There are at least 1,200 varieties of watermelon commercially produced in 96 countries. These varieties range in size, shape, taste and color. Red-fleshed watermelons are the most common but there are varieties with cream-colored, orange, pink and yellow flesh. Yellow-fleshed watermelons are not a human-made mutation. The fruits occur naturally. They are one of several varieties of watermelon which are all grown in much the same way.
Grocery stores and produce markets sell personal-sized watermelons. These mini melons range in size from 1 to 7 lbs. Yellow-fleshed mini varieties include yellow baby and yellow doll. These watermelons are early season watermelons and are grown in colder climates. They mature and are edible within 75 days after planting. Honey heart are larger sized yellow fleshed melons and require a longer growing season.
Seedless watermelons arise from melons which are chemically treated and cross-pollinated with other watermelons to produce sterile, hybrid, seedless varieties. Yellow-fleshed melons come in both seeded and seedless varieties. Home-growers can purchase these and other watermelon seeds through seed catalogues and retail stores.
Both seedless and seeded watermelons are pollinated by bees. Watermelon pollen is heavy and does not transport through wind. Scientists have determined that eight bee visits are necessary to insure that pollen has transferred from the male flower to the female flower, according to the University of Missouri Extension.
Watermelon seeds are planted in mounds about 1 foot high which are spaced 8 to 12 feet apart. The vines become quite long and require all the space allowed them. The melons grow best in hot, humid conditions and in sandy soil.
Some garden guides suggest you slap your watermelon with an open palm or thump the rind with your knuckles. If the resulting sound is deep and resonant, the melon is ready to be picked. If you are not fond of abusing your fruit or if you are tone deaf, then you may wish to consider more scientific methods. Observe the color of the leaves located where the vine and the melon meet. If the leaves are brown and drying, then the melon is ready to harvest. Check the bottom of the melon. If the melon's bottom is yellow, then it is ready to eat, reports the University of Illinois Extension.
Watermelon is a sweet fruit and can be served in a variety of ways. Mediterranean cultures serve watermelon with feta cheese or other salty flavors. Watermelon rind can be stir- fried or pickled. Watermelons have been used in smoothies, granitas, salsa, muffins and as decorative fruit sculpture.
- National Watermelon Promotion Board: Fun Facts
- Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office: Watermelon Industry
- University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow
- University of Missouri Extension: High Tunnel Melon and Watermelon Production
- National Watermelon Association: The Watermelon Story
Catherine Duffy's writing can be found on gardening blogs, tech sites and business blogs. Although these topics seem quite different, they have one area in common: systems and design. Duffy makes systems and design (as they pertains to plants, supply chains or software) entertaining and welcoming to general readers.