This ridiculously good tasting melon has a diverse gene pool, which gives it hybrid vigor while being an open pollinated landrace. Fruits come out in two types: the standard red icebox type as well some lighter-colored types. Many people have told Bryan O'Hara of Tobacco Road Farm that this is the best tasting watermelon they have eaten in their life, which has a lot to do with the soil it was grown in, but you will get a similar result in other natural farming systems. The original seed was from his Polish neighbor's father who had raised these watermelons for many years. Each year for the past 15-20 years, Bryan has been selecting from this crop for the most vigorous, earliest, biggest, and best tasting watermelons.
Watermelons originate in West Africa, where they have been cultivated for at least four thousand years.
Days to maturity: 75-80
Seeds per pack: 20
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 ground 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.