Why We Don’t Save Watermelon Seeds

It’s easy to save seeds from watermelons.  The seeds are abundant and large.  Just keep as many as you need for next year, dry them out and put them in a jar. Nothing to it.

But we buy our watermelon seeds every year.  Why not just save them?

We grow two varieties of watermelon–Crimson Sweet and Moon and Stars Yellow-Fleshed.  Crimson Sweet watermelons have red flesh and black seeds.   Crimson Sweet is the most popular watermelon.  Seeds are inexpensive and easy to find.  Moon and Stars Yellow Fleshed is a less well-known heirloom, with yellow flesh and white seeds. Its seeds are expensive and difficult to find.  Saving seeds from the Moon and Stars, at least, would seem to make a lot of sense.

This year we had a Moons and Stars volunteer come up in our beans garden.  A bird must have dropped the seed there last year.

Here’s what it looked like when I cut it open.

IMG_4268

IMG_4269

And that is why we can’t save watermelon seeds.   Some plants, like watermelons, will cross-pollinate if you grow more than one variety.  The bees feeding off the blooms of both varieties will pollinate one with the pollen of the other, and if you plant the seeds from the fruit of cross-pollinated plants you can end up with a cross between the two.  In this case we ended up with a watermelon that looked like a Moon and Stars on the outside and a Crimson Sweet on the inside.  Unfortunately this watermelon didn’t inherit the tastiness of either variety, so it went to the pigs.

If you’re thinking of saving seeds (a very good thing to do), and you’re growing more than one variety of a vegetable, just check first to make sure it isn’t a plant that cross-pollinates.