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[seedsavers] Sedless watermelons
Here's a partial answer.
I'll ask a couple gurus on a cucurbit list I own to double check it.
Go to the url also as there are varieties named and
suggested for use in the process.
Seedless watermelons are self-sterile hybrids that develop
normal-looking fruits but no fully developed seeds. The seeds for
growing them are produced by crossing a normal diploid watermelon with
one that has been changed genetically into the tetraploid state. The
seeds from this cross produce plants that, when pollinated by normal
plants, produce seedless melons.
In seedless watermelons (genetic triploids), rudimentary seed
structures form but remain small, soft, white, tasteless and
undeveloped tiny seedcoats that are eaten virtually undetected along
with the flesh of the melon. Seed production for these seedless types
is an extremely labor intensive process that makes the seeds relatively
expensive. Because germination of these types is often less vigorous
than normal types, it is recommended that they be started in peat pots
or other transplantable containers, where the germinating conditions
can be closely controlled Once transplanted, cultivation is similar to
that for regular watermelons.
For pollination necessary to set fruit, normal seed types must be
interplanted with seedless melons. The pollinator should be distinct
from the seedless cultivar in color, shape or type so that the seedless
and seeded melons in the patch can be separated at harvest. Because
seedless types do not put energy into seed production, the flesh is
often sweeter than normal types and the vines are noticeably more
vigorous as the season progresses.
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