What Is The Best Watermelon To Grow? One of life’s great pleasures is eating fresh watermelon grown from your garden. However, with there being over 1,000 varieties in existence, it is hard to decide which one to grow at home. To learn more about the different types go to https://planyourpatch.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-watermelon/.
While it is impossible to test every variety, we can certainly refer to studies on the most common varieties, that are readily available. One such study by the University of California, looked at 17 different varieties, based on taste, yield, days to maturity and fruit size.
Based on the the University of California study, the best overall performing varieties were;
- Sweet Siberian
- Osh Kirgizia
- Moon & Stars – Cherokee Strain
- Moon & Stars – Van Dorin Strain
While there are several different factors looked at, the ranking of these varieties was based flavour, the number of fruit produced, and the overall yield. Those varieties that produced a large number of fruits generally ranked higher, because it is more suited to the home gardeners needs ie. smaller fruit, more often.
I would also highlight that every single variety rated, at some stage in the half of the rankings for flavour, which indicates that anyone of the varieties tested would produce an acceptable quality of fruit, for most home gardeners.
How Did The Watermelon Varieties Perform?
The data on the 17 different varieties, has been tabulated below. However, the taste data, which was presented in the original study, as a ranking from first to ninth for a range of tasters, has been modified. This has been done to produce a single numeric value. Several of the listed varieties are available from Seeds Now in US. In the UK try Thompson & Morgan as they have a broad range of seeds.
|Variety||Days to Maturity||Total Yield (Kg)||Total Yield (lbs)||Taste Ranking||Fruit Per Plant|
|Moon & Stars – Van Dorin Strain||137||82.0||180.5||20||8|
|Moon & Stars – Cherokee Strain||107||55.9||123.0||25||5|
|Moon & Stars – Yellow Flesh||126||27.9||61.3||26||4|
|Cream to Saskatchewan||95||18.0||39.7||10||5|
|Small Shining Light||137||7.5||16.4||15||2|
The Best Watermelon Varieties
The Sweet Siberian is an extra sweet Watermelon, that has Apricot-Coloured flesh. The variety was originally developed in Russia as the name suggests, before making its way around the world during the 19th Century.
In this trial, this variety was rated number one for flavour, ranking first among taste testers, 40% of the time. Additionally, the fruit proved to be very prolific, producing 11 Melons, weighing between 3.6 and 6.4 kg (8 to 14 lbs), ranking Number 3, overall for yield.
The fruit itself, has a Black rind with Orange flesh, that is circular in shape with small black seeds. The harvest period ranged from 95 to 157 days, after planting the seed.
Osh Kirgizia is a Russian variety, named after a City in Southern Russia, that is sweet and has a Red flesh. It produces fruit that range in weight from 4.5 to 6.8 kg (10 to 15 lbs), that is round in shape with small Brown seeds. The harvest period ranged from 122 to 157 days, after planting the seed.
It ranked Second behind Sweet Siberia for flavour, overall. It produced a harvest around half the size of Sweet Siberia. The fruit itself is Light Green with thin dark strips and the seeds are Redwood in colour.
Picnic is an oblong shaped Green fruit that weights between 3.4 and 5.4 kg (8 to 12 lbs). The fruit has a sweet Red flesh with small Black seeds. The variety was first developed by Asgrow Seed Company in 1972. The harvest period ranged from 102 to 146 days, after planting the seed.
The Picnic variety ranked Number 3 on the list, as it performed well in taste tests and was among the highest yielding varieties.
Moon & Stars (Cherokee)
Moon & Stars (Cherokee) produces a large green fruit that weighs between 9 and 13.6 Kg (20–30 lbs). The rind has a series of small Yellow dots (the stars), and usually one larger Yellow blotch (the moon). The fruit is almost round in shape, and it has a Pink flesh with Black seeds.
This variety is an extremely high yielding variety, that also ranked 4th for flavour. One disadvantage of this variety compared to Sweet Siberia, Osh Kigizira and Picnic, is that it produced a very small number of fruits that were very large. The size of the fruit can sometimes be a problem due fridge space, if you can’t eat a reasonable amount in one go.
Moon & Stars (Van Doren Strain)
Moon & Stars (Van Doren Strain) produces large Green fruits, that weigh between 11 and 18 Kg (25–40 lbs). It has similar Yellow markings to other Moon and Star varieties, however, it is almost round in shape, and it has Pink flesh with Brown seeds.
While it has not scored as highly as other Moon & Star varieties for taste, it is still often ranked from 2nd to 4th, which is respectable. However, it produced the largest harvest by far of the varieties tested. Hence, we rated it among the best preforming varieties.
