(85 days) F-1 hybrid. Northern growers have probably noticed our italicized cautions saying “maybe not really for you” on whopper striped oblong watermelon varieties. In our own gardens, we never skimp on the tricks of planting good seedlings into black plastic under row cover, yet getting yields of 1 or 2 fully ripe biggies per plant amounts to a good year. Big news: if our 2018 Zone 4 watermelon trials have any merit, now is your chance to live the watermelon dream. With extra-sweet deep red flesh and raging watermelon flavor, Fantasy made four times the fruit of production-standard Sangria, and was earlier. In hot dry 2018, the 7x15" fruits weighed 15 lbs; a little more rain and we could’ve pushed 20+ lbs easy. Its vigor and yields prove it was bred for organic growing conditions. But here’s the italic warning: Northern growers could get used to this new watermelon reality. ⑤
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Citrullus lanatus1 gram packet about 20 seeds, sows 7 hills; 1⁄16 oz packet, packet about 40 seeds, sows 14 hills. 1 oz=about 670 seeds.
Culture: Harvesting watermelon at proper ripeness is an art. Thumping should produce a low, hollow sound. Spread thumb and forefinger and press hard on fruit. If you feel any give, watermelon is ripe. Don’t heed the traditional advice to wait for the closest tendril to brown—that may be too late. Minimum germination temperature 60°, optimal range 75–95°.