The Moon and Stars watermelon is an heirloom with a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. An unusual-looking natural mutation in a watermelon patch caught the eye of a Tennessee farmer named J.D. Green, who further stabilized and developed the strain. The sweet watermelon grew in popularity, especially in the southern states, and it was released in the Peter Henderson & Co seed catalog in 1926. But starting in the 1950s, with the arrival of new hybrid varieties that were easier to ship and could be harvested mechanically, the Moon and Stars slowly disappeared from collective memory. It was just in the late 1990s that the Moon and Stars watermelon was ‘’resuscitated’’ and saved, thanks to renewed interest in heirloom varieties and the devotion of small seed-saving organizations and passionate farmers.
Some say that the Moon and Stars is a celestial fruit, plucked straight from the heavens. The watermelons have a round or slightly oblong shape and grow to quite a large size, weighing 15 to 40 pounds or even more depending on the growing conditions. Some melons can get so big that they might need extra space in the garden and some support so the stems don’t break. The skin is dark green, speckled with yellow stars like a constellation, and large irregular spots that resemble a full moon in the night sky. The crimson red flesh is firm and crisp, with a perfect balance between sweetness and water, making it a deliciously hydrating summer treat with a punch of flavour.
- Latin Name: Citrullus lanatus
- Life Cycle: Annual
- Days to Maturity: 95-100
- Planting Depth: 2-3 cm
- Plant Spacing: 60 cm or 30 cm with trellis
- Row Spacing: 1.5-1.8 m
- Growth Habit: Short-vine spreading
In the blazing heat of a summer afternoon, what’s more quenching than enjoying a juicy, sweet slice of watermelon? Watermelon for sure is more prevalent in warmer climates, but growers in cold regions can have success starting seeds indoors. This summertime gem will need plenty of sun and space, but can easily be started from seed. From the day of planting it can take up to 100 days to harvest, depending on the variety.
Start seeds 2-3 weeks before the last frost date. Plant into separate pots, about 1 cm deep. Use slightly larger pots than usual to accommodate expansive root growth. Or, compostable pots may be a good option. They can be transplanted directly with little disturbance to the roots. If kept moist and at a warm temperature seeds should germinate within a few days. Provide plenty of light for the first few weeks.
When soil reaches at least 18°C, prepare to harden off and transplant. Watermelons tend to need an abundance of nutrients in order to produce their enormous fruits. So, prepare the bed beforehand with plenty of compost. Make sure this site receives full sun, has loose, well-drained soil and that vines will have plenty of space to spread. Transplant very carefully, roots are fragile and can be damaged easily. Either plant in traditional rows about 2 m apart, or in 1.5 m wide mounds, 60-90 cm apart.
Provide young plants with 3-5 cm of water/week until fruit are set. Reduce water at that point to promote the production of sweet fruit. Add mulch to retain moisture and provide a dry resting place for fruit as it matures.
Be good to your pollinators! Male and female flowers are produced and need healthy native insects to aid in fertilization.
To tell if a watermelon is ripe. Give it a slap! Hollow sounding melons should be ready. If the underside is a cream or yellow color, that is a good indicator of maturity. Finally, check the stem where it is attached to the fruit. If it is still green, wait. Once it starts to die off, or is dead, the fruit should be ready to pick. Snip the stem with clippers or a knife close to the fruit.
Watermelon is an essential sweet treat that every gardener should grow to help beat the summer heat!
- The first evidence of watermelon cultivation is in Ancient Egypt, where they were cultivated for their high water content and stored to be eaten during dry seasons. During the seventh century, watermelons were cultivated in India, by the 10th century had reached China, and by the 17th century, were widely planted in Europe.
- Watermelon seeds will remain viable for 4 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!