Row by Row Episode 135: Guide to Growing Seedless Watermelon Varieties

Seeded Watermelon vs. Seedless Watermelon

How do you get a seed from a seedless watermelon? There is a little bit of science behind getting these seedless watermelons. As humans, we have one set of chromosomes from our father and mother which makes us diploid. In vegetables/crops, the seed itself is diploid. When you have 3 sets of chromosomes which makes you triploid, in nature, it can cause some issues or sterile plants. If you have 4 sets of chromosomes also known as quadraploid in watermelons they use colchicine which doubles the set of chromosomes. To grow seedless watermelons, you need a seedless variety that is quadraploid and a diploid which is a seeded watermelon to make a triploid a sterile or seedless watermelon.

Seedless Watermelon Varieties

We have four seedless watermelon varieties that are all improved hybrids that are ideal to try out in the garden. The Tailgate Seedless Watermelon and the Summer Breeze are both known to have outstanding sweetness. While the Harvest Moon is an heirloom variety. that is the seedless version of the popular Moon and Stars Watermelon. The Triple Play Seedless Watermelon is an early maturing, “icebox” variety that makes personal size watermelons and has a super sweet flavor profile.

Tips for Growing Seedless Watermelon

When it comes to growing seedless watermelons we recommend always transplanting and using a good seed starting mix to ensure you have good aeration. We also suggest topping the seeds with perlite that will help with water retention for seedlings. You should grow seedless watermelon transplants on a germination mat in order to reach the ideal temperature of 85 degrees. When transplanting you need to plant them 3 to 4 weeks old with 2 to 3 true leaves. If you let them grow too long in the seed starting trays they will become root-bound and will experience significant transplant shock. Another important factor when growing these seedless watermelon transplants they will need more babying than other diploid varieties, but once they get going they can be much more vigorous. We also highly recommend using drip irrigation and fertilizer injection when growing seedless watermelons in the garden.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, Travis has some carrots that he fermented using the Complete Fermentation Kit. The guys also received a little gift to taste test from Doug and Marilyn Smith loyal viewers of the show. The viewers sent some Pool Hall Slaw to try on some sausage dogs. The Pool Hall Slaw is also great with club-style crackers as a snack. The guys also have been busy in the greenhouse getting transplants ready for the Spring garden. We also have a few new varieties that are now available on the website. The Firecracker Sunflower is a hybrid variety that is a branching pollen-less flower that can get up to 8 to 10 blooms at a time. We are also now carrying some 10 seed options for tomatoes such as Roadster, Summerpick, Sweet Hearts, Tachi, and Rosy Finch. We just added two new seedless watermelons, Triple Play and Harvest Moon, which are both excellent watermelon varieties to try out in the garden this year.

Pool Hall Slaw Recipe:

Mix and set aside the following:

  • 2 gallons of chopped cabbage (approximately 8 – 9 heads = 17 lbs)
  • 10 medium onions chopped
  • 6 – 8 medium bell peppers chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of ground hot pepper

In a big pot, bring to boil and stir until sugar dissolves:

  • 6 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of white vinegar

Add cabbage mixture and bring back to a boil then add 2 quarts of mustard.

Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Pack in hot jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. (Makes 16-20 pints.)

Viewer Questions

For the Q & A segment this week, the guys answer some viewer questions about using phenology as a planting time guide, the difference between pumpkins, and composting nightshade varieties. When planting by phenology it means that you are waiting on certain queues in the environment to change. For example, some people in South Georgia use the pecan trees blooming as an indicator of when to plant their corn. The difference between the Cherokee Tan Pumpkins and the Seminole Pumpkins are somewhat subtle but the major difference is the heritage of each variety. The Cherokee Tan was saved from the Cherokee Indians which we believe were from the North Carolina – Apalachin area. While the Seminole Pumpkin came from the Seminole Indians around Florida near the everglades. You can compost nightshades it is just very important to get the compost extremely hot in order to kill off any fungal spores and insect eggs.

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