This year I had four watermelon plants in the greenhouse, each providing a single watermelon. Three of the ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’. I aquired it some years ago from a christian-assyrian refugee settled in Sweden. This year it didn’t grow as big or ripe as red as first time I grew it. Probably because of the rainy august. To my surprise it was just as sweet, crisp and juicy as last time. The seeds of this variety is also used, roasted with salt as a snack. Some seedsavers tasted it, and they preferred the large seeds to the small and undeveloped seeds of the modern seedless varieties, as the large seeds are much more easy to spit out. Should be great for a watermelon spitting contest.
For comparison I also had ‘Sugar Baby’ in the greenhouse. It’s the seedrack variety around here. I didn’t grow quite as well, but ripened a week earlier. It was a plant bought at the nursery (last minute idea to compare), not completely fair to compare. It was more close to being truly ripe, but tasted no better than ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’.
As ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’ are rare, I have to grow the seeds myself. It’s actually easy, as the seeds are ready for drying when I spit them out savouring the watermelon. To avoid ‘Sugar Baby’ becoming the father, I picked all its male flowers before they opened (one of these small jobs one have to be particular about). This also lead to all seeds in ‘Sugar Baby’ to be crossed with ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’. Possibly an interesting cross. First generation (F1) might have unique properties, but the will recombine in future generations. If growing out a lot of F2 generation seeds, I might be lucky to select a new varity worth growing, by selecting in further generations. If the first generation is excellent, I might grow it for years, before starting to grow next generation.
In between it’s important to take a year for gathering seeds of the original ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’, to avoid its extinction. I have send seeds out in the world, but I’m not aware of anyone adopting it. I think I was expected to adopt it as I recieved the original seeds.
Take a look at the post Watermelon in progress