DSCN5579
Watermelon Citrullus lanatus, my F1 hybrid (Sugar Baby x White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon).

Today we ate the first watermelon, 3kg.
It was sweet, but seeds were not all mature, so a few more days had perhaps made it even better. I also think the rind is very thick.
For me, watermelon ripeness is bit of a mystery. It does not smell aromatic, so there must be something else to look for.

DSCN5577
Tendril

On the clever internet, I have read that you should harvest watermelon when the tendril closest to the stalk wither. This seems to be the case.

DSCN5578
Yellow spot

Elsewhere on the clever internet, I have read that the bright spot where the watermelon is resting on the ground, should change colour to yellow. This has happened, but exactly how yellow should the yellow be??

One should also be able to tap and listen. I did too, and this watermelon had a much deeper quiet sound than the obvious immature watermelons crisp bright tones. But for us who do not have absolute pitch, it’s a bit difficult.

DSCN5580
Fresh watermelon seeds

The last method I haven’t seen on the internet. The seeds ought to be mature when the watermelon is ripe. It doesn’t seem to be the case here. Pity I couldn’t see the seeds before I harvested the watermelon.

It is easy to collect and clean the seeds. Spit them into a bowl when eating the watermelon. Afterwards, rinse them in clean water, so they’re ready to dry in a thin layer on a plate.

Will the seeds germinate next year? I believe in the darkest of the seeds will, but the lighter are probably not mature enough. I have to wait and see.


Flattr this

Advertisements

068
Watermelons in the greenhouse.
Top row from left: My own F1 hybrid (Sugar Baby x White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon), Skorospelyi Saharnyi, Ultra Skorospelyi.
Bottom row: All are the cultivar Bonanza

This year I decided to spend more space on the water melons in the greenhouse. Actually I would prefer to grow them outside, but it was not to be this year. I still have much to learn about watermelons, to understand them just roughly. Must they always be hand pollinated? Or do the bees just need to be presented enough watermelon flowers, so they learn to appreciate the taste of their nectar and pollen?

One thing I observed this year is that on the coldest days, my hand pollination did not succeed, on hot days a single attempt apparently was good enough. It might be a problem to achieve high enough temperatures for pollination outdoors.
I am also a little curious about female and male flowers sequence on the vine. It looks like some of the varieties and my own hybrid is early with the first female flowers, while other varieties may only bring a female flowers farther out on the vine. All varieties have been pretty quick to open the male flowers.

So far my own F1 hybrid is the earliest and has grown to the largest size. But it is far too early to guess which plant will be first to mature its fruit. I’ve only been able to get a single plant to set two watermelons, and the upper one is now virtually stalled in development, at the size of a tangerine. They tend to fall off before they reach that size if they do not develop, so I am curious what will happen. All the other plants have only set one watermelon each.

Thanks to all you kind garden friends who have send me watermelon seeds!


Flattr this

DSCN3371
Vatermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

This year we had a beautiful watermelon from the greenhouse. Not huge, but still weighing 2,7 kg. It ripened well, flesh matured a nice red color. Nice taste, sweet, but not too sweet.

It grew on a plant from the watermelon cross I made last year between ‘Sugar Baby’ and
‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’. It’s my own F1 hybrid. The seeds I harvest will be F2, and thus segregating out, each seed having a unique recombination of the genes. With some luck, some of the offspring might even do better in my greenhouse than any of their parents.
It’s no secret, that I’m inspired by Carol Deppe and Glenn Drowns (who developed the watermelon Blacktail Mountain)

DSCN3033
The same watermelon on juli 21.th.

This year I noticed, that there was only set the watermelons I pollinated by hand.

DSCN1959
Watermelon ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’ (Citrullus lanatus)

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.

DSCN1925
Watermelon ‘Sugar Baby’ (Citrullus lanatus)

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

melon1596
Watermelon in progress

Fourteen days ago I mourned over the death of a tiny watermelon. Now I have foundt the next, very much alive and much larger, looks very promising. Again it’s the varity ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon’. The conventional ‘Sugar Baby’ bought in the plant center has just opened its first female flower.

melon1526
Little dead watermelon

This is what happens, and now it happened in our greenhouse. The first lille watermelon has faded away. Why? At the same time a lot of the watermelon flowers also faded away. Now I keep doors open – it could come from humid air. And yea, I do know you (almost) can’t grow watermelons in Denmark. Everybody tells me so, allthough you can find the seeds in any seedrack.
Well, anyone is free to try for themselves.

PS. Two seasons ago it succeeded.

watermelon1355
Female flower on watermelon Citrullus lanatus

This year I grow watermelon in the greenhouse. They have just started flowering, and on the female flower you can see the tiny watermelon-to-be. As the insects are not familiar with watermelonflowers in my garden, I decided to pollinate by hand. I took a male flower from the neighbor plant, controlled for pollen, picked it and hold it against the female flower to transfer the pollen to the female stigma. Now I must wait patiently for the miracle. It’s second time I grow this variety.

watermelon1357
Male flower on watermelon Citrullus lanatus

The variety is ‘White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon
It is a early watermelon from the assyrian mountain village Besverino near Sirnak i southeastern Turkey. Turks and kurds have other names for the village. The big white seeds of unusual shape are eaten as a delicacy. The sweet flesh of the watermelon is pink. The greygreen melon is oval and small. I got this variety from an assyrian refugee living in Sweden. This is second time I grow it.

Next to I have a single plant of the standard variety ‘Sugar Baby’, to compare the two varieties. To get pure seeds of the assyrian watermelon, I remove any male flower on ‘Sugar Baby’ before it opens. This might result in some interesting seeds inside ‘Sugar Baby’, a cross of the two varieties.