Saving seeds from Sugar Babies

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at
Thu Aug 2 09:23:23 EDT 2001

> Can anyone verify
>if I can save seed from my Sugar Babies and have them breed true for next
>year? I did have other watermelons close to them but I think these were
>done blooming before the others. Does it matter in watermelons?
>To save seed do I need to let the melon go way
>past ripe?

I'm not sure but I think you're right, that Sugar Baby is open-pollinated.
So you should be able to save the seed safely. However, any
cross-pollination is going to create changes in the subsequent generations.
Some of those changes may not be desirable. Sugar Baby does pollinate
earlier than most varieties and if you're confident they began pollination
before your other watermelons you should save seeds from the first fruit you
harvest. One one well-pollinated fruit produces 200+ seeds so you may want
to hand pollinate a few fruit for saving seed. If you cover female flowers
before they open, then hand-pollinate after they open and recover them, you
should have a high degree of confidence that they are true to the cultivar.

Let the melons get ripe enough to eat (full ripe, not like what produce
departments sell you) and the seed will be viable.

Bill Shoemaker
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center

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