Friday, September 17, 2010

Germinating Cantaloupe Seeds

Do you ever test-germinate your seeds to see how good they are?

We bought a cantaloupe from a local farmer's market a few weeks ago, and I saved the seeds.  I put the slimy gooey seeds into a bowl, filled it with water, discarded all the ones that floated to the top and just kept the ones that stayed at the bottom of the bowl.  Then I dried them on some newspaper.  Even after discarding the floaty seeds, I probably still have well over a hundred seeds.  I'm definitely not going to plant all of them and I'm sure they will go "bad" in a few years, long before I get around to ever using them all up, either personally or through seed trading.  But before I considered allocating garden space to these seeds and/or trading them away, I wanted to make sure that these seeds were good.

So I placed about a dozen seeds on a sheet of wet paper towel, loosely wrapped them up and put the whole thing in a ziploc bag.  I left the ziploc part open for ventilation, and placed the bag in my grow box.  About five days later, this is what they looked like:

Every single one of the seeds germinated!  Not only that, the roots were really starting to develop, with some of them growing through the double-ply paper towel and coming out on the bottom.  Since I don't know the variety of the parent cantaloupe, I probably won't plant very many of them.  But it's good to know that these seeds are good!

Before you ask, no, I did not save these seedlings, because our indoor grow box is definitely not big enough to grow melons in over the winter.  It's always difficult throwing perfectly good seedlings away, but they served their experimental purpose, and went to go rest (permanently) in the compost pile.

Have a happy Friday everyone, and stay tuned for a Lupe update this weekend!


Sherri B. said...

I can't tell you what a kick I get out of you doing this. This kind of reminds me of the year I grew pole beans in my living room. We had a huge south facing picture window and a woodstove that roasted us out no matter what the temp. oustside, so I planted some seeds and they grew and I even got beans off of them...I just checked my basil but they haven't started any roots yet. I guess it will take awhile..I'm enjoying your blog.

thyme2garden said...

Sherri - I so appreciate your reading my blog and getting something out of it! Did you take any pictures of your living room pole beans? That sounds amazing!

How long has it been since you put the basil cutting in water? As long as they are not dying, I'm sure it will work. I had three cuttings of various sizes. The biggest one rooted first, in about a week. The other two followed in a few days. When I put them on the sunny window sill, they wilted, but they seem to enjoy being on the kitchen counter away from direct sun, but still with some indirect sunlight available. Last weekend marked two weeks and the roots grew a lot between week 1 and 2. This weekend (end of week 3), I'm sure they will be ready to be potted. I'll post some pictures soon.

Nartaya said...

How fun! Can't wait to see what kind of melon it is next summer.

Anonymous said...

This is great germination rate! I am not sure how long are those seeds viable, but you can save some every year.
I always save too many seeds, and then next year I save more. At the end I have so many seeds and it is so hard to throw them away.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Thats an interesting experiment you did. Last year I planted some watermelon seeds bought from supermarket and they produce all kind of watermelon shape (oblong, round) from one plant.

Engineeredgarden said...

Well, I don't check germination of my seeds - just plant them. It's really interesting that the seeds from storebought melons grow just fine.

upinak said...

Hey Thyme... want to know how to keep your seeds?

Dehydrate them. Put them in a baggy, write what they are or as close as possible, and store them.

To gorw them... FREEZE them for a week, then let them defrost for a day or two and then plant.

I have NEVER had any issues doing this and have always gotten seedlings from everything I have done. It is the freezing part that always works... it kind of zaps them into a "OH, it got cold and now it has warmed up and I muct GROW" senerio.

Hope that tip helps. :)

ZZ said...

Wow! Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Top web site, I hadn't come across earlier in my searches!
Carry on the great work!

thyme2garden said...

Nartaya - the garden mystery just keeps me going!

* * * * *
vrtlarica - I'm just getting started with seed saving here, but I can foresee myself doing the same thing as you with saving too many seeds every year. Oh well, more to share with others!

* * * * *
Malay-Kadazan girl - that's really neat that you grew watermelons of all different shapes from one plant! I should try this myself. :)

* * * * *
Engineeredgarden - the reason I checked these seeds were because they were from a melon from a store (although it was a farmer's market). I have read that some hybrid melon seeds are sterile and/or inviable, so I wanted to check. I suppose the fact that they germinated doesn't necessarily prove that they will eventually bear good fruit. Hmm...

* * * * *
upinak - thanks for the info!

* * * * *
ZZ - thank you!

* * * * *
Anonymous - Thanks! (Not sure if this kind of comment is considered spam, but since there aren't any links here, I guess it can't hurt)

ZZ said...

You're Welcome!

Anonymous said...

You may want to google "melon cross polination." Unless your melon was the only type of cucurbit grown on the farm it's from, you're not likely to get a true representation of the melon you ate.

Jordan said...

Question so the floating melon seeds were "bad"? Oops. I tried to grow some cantaloupe with the floating seeds.

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Nicole said...

I was wondering. I started some seedlings just as you did and they look similar to yours. Now, what do I do with them? Do I bury them down a few inches or do I keep the green part of the seedlings above ground?

Maybe someone can help me out?


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