We have been saving seeds from our early yellow fleshed watermelons for over 15 years now. We started
with a variety called Yellow Doll. We grew it along side a red fleshed variety called Blacktail Mountain that was
known for being especially early. They cross pollinated and we kept the seeds from the melons that were
mostly yellow and eventually they were back to yellow again. Some may have just a hint of red streaks. We
now have a melon that is a bit larger than the Yellow Doll variety and is just as sweet and good tasting and
ripens easily here in Oregon. They are about the size of a small bowling ball and are a light
green with dark green stripes. One difference between our melon and shipping varieties that you see at the
store, is that ours has a very thin rind and that means more edible melon. People tell us that our watermelon is
much sweeter than store-bought melons. I will sell you 25 seeds of our Hollyhill Watermelon for just $4.00.
They were saved from the best ones we grew in the year before. By the way,
we were still eating watermelon in late November of this year. Here in Oregon City, watermelons can be left in
the field after the vines die back and are very tasty until the really cold weather freezes them.
How to grow good watermelons in Oregon:
I start the seeds in April under lights in my basement. I place three seeds in light germination mix in a 2.5
inch pot. I water them and put the pots into a plastic bag. They are placed about 4 inches from the
florescent bulb and will sprout in 4-5 days. After a week or so, I take them out of the bag and grow them
inside under the lights for a couple of weeks. I eventually move the plants out to our unheated
greenhouse on about May 1st. C. The plants are planted in the garden on June 1st and never any earlier.
I do give the plants some greenhouse fertilizer while they are in the greenhouse. The ground must be
warm for them to do well. I till the soil and place a black(black not clear) polyethlene tarp over the soil and
cover the edges with soil. I cut an X into the spots where I grow the plants. The plants do well when spaced
about 3 to 4 feet apart. I water them with a bit of liquid greenhouse fertilizer(20-20-20) weekly for about
4-5 weeks and then give them no more fertilizer. When you water them, you can just spray over the black
tarp as the plants will pick up the water from the puddles. They are ripe on about Labor Day or about
September 1st although they have been just a bit later during cooler summers. They have a long harvest
period and we are still eating melons in November. Even in our poor growing season in 2008, we had
several excellent melons and many very good ones. I ate the last one on November 29th while I was
digging tubers. The vines had died long ago but the melon was very tasty
Here are the watermelon plants on
about July 4th.