Growing and Saving the Seed Of Wax Melon
Latin name Benincasa hispida is an annual vining member of the cucurbit family. The long and rambling frost-tender vines produce extremely large fruit that resembles watermelon but tastes savory. A staple winter food, its waxy rind helps to preserve the fruit for up to 12 months. Fruit can weigh up to 75 pounds each. Excellent storage quality and snow-white flesh. An excellent substitute for zucchini squash, but these are tastier!
The wax melon is a too little-known treasure from Asia. Wax melon has been dated back 2,700 years ago in China; thanks to its long history, countless recipes exist for this versatile fruit. The flesh is candied and stuffed into dessert pastries, stewed into hearty winter soups, stir fried and used to fill moon cakes for China’s Autumn Moon Festival.
- Many culinary uses
- Start indoors or direct sow (preferred) after the last chance of frost has passed and soil has reliably warmed.
- Create 2x2 foot hills that are spaced 4-6 feet apart.
- Sow seeds 1 inch deep.
- Sow 2 seeds per hill, spaced 12 inches apart.
- Ideal germination temperature is 86-90 F.
- Full sun.
- Average water needs.
- Provide well-drained soil.
- Mulch around plants.
- As the rambling vines set fruit, you can thin some of the fruit to divert more growing energy to the remaining fruit. You can eat the young thinned fruit like zucchini.
- A pest- and disease-free plant
Saving sunflower seeds is very easy!
- This cucurbit family member is insect pollinated, and it will cross with other members of the Benicasa hispida genus and species, not other cucurbits.
- To avoid cross pollination, you can choose to grow only one variety of wax melon per season, or you can isolate different winter melon varieties by 1/2 mile.
- For seed saving, allow the large fruit to mature on the vine (the stems leading to the melon will shrivel and brown). Scoop seeds and clear away pulp, dry seeds in a warm, dry location, out of direct sunlight.
- Store seeds in a cool, dark, dry location.