Almost nowhere is the difference in flavor between hybrids and the homegrown flavor of heirloom seed more apparent than in melons. Watermelons are a popular summer treat with their sweet juicy taste, but as anyone who has purchased one at a store or roadside stand in the past few years knows, they vary greatly in flavor and color. This is primarily due to hybridization, where flavor is sacrificed for longevity and durability. Their natural sweetness is replaced by a total lack of flavor, many are not juicy, and often it would be more satisfying to eat the rind from an heirloom watermelon than the pale flesh of a hybrid.
Organic heirloom watermelons grown in a home garden can be picked at their peak, when fully ripened, for maximum flavor. Their sweet, crisp interiors showcase hearts that drip goodness, surrounded by seeds that can be saved for planting the following spring. The crisp sweetness contrasts sharply with hybrids that have been purchased at a store, with their lack of flavor, and are often mushy on the inside. Most hybrids offer no taste appeal, while others smell and taste like they are about to spoil. The gardener is able to control when to harvest homegrown heirlooms, to ensure they’ve developed full flavor and haven’t gone over.
Varieties of heirloom melons such as the Organic Crimson Sweet feature almost a 12% sugar content when ripe. This is a popular award winning variety that spreads out 10-12 feet while producing 20-25 pound sweet red flesh. It’s an early variety with mouth-watering flavor as soon as 80 days after planting. Planting a closely related strain of organic heirloom Allsweet watermelon seeds will result in a crop that is ready to harvest in approximately 90 days, but which holds and travels well. Both of these varieties are resistant to anthracnose and fusarium wilt.
Gardeners and children alike will enjoy introducing unique colors to their organic heirloom melons with varieties such as the Organic Golden Honey Watermelon seeds and the Organic Yellow Gem Sweet Watermelon. The Golden Honey is a small 7-8 inch oval melon, who’s rind turns to gold to signal harvest time. The rare heirloom, Yellow Gem Sweet is a Crimson Sweet variety that features yellow flesh that is known for its sweetness and juicy flavor, but has been experienced by very few in the recent past, due to a lack of seed.
The Organic Moon and Stars watermelon seed produces a variety that was thought to have disappeared until it was rediscovered in 1981. It has mottled leaves and rind, with a small heart and a lot of seeds, but is rich in taste. The flesh varies in color and includes yellow, pink and red. It may be slightly mealy and will not be as smooth as found in other varieties; however this is still a very popular melon, popular for its large size and taste.
A long-time favorite for home gardeners, heirloom Jubilee watermelon seeds, will produce a melon that is large in size and taste, while retaining resistance to disease. The flesh is a deep dark red with black seeds, and offers the deep sweetness associated with homegrown melons.
Nearly all gardeners have room to plant at least one variety of sweet homegrown organic melon seeds. Unlike other fruit, it seems nearly impossible to duplicate the sweet flavor of watermelon, or to grow them with flavor commercially. We recommend starting plants from heirloom melon seeds inside before transplanting the vigorous vines after the last frost, so they can be harvested and enjoyed throughout the summer.