Author Topic: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids  (Read 2888 times)

S.Simonsen

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #15 on: 2018-10-20, 10:30:34 PM »
I am so excited to see someone else has already gotten into this project idea. I have wanted to do it for ages and have only previously completed a watermelon variety trial focusing on heritage yellow and orange fleshed varieties. I found a really interesting variety called Janosik with golden flesh that reminds me of some of your hybrids shown above with citron genetics. It has a much firmer flesh and milder sweetness than normal watermelons that I really like, plus a difficult to describe leafy aromatic flavour to it that I love. It is going to be the core of my future melon breeding work.

We also have a local old variety called a jam melon, basically a kind of citron that was grown in Australia long ago. I have seeds started of that this year, plus a red seeded citron and a hardy strain of cuban watermelon that looks to have citron genetics as well. The plan is to cross my janosik seed that wildly outcrossed with a dozen or so other yellow/orange flesh watermelon varieties with a small number of citron strains this year and work from there.

We are in the subtropics so cold weather isn't a big problem but our soil here is mostly clay so not ideal for watermelons. I am hoping the citron genetics will help restore some root system vigor to my melons.

I am also interested in the possibility of selecting for edible seeds. I have recently started roasting gourd and pumpkin seed for consumption and I am amazed that people throw away the most fat and protein rich part of the fruit in most cases. Watermelons bred for large edible seed exist in the Middle East but I have never seen any material in circulation. I would love to come up with a vigorous citron hybrid with reasonable flesh and excellent seeds for roasting personally.

Let me know if there is any chance of swapping material with you. I still have some pure Janosik seed in the fridge if you want to try some of them, and you are welcome to have some of my wide Janosik outcrossed seed as well if you just want a big grab of genetic diversity to try.

Andrew Barney

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #16 on: 2018-10-20, 10:46:48 PM »
I am so excited to see someone else has already gotten into this project idea. I have wanted to do it for ages and have only previously completed a watermelon variety trial focusing on heritage yellow and orange fleshed varieties. I found a really interesting variety called Janosik with golden flesh that reminds me of some of your hybrids shown above with citron genetics. It has a much firmer flesh and milder sweetness than normal watermelons that I really like, plus a difficult to describe leafy aromatic flavour to it that I love. It is going to be the core of my future melon breeding work.

We also have a local old variety called a jam melon, basically a kind of citron that was grown in Australia long ago. I have seeds started of that this year, plus a red seeded citron and a hardy strain of cuban watermelon that looks to have citron genetics as well. The plan is to cross my janosik seed that wildly outcrossed with a dozen or so other yellow/orange flesh watermelon varieties with a small number of citron strains this year and work from there.

We are in the subtropics so cold weather isn't a big problem but our soil here is mostly clay so not ideal for watermelons. I am hoping the citron genetics will help restore some root system vigor to my melons.

I am also interested in the possibility of selecting for edible seeds. I have recently started roasting gourd and pumpkin seed for consumption and I am amazed that people throw away the most fat and protein rich part of the fruit in most cases. Watermelons bred for large edible seed exist in the Middle East but I have never seen any material in circulation. I would love to come up with a vigorous citron hybrid with reasonable flesh and excellent seeds for roasting personally.

Let me know if there is any chance of swapping material with you. I still have some pure Janosik seed in the fridge if you want to try some of them, and you are welcome to have some of my wide Janosik outcrossed seed as well if you just want a big grab of genetic diversity to try.

Oh thanks! I'm excited that someone else is excited about my project and it's cool to hear about someone else basically starting a very similar project! and on the other side of the globe no less!

Yes, we have a decent amount of clay soil here and already i think I've seen some more vigorous genetics from the citrons for that particular soil type that i really like. I also suspect they have good genetics for sourcing rare nutrients like calcium or whatever, whearas some domestic watermelons would need heavy fertilizer to do well in the same conditions.

Yeah, i might be interested to collaborate, sounds like fun. If nothing else we can bounce ideas off each other and share progress reports.

S.Simonsen

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #17 on: 2018-10-20, 10:55:07 PM »
That is so great to hear. I am setting up my farm around zero-input agriculture, selecting crops that grow on our local unremarkable soils with no fertiliser or irrigation. Some types get the manure left in my goose pens, and the vegetables get my goat manure, but the field and staple crops have to genuinely love it here to make the cut. The watermelon trial I mentioned was done on our creek flats in the only vaguely silty soil and apart from killing the existing pasture they got no other inputs, so the varieties that fruited well had reasonably strong vigour.

We are at the start of our watermelon season here so if you are willing to send me any seed I would be really excited to incorporate them into my program. Im not sure how we get in touch here- is it OK to share email addresses or is there a way to private message? Happy to pay for seed as well if you would prefer that.

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #18 on: 2018-10-21, 11:15:31 AM »
That little envelope under your name means people can email you.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Dominic J

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #19 on: 2018-10-28, 05:56:21 PM »
Nice work!

I've started playing with watermelons, but the interesting varieties I wanted to cross will have to wait for next year.

