Save your seeds!
Last year I had the best watermelon of my life. Globe-shaped instead of oval, it was sweet, juicy, and with (to my delight!) yellow flesh instead of pink, a highlight of my local organic produce delivery box. Sure, a few seeds had to be picked out with every bite, but that was a good thing: that nice little pile of shiny black seeds left in the bowl inspired me to try and grow my own.
I’ve never saved seeds before – I always thought it was a complicated process that had to be done just so to ensure a good crop. And for many plants this is true – some, like lettuce, easily cross pollinate with nearby plants, and that creates hybrids which often won’t grow.
But many plants, like my little organic watermelon here, keep to themselves, and their seeds are perfectly good for saving. So I rinsed off the sweet juice, let them dry on a paper towel and put them in an envelope to keep them away from light until the spring.
I started a few seeds indoors in late February and it took a few replantings to get them to sprout, but once three good ones took off I planted them in a sunny bed next to my rose bushes and voila! The vines are growing like mad in the summer heat, and we already have five baby melons, getting bigger by the day!
The moral: there is nothing sweeter than free watermelon. 🙂
Note: if you are going to save your own seeds, make sure the plants were organic to start. Non-organic fruits and veggies are often sprayed with a growth inhibitor to keep them fresher in the store, and GMO foods are usually engineered to not reproduce from saved seeds at all. Plus, the organic ones just plain taste better!
UPDATE 8/13/13: The melons have ripened, and we were very exicted to cut our first one open last night. The verdict: super sweet, very juicy and positively delicious!