Moderate Performing Watermelon Varieties
Moon & Stars Yellow Fleshed
Moon & Stars Yellow Fleshed produces a large green oblong fruit, that weighs between 9 and 11 Kg (20–25 lbs). It has a similar Yellow markings to other Moon and Star varieties, however, it has pale Orange or Yellow flesh, with Brown seeds.
The variety scored similarly for taste as the other Moon & Star varieties, though researchers commented that the taste was not as sweet as the Red varieties. However, the main draw back of this variety, was that its yield was around half of the other Moon & Star varieties.
Chris Cross is a hybrid cross between Hawksbury and Dixie Queen, developed in 1950 in Iowa. It has large round fruits that are Pale Green, with the occasional Dark Green strips, that typically weigh 9 Kg (22 lbs). The harvest period ranged from 89 to 149 days, after planting the seed.
It is a relatively high yielding variety, however, researchers noted that it was not as sweet as other varieties.
Orangeglo is a variety that produces a Light and Dark Green striped oblong fruit, with Orange flesh. The fruit weighs between 5.9 to 10.5 kg (13 to 23 lbs), and has a moderately sweet taste. The harvest period ranged from 105 to 150 days, after planting the seed.
Crimson Sweet is a round variety with a Light Green skin with blotchy white strips. It has Red flesh and weighs between 6.4 and 8.6kg (14 to 19 lbs). It performed moderately well in the trial, producing a reasonably good yield and flavour. The harvest period ranged from 95 to 157 days, after planting the seed.
Jubilee is an oblong variety with Light Green skin and Dark Strips. It has Red flesh and the fruit weighs between 11 and 13.7 kg (24 to 30 lbs). It performed moderately well in the taste testing, but was not among the highest yielding varieties. The harvest period ranged from 105 to 136 days, after planting the seed.
Melitopolski is a round variety with Light Green and Dark Strips on its skin. It has Red flesh and the fruit weighs on average 5.4 kg (12lbs). It performed moderately well in the taste testing, but was a relatively low yielding variety. The harvest period ranged from 114 to 160 days, after planting the seed.
The Worst Performing Varieties
Cream of Saskatchewan
Cream of Saskatchewan is a variety that was developed in Russia, and is said to perform well in cooler climates. It produces a fruit that is Pale Green with Dark Strips and has Pale Yellow flesh. The plant produced a modest yield relative other Watermelons, with the fruit weighing between 1.8 and 5.9 kg (4 to 13 lbs). Researchers commented that the Melon was not as sweet as other varieties tested. The harvest period ranged from 95 to 157 days, after planting the seed.
Chelsea is an Heirloom variety, that was grown around Iowa, in the early 1900’s. It produces Green moderate sized fruit with Red flesh, that weighs between 5.5 to 7.5 Kg (12 to 17 lbs). The harvest period ranged from 117 to 136 days, after planting the seed.
It produced a moderate yield, ranking down the lower end for flavour, and only produced 3 fruit throughout the season. As such, it is not a variety we would recommend highly.
Golden Midget was introduced in 1959, and is a cross between New Hampshire Midget and Pumpkin Rind Water. The Melons weigh between 1.4 to 2.2 kg (3–5 lbs). The fruit has a Pink flesh that turns a Golden Yellow, when ripe. The harvest period ranged from 83 to 175 days, after planting the seed.
Blacktail Mountain, which was developed in Northern Idaho, produces Dark Green fruits with Red flesh, that weigh between 2.7 and 5.4 kg (6 to 12 lbs). The harvest period ranged from 99 to 136 days, after planting the seed.
The variety was among the lowest performers in the trial, for both taste and and yield. However, the performance in the taste trials, may have been impacted by the timing of the harvest, with researchers noting that it was difficult to tell whether the fruit was ripe. This resulted in most fruit not being picked at a optimum time for flavour.
Small Shining Light
Small Shining Light is a small round variety with a Dark Green Skin. It has Red Flesh and the fruit weighs between 3 to 4 kg (7 to 9lbs). It performed moderately well in the taste testing, but it was the lowest yielding variety in the trial, and hence, was ranked low on our list. The harvest period ranged from 117 to 136 days, after planting the seed.
Sugar Baby is a small round variety with a Dark Green Skin. It has Red Flesh, and the fruit weighs between 3 to 4 kg (7 to 9lbs). It had the lowest score in the taste tests and the second lowest yield, in the trial. However, the researchers noted that the Melons were over ripe, before testing commenced, which may have impacted the taste result. The harvest period ranged from 122 to 157 days, after planting the seed.