(87 days) F-1 hybrid. This variety bears the nickname of the U.S.-bound cargo trains that traverse Mexico, often with Central American migrants clinging atop, attempting the perilous journey to Estados Unidos. Growers and gardeners in the North often fear growing unfamiliar watermelons. This Citrullus nativism is rooted in the limitations of our short growing seasons, but La Bestia’s early large yields and behemoth size will shatter preconceived notions. An extra big and bulky elongated Sangria type with intensely sweet deep red flesh, this beast rocked the scales at 15–20 lbs even in Maine’s cool slow-starting summer of 2019. Three monsters per plant were cut from thick rambunctious vines with foliage more akin to winter squash’s. Long keeping and shipping qualities result from a solid rind thickly swathed in dark green with thin light streaks. NEW!④
1050 La Bestia
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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°.