The last past two years we’ve been rather successful with growing water melon. We have yet to perfect our propagation, but our plants have at least produced well in number. The varieties we’ve tried are the Black Diamond, Red Crimson, and Lelanau, a type of water melon that is actually orange colored on the inside.
It took us a few times to get our picking time right, and even then, we had problems with “white heart”, which happens in the event you have heavy rain while the melons are ripening. It does not hurt you or the fruit, but the taste becomes milder and less sweet.
Although we had a lot of this happening, we also got some pretty good melons, which were nice, red, sweet, and crisp, and, the seeds were still mature enough to save for next year.
As far as we can see, Water melons love rich soil and benefit from being mulched around. They love sun and rain (but not too much!), and last long when seeds are started in Spring. In fact, we have baby water melons still developing on the vines!
When saving seeds, we put them through a process of fermentation before they are dried and set aside for the Winter, this is supposed to help the germination rate, but we really haven’t done it that long enough to tell the difference (let us know what you think if you’ve tried this). This is achieved by soaking them for a short time before the cleaning, drying, and packing of the seeds. And be sure to put them in a protected area for air-drying so the squirrels do not eat them!