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Has anyone developed a watermelon that just has very few seeds?

 
pollinator
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I don’t know if this is even possible - but has anyone ever developed an open pollinated watermelon that doesn’t have many seeds? Or - could it even be done with careful selection?
 
pollinator
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Hi Bethany,
I'm sure it would be possible. There are quite a few "seedless" watermelon's from the store, so clearly it can be done. Keep in mind though, that the seeds are the plant's way of reproducing, so you are trying to grow something and reduce its ability to reproduce. If you go too far... you don't have a variety anymore.
 
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There are watermelons with seeds the size of tomato seeds. They are close to a dead end evolutionarily, because the seeds contain so little energy that the plants struggle to get a good start in life.
 
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I'm actually selecting for larger seed size in my watermelon landrace. With the seeds being larger in size they are a lot easier to remove (or spit in a watermelon seed contest ). The smaller seeds were really hard to remove and took a lot longer to get out, and I would occasionally bite down into them, whereas the larger seeds kind of slip out easier.

I've noticed I like the flavor of pink flesh best so far it seems. I'm not really selecting for color but I love the way the really black shiny seeds look with the pink flesh.

This was my favorite watermelon of the year this year. It had an amazing flavor and also just happened to have my favorite color combos as well! The color didn't come out well in the photo, but it was a really nice medium pink.
20221020_200925.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20221020_200925.jpg]
 
pollinator
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If I've understood it right, truly seedless melons are triploids, so it seems you wouldn't be able to do "just a bit" of that to get one with few seeds. But, yeah, should be possible through persistent breeding efforts.
 
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If someone developed a seedless watermelon how would that watermelon reproduce so that there is a crop next year?

How to seed companies sell seeds that produce seedless watermelons?
 
Eino Kenttä
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I suppose because all seedless melons are F1 hybrids, where one of the parents is diploid and the other tetraploid. The parent lines are fertile as long as they are selfed (or crossed with another line on the same ploidy level) but when crossed with each other they give rise to a triploid which is sterile. (Please correct me if I got this wrong)
 
pollinator
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I have thought about this myself, and believe it should be possible to move a population over to having fewer seeds.  Steve Thorn above looks to be on the right track, hopefully he'll tell us more about his strain (hint hint).  Here are some reasons why I think this is a preferable trait...

-Fewer seeds are obviously easier to deal with when eating watermelon than a hundred seeds.
     -You could easily enough just go the entirely seedless route for ease of eating, but then you have no seeds to propagate future delicious watermelons.

-For me, I feel a strong urge to grow out all of the seed within a fruit, because I don't want to leave a potential cross untested.  I know that's a personal thing with me, but if there were 30 large seeds rather than 100 small seeds, it would make it easier for me to grow out 100% of the seed without the fear of missing something special by leaving it in the seed jar.

 
Matt McSpadden
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@Cy - I think the seedless varieties are great for "domestication". You have many animals that have been breed for certain traits because people like that think or that size. Many of these would never survive in the wild. They have to have human intervention. For a watermelon in "the wild" you want a lot of seeds because most will get eaten by things, only leaving a few to grow a new plant. However a watermelon in a domestic garden with fewer seeds would be much easier to eat.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Just to clarify - I am not looking for a seedless melon, because as so many people have said, it wouldn't be able to reproduce! I'm looking for something that has maybe 20-30 seeds instead of thousands of them. Still plenty to reproduce with, but way more "eatable."

Having said that, I think I may just start on that project here in my new garden! Who knows, maybe in a decade or two I might have one!
 
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If I may turn around the problem: Watermelons were first bred for their edible seeds before being bred for their flesh. Seeds are edible, and in my opinion they taste better than pumpkin seeds!

Why would anyone want to spit out the best part of the watermelon? (edit: this is not a real question, of course tastes are different)
 
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