Now Sowing: Watermelon (Mar15 – May)

Watermelon seeds in the catalog  (*hint* they’re under Melon in the seed drawers)

Common Name: Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Seed Saving Level: Advanced

Planting: Direct sow seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep after last frost and soil is warm. Plant in full sun with afternoon shade. Thin plants to one every 3-4 feet after they grown three sets of leaves. Needs lots of room for sprawling vines. Fertilize with a phosphorous and potassium-rich fertilizer once a month in the growing season.

Harvesting: Melon plants have both male and female flowers, which must be pollinated to produce fruit. Hand-pollinate if necessary: move pollen from the male flower to a female flower using a paintbrush or cotton swab (female flowers have a small swelling behind the flower which turns into the melon). 80-100 days from seed to fruit. For harvest, the best indicator is a yellowish color on the underside where the melon touches the ground.

Seed Saving:  Seeds should be rinsed well in a strainer and then spread in a thin layer on coffee filters or old window screens. When stored under cool, dry conditions, watermelon seeds can be expected to remain viable for five years.

Sources: The Seed Garden: the Art and Practice of Seed Saving (2015) by Seed Savers Exchange, Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening by Jacqueline A Soule, ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/melons.html

Books and ebooks:

The Watermelon Seed Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening People's Pops


Links:

Watermelon, University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciencesopens a new window

Watermelon, SNAP-ED Connection, U.S. Department of Agricultureopens a new window

Recipe: Watermelon and Cucumber Popsicles

Ingredients 

1 small cucumber, peeled (½ pound)

1/3 of a bowling ball-sized watermelon (1 pound 2 ounces)

2/3 cup to 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons

simple syrup (see below)

 

Instructions 

Purée the cucumber in a food processor. Transfer the puréed cucumber to a bowl or measuring pitcher with a pouring spout. Peel and coarsely chop the watermelon. You should have a little less than a quart of watermelon pieces. Purée the watermelon, leaving chunks if you like, as long as they’re small enough to pour into the molds. You should have about 1½ cups (12 fl oz) of purée.

Add the puréed watermelon to the cucumber. Mix the simple syrup into the puréed watermelon and cucumber until it tastes quite sweet.

Pour the mixture into your ice pop molds, leaving a little bit of room at the top for the mixture to expand. Insert stick sand freeze until solid, 4-5 hours. Unmold and transfer to plastic bags for storage or serve at once. Makes 10 pops.

Simple Syrup

Ingredients 

2/3 cup organic cane sugar

2/3 cup water

Instructions

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is transparent. Turn off the heat and let cool. Add any spices before the mixture starts to simmer; add any herbs only after you’ve turned off the heat. Store plain and infused syrups in sealed containers in the fridge. Makes 1 cup (8 fl oz).

Source: People’s Pops: 55 recipes for ice pops, shave ice, and boozy pops from Brooklyn’s coolest pop shop (2012) by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell & Joel Horowitz