February 8th, 2010 by The Watermelon Guy

greenhouseSince one of my New Year’s resolutions is to grow a watermelon, and that process usually starts in March, I’ve decided to give away a watermelon growing kit as this month’s prize. It’s everything you need to get your little watermelon plant up-and-running – at least until it’s time to transplant it to a larger area outside.

The kit is actually an all-in-one product called the Sprout n Grow Greenhouse (above) that allows you to grow your very own Sugar Baby watermelons. It includes watermelon seeds, a windowsill greenhouse, planting mixture, instructions and an information sheet. The green thumb is sold separately (can you buy those?) but as a What About Watermelon reader, you will have access to our panel of experts, including watermelon farmer Josh Bailey, who would be more than happy to give you some pointers if you need them.

One comment chosen at random from all the comments received here on What About Watermelon in February will win this prize. Good luck!

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September 21st, 2009 by The Watermelon Guy

In this recurring column, our panel of watermelon experts answer a question posed through our “Ask the Experts” feature in the right hand sidebar. Feel free to ask your own question. All questions get a response and some will be featured here on What About Watermelon.

MALICK FROM TRIPOLI (ALL THE WAY FROM LIBYA!) ASKS: Is it possible to use one black seed from inside a store-bought watermelon to grow your own? If so, what are the instructions to grow my own tasty treat?

Good question, Malick. The short answer is: sort of.

The only problem with growing watermelons using the seeds of a watermelon you bought in a grocery store is that the watermelon you purchased is more than likely a hybrid variety, which is a special cross between two types of watermelon, each contributing their best qualities to create one great-tasting fruit.

You can plant those seeds, and they may grow into a watermelon (though not always), but the result won’t be the same type of watermelon you purchased and enjoyed months ago. It’ll be a smaller, less tasty watermelon – the kind a lot of farmers call “pig melons” because they’re only good for feeding to the pigs.

I’d recommend purchasing watermelon seeds from your local nursery or gardening store. If possible, buy the open pollinated heirloom variety, which will yield fruit with seeds that you can plant the next year.

If you’re up for a challenge, or just curious, and decide to use seeds from a store-bought watermelon (or are using seeds from an open pollinated heirloom watermelon), you’ll need to dry the seeds before you plant them. Oh, and make sure the watermelon hasn’t been chilled, because the cold temperature will damage the seeds. To dry your seeds, place them on a towel or some newspaper in a sunny spot (a window sill will do) for about a week. Once they’re dry, you can plant them!

Of course, actually growing a watermelon is a whole other question and process in itself. It requires a lot of attention, water and sunlight, but the reward for all your hard work is definitely worth it. Do some research online for tips on growing your own watermelon. To get you started, this website has a brief overview of the process. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!

UPDATE: Malick e-mailed me back about two weeks later with the following exciting news and photo below:

I just thought I would inform you that the seeds I planted HAVE grown in to baby watermelon plants but it hasn’t been quite long enough for them to grow watermelons yet. Thanks a lot for all the information you gave me!

watermelon sprouts

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July 24th, 2009 by The Watermelon Guy


Last month, I posted a video of the world’s largest watermelon being harvested. It made me think I’d like to put my green(ish) thumb to the test by growing my own record breaker. So I did some research.

Turns out, growing a world record watermelon like the current record holder above isn’t easy. The biggest weigh over 100 pounds, with many weighing over 200 pounds. You have to pay a lot of special attention to it, being sure to plant the seeds at the right time, weeding the area regularly, and giving it just the right amount of fertilizer and water. Plus the weather conditions for the year need to be just right in order to help it reach its full potential. Watermelons in general prefer warmer temperatures and the longer growing seasons of the south, which also has higher temperatures, make growing giant watermelons easier.

But not just any watermelon seeds will do. Some places, like this one, specialize in selling giant watermelon seeds in varieties like the Carolina Cross, Black Diamond and the Georgia Rattlesnake. I personally have never tried growing a watermelon (I’m more of an eater than a farmer), but this sounds like a lot of fun… even if all you do is try to top your personal best each year!

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