One accession is reported to be cold-resistant. From... Nigeria, I think? Doesn't really seem like a cold place to me, though!

hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/49/3/240.full

Heh, this article mentions an ever better one from South Africa. I don't think I ordered that one, wasn't mentioned in the docs I had consulted at the time. :/

Gilbert Fritz

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #20 on: 2018-10-30, 03:49:39 PM »
Hello Andrew and others,

I chopped open the first few of my citron/ watermelons. The largest was 24 pounds and nearly spherical. It had the cloud-like citron patterns on it. On the inside, it had pale yellow flesh, tan seeds with the larger end dark brown, and a very thick rind. It was a bit more solid than a standard melon. The taste was not bad, but not very interesting, sweet but bland. It was also a little grainy.

I'll post more on the other melons as I cut them open and pictures as I get time.

These plants had been very neglected; no fertilizer, no weeding, and late planting.

S.Simonsen

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #21 on: 2018-10-30, 03:54:04 PM »
This all sounds really promising to me- "no fertilizer, no weeding, and late planting" and a flavour that isn't instantly terrible when citron genes are introduced. Cucurbits have such incredible potential to be vigorous and productive to the point of weediness. Just planted out three citron strains in amongst mixed heritage watermelons so should have some different crossed genetics to add to the project in a few months. 

Andrew Barney

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #22 on: 2018-10-30, 10:18:58 PM »
In response to Gilbert and others,  awesome! Thanks for the grow report and collaboration on this project! I look forward to pictures!

Gilbert Fritz

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #23 on: 2018-11-13, 11:56:26 AM »
Here is the big melon.




Gilbert Fritz

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #24 on: 2018-11-13, 11:57:12 AM »
Opened.

Gilbert Fritz

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #25 on: 2018-11-13, 11:57:46 AM »
Second largest.

Andrew Barney

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #26 on: 2018-11-13, 07:22:04 PM »
Second largest.

Cool! Thanks for the photos! I am particularly impressed with the sizes you got for the conditions you gave them.

How did they taste? The largest one #1 does not look all that tasty despite the nice yellow color.  Number 2 looks practically like a domestic. Did it taste good? How was flesh firmness or pectin concentration?

Am i correct in the fact that you planted the landrace domestics with the citron hybrids mixed together?

EDIT: i guess you already mentioned how the largest one tasted.

Hello Andrew and others,

I chopped open the first few of my citron/ watermelons. The largest was 24 pounds and nearly spherical. It had the cloud-like citron patterns on it. On the inside, it had pale yellow flesh, tan seeds with the larger end dark brown, and a very thick rind. It was a bit more solid than a standard melon. The taste was not bad, but not very interesting, sweet but bland. It was also a little grainy.

I'll post more on the other melons as I cut them open and pictures as I get time.

These plants had been very neglected; no fertilizer, no weeding, and late planting.
« Last Edit: 2018-11-13, 07:25:24 PM by Andrew Barney »

Gilbert Fritz

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #27 on: 2018-11-14, 09:26:55 AM »
Yes, I planted them mixed. The second largest may well be domestic. Neither tasted that great, not bad, but not good enough to eat the whole thing. I just ate a few scoops from each.

I'm almost certain the big one is partly citron, due to the patterns and pale flesh.

Andrew Barney

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #28 on: 2018-12-29, 07:57:40 AM »
Yes, I planted them mixed. The second largest may well be domestic. Neither tasted that great, not bad, but not good enough to eat the whole thing. I just ate a few scoops from each.

I'm almost certain the big one is partly citron, due to the patterns and pale flesh.

Cool! Thanks for the grow report and collaboration!

S.Simonsen

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Re: Colorado Red Seeded Citron Melon x Watermelon Hybrids
« Reply #29 on: 2019-02-21, 12:24:43 AM »
Just a quick update on recent progress. The field test was planted with one row of five janosik watermelons (that were from open pollinated parents in a trial bed of a dozen yellow and orange fleshed heirloom strains) along with two similar rows of F2/F3 citron/watermelon hybrid seed and one row pure citron seed. The first main flush of fruit recently ripened (though a couple of janosik came in earlier) and the results are quite interesting. This has been a pretty terrible season for unirrigated watermelon, with just about zero rain for all of January but moderate temperatures in the 30-35 C range (it usually gets over 40 C when there is no rain). I barely did any weeding on the patch either, just solarised between the rows with movable black plastic before the vines spread out, so the crowns are pretty choked with weeds. I might experiment with scything the crop up high later since the vines tend to stick close to the ground, or mulching more heavily with coarse debris since they seem to trail over it quite happily. The Janosiks produced four small melons between them (first pic), while all the other citrons and citron hybrids only managed four smaller melons between their three rows (second pic), so they had much lower productivity but some interesting variations. I expect that lower production to some degree with first generation plants sourced from very different climates, so a bit of epigenetic adjustment should kick in later on. It also definitely cements my affection for the janosik melons. Even outcrossed to other heirlooms they have been consistently excellent, with small seeds, thin rinds and delicately flavoursome golden flesh. I think from this point I might start planting my true janosik watermelons as an early crop around December, then following up with citrons as a later crop starting in January if there is sufficient rain. That way the first flush of fruit on the true watermelons will probably not contain any citron genetics, but the later citrons will potentially gain watermelon genes over time. Anytime a citron turns up with reasonable eating quality small amounts of its seed might be transferred to the early sowings of pure watermelons to add in a little variation to them over time.