Sunday, July 25, 2010

Growing SUPERmarket Cantaloupe

Out of sheer curiosity, I planted seeds from a generic cantaloupe from the grocery store.

Before I started my Great Cantaloupe Experiment, I did some reading on the internet and came away with the following information:
  • Many store-bought melons are hybrids, unless marked otherwise.
  • Some hybrid melons are sterile.
  • Some sterile hybrid melons have seeds that won't germinate; others will grow into plants that will never bear fruit.
  • Some hybrid melons will bear fruit that will not resemble the parent melon.
After reading all this, I HAD to try this out for myself, even if I didn't get any melons out of it.

I bought a cantaloupe from a local Kroger in Texas.  It sported a sticker bearing the "Majesty" brand name, which I think is some mega corporation, giving me a near-certainty that I was dealing with a hybrid melon.  I harvested about 10 seeds by picking them out from the slimy inside seed cluster and and patting them dry with a napkin.

The seeds traveled back to Indiana with me in a small zip-loc bag.  They were planted in my square foot gardening beds on June 26, 2010.  To my surprise, ALL of the seeds germinated within days.  On Day 7, I transplanted two seedlings into two separate containers.

Take a look at their progress below:

July 3, 2010 (Day 7)
Two of these seedlings were transplanted into separate containers after this picture was taken.

July 10, 2010 (Day 14)

July 11, 2010 (Day 15)

July 17, 2010 (Day 21)

July 24, 2010 (Day 28)

July 24, 2010 (Day 28 Transplanting)

July 24, 2010 (Day 28 - transplanted into a new bucket)

As you can see, one of the two transplanted seedlings just took off and is growing like mad every day.  Keith has dubbed it the SUPERmarket cantaloupe.  It's even flowering, although I've spotted only male flowers so far. 
 July 25, 2010 (Day 30)

Next step: cross my fingers and hope that this plant ends up with some female flowers and bears some viable melons. 

Has anyone else here tried to grow any store-bought melons from seed?  Do you want guess how many melons, if any, I'll get out of this plant?


Engineeredgarden said...

I've never done it before, but i'm sure it works part of the time. Good luck with it!

foodgardenkitchen said...

Wow, I'm impressed that all of the seeds germinated! Good luck with the experiment - I'm interested to see how it goes!

GrafixMuse said...

Awesome! I guess you never know unless you try it. I am looking forward to the progress of your experiment.

Annie's Granny said...

I hate to throw cold water on the party, but I think you might have started the seeds about two months too late. I'd have had the seedlings in the bucket by mid-May. I hope you prove me wrong and have a huge bumper crop!

thyme2garden said...

Engineeredgarden - if I'm lucky, maybe my experiment will fall into that "part of the time" where it does work. Thank you!

* * * * *
foodgardenkitchen - I know, I was really amazed that all those seeds germinated, too. I'll post another update in a few weeks.

* * * * *
GrafixMuse - that's what I was thinking. I was just curious to see if these seeds would even germinate. Now I know!

* * * * *
Granny - you are totally right, but the inspiration to experiment just struck me too late in the season. I'm still looking at this as just an experiment, so if all goes well, I'll definitely time this better next season. Thank you for your thoughts, as always!

Vic said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for ya!

thyme2garden said...

Thanks Vic, I really appreciate it!

~Holly~ said...

Awesome job on that melon!! Looks like it's really loving it's new home!!

meemsnyc said...

What a fun experiment! I grew potatos this year from spuds I bought at the market and they did better than the potatos I bought from seed. Go figure! I hope you get fruit from those melons, keep us posted!

thyme2garden said...

Holly - thank you! I hope the melon plant will keep growing. We'll see. Stay tuned for more updates in a few weeks!

* * * * *
meemsnyc - I'm so glad to hear that supermarket potatoes worked for you. That's definitely on my list of potential future experiments.

Jeana said...

How fun! I love trying different experiments in the garden. Keep us updated.

thyme2garden said...

Jeana - garden experiments are really fun and a good way to learn more about our plants. I will be sure to post another update about this melon plant in a few weeks.

Anna said...

This summer I have had tons of mellon seeds sprout in my compost barrel, I haven't pulled any to plant, but I did that with some pumkins earlier in the spring and they have also grown like mad and have some good sized pumkins on them. :) Best of luck and I hope you get some fruit for your labors.

thyme2garden said...

Anna - thank you for the luck, I sure will need it! I actually posted an update on my blog today. The plant keeps on growing and flowering, but no melons yet. I'm not giving up, though!

Jasanna Czellar said...

just stumbled across this post...I was curious...did you ever get any melons from this? :) I've got a cantaloupe right here ready to harvest seeds from! :)

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