Osh Kirgizia Watermelon
Introduced to the US by Seed Savers Exchange in 1992, this Russian heirloom has become a hit, and has won taste competitions for its not overly sweet, but intensely floral, deliciously refreshing, juicy pink flesh. Yellow-lime colored rind with darker green streaks. Average size: 10-15 lbs. This melon is named for the region of Osh in the country of Kyrgyzstan (known in Russian as Kirgizia), which gained independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Watermelons and muskmelons are an important agricultural crop in this part of the world.
Watermelons originate in West Africa, where they have been cultivated for at least four thousand years.
Sometimes it's name is spelled "Osh Khirgizia Watermelon".
Photos by our friend and seed grower Johanna Rosen of Meadowhawk Farm.
Days to maturity: 95
Seeds per pack: 30
Germination rate: 93% on 03/06/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Direct sow in warm soil after the last frost, or seed indoors 3-4 weeks beforehand and transplant. Space 12-18" apart in rows that are 6-8' apart. Keep soil slightly moist until germination, but do not overwater. Watermelons love heat and well drained soils.
Seed keeping notes
Watermelons are insect pollinated and need 1/2 mile between different varieties of C. lanatus to prevent unwanted cross-pollination. It is difficult to know when a watermelon is truly ripe. In Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth, she recommends waiting until the small tendril opposite the melon's "peduncle" (stem attachment) changes from green to brown and dries out. You can also look for color changes in the skin, and listen for a thud when the fruit is tapped. Seeds are ready for harvest when the melon is ready to eat. Dry them out in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight.