked to a friend who has been growing melons for over 40 years about the 'Schochler' Watermelon and while he had never heard of it, he has agreed to help me with the grow out if we can get the seeds. He told me if the goal was maximum seed production it would be best to start the seeds indoors in individual pots and plant them one to a hill on a 12' grid. He agreed the area I planned to plant them in would be ideal for isolation.

At his suggestion, I also placed an ad in the Mississippi Market Bulletin (If anyone has any 'Schochler' Watermelon seed please contact me.) on the outside chance someone is Mississippi is still growing it. The bulletin is published bi-monthly and has a wide readership both instate and out of state. The first ad will be in the Nov 15th issue and I'll continue to run it through the end of Dec.

http://www.mdac.state.ms.us/publications_and_forms/market_bu...

Can't hurt and might help. If it bears fruit, I'll let you know. Claud
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 24, 2013 11:54 AM CST
Thanks very much!

The ONLY place I found it was the Vavilov Institute in Russia (big seed bank).

USDA seed bank: nope.
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Aug 3, 2014 3:47 AM CST
This was quite interesting. Did it work out Rick?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Aug 4, 2014 4:01 PM CST
I haven't gotten back to them in far too to long.

I finally found it in the Vavilov Institute's listings, and Dr. Irina Gashkova confirmed it was there.

The last installment was that someone semi-official had to make a request to the Director of the Vavilov Institute (not just Irina Gashkova).

Dr. Todd Wehner (of NCSU – Raleigh) agreed to do that, but I haven't heard back from any of them yet.

I need to ask Irina and Tod what either has heard.


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