How Do They Grow Seedless Watermelon?

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Differences between Watemelon with Seeds and Seedless Watermelons

  • A regular watermelon contains thousands of seeds. The removal of seeds is annoying while eating watermelon. Seedless watermelons have a longer shelf life because there are no seeds to break down the flesh. They have been grown for more than 40 years. The increased consumer demand due to convenience of eating has lead to more varieties and growth of the industry. The seedless variety is actually a sterile plant that results from crossing two similar watermelon plants with differing chromosomes.

Cultivation of Seeds

  • They are produced by crossing a normal diploid plant with two sets of chromosomes with a tetraploid that is a plant with four set of chromosomes. The tetraploid is used as the female or seed plant and the other the diploid the male or pollen parent. The tetraploid plant is developed by treating the plant with chemical called colchicines. It is planted near the one that is the pollinator. The resulting watermelon that is seedless is the triploid with three chromosomes. These seeds rarely grow watermelon with any seeds. Seeds must be germinated at temperature above 80 degrees for seedless varieties. Seeds take longer and are often subject to fungal growth. Growth in containers that are transplanted during the spring to the soil do better due to the changing temperatures and rain in the spring. They can be grown in trays with a size of one to two inches. Do not overwater; seedling can be transplanted in three to five weeks.

Pollination

  • Inadequate pollination results in a poor seedless watermelon crop. The fields should be inter-planted with the diploid watermelon plants to provide additional pollen. Planting them in outside row and every third row is recommended. The pollen is carried from one plant to the other by an insect like the honeybee. It is important to have an adequate bee population in the fields when growing the seedless watermelons. More than six visits per plant may be required for effective pollination. Approximately 20,000 to 30,000 bees per every two acres of seedless watermelon is recommended. The application of a bee attractant to plants during the pollinating season is often recommended.

Varieties of Seedless Melons

  • There are several varieties of seedless watermelon. They have been cultivated and grown for several years. One variety is the King of Hearts, described as a midseason fruit that is oblong and weighs about 14 to 18 pounds with a thick rind and striped pattern. Some of the other varieties that have been cultivated are Crimson Trio, Genesis, Summer Sweet and Tiffany.

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