It’s impossible to say when or where we first began cultivating watermelons. However, archaeological evidence suggests that specific drawings found in tombs in the Nile Valley, which date to around 4,300 years ago, represent this fruit—or rather, its ancestor.
The team reports that it was consumed as a dessert. A crucial indicator is the prehistoric images of the purported watermelon.
There are numerous competing theories concerning the location of the wild fruit’s origin in Africa, including the northeast and the Sahel savannas. And currently, a team that has published in PNAS thinks it has the solution.
Knowing that we were hunter-gatherers until relatively recently is essential in this setting. The Neolithic agricultural revolution was a lengthy, erratic process rather than linear.
The earliest attempts may have been made as long ago as 23,000 years ago in Galilee, but “real” settling down and regular crop-growing only began around 12,000 years ago.
Additionally, early farmers relied on hunting and gathering to support their families. It’s not like there was a lightbulb moment from which humans settled down, cultivated crops, and harassed herbivores, occasionally with the aid of dogs who may have been tamed much earlier.
Concerning the puzzling domestication of the watermelon, the investigation into the fruit’s past was based on iconography but, more importantly, on genomic data of the various members of the Citrullus family.
The objective was to find the kin of the domestic watermelon, Citrullus lanatus, subspecies Vulgaris.
And according to genetic research, the Sudanese Kordofan melon is the domesticated watermelon’s nearest relative.
It might be the fruit that gave rise to the modern watermelon. Although we are unsure, it is currently the front-runner.
The Kordofan melon has a yellowish pulp, yet it isn’t bitter despite the family’s wild fruits’ predisposition.
The Feral Watermelon
Whether or not we know a food’s origin doesn’t seem to matter.
For example, the existing original species could be a valuable resource for upcoming watermelon breeding initiatives.
Extinction, hybridization, and the difficulty of differentiating them from feral forms make it difficult to identify them.
In contrast to other domesticated Cucurbitaceae crops like cucumber, studies show that early farmers brought into cultivation already non-bitter watermelons, the researchers say.
The watermelon is adored and well-liked in Israel, yet it is not a common fruit. On the other hand, it’s one of the top 10 crops in central Asia.
Diversity in the genetic makeup is a good thing. It allows the creature, whether it be a cockroach, chimpanzee, or banana, more alternatives to perhaps withstand the change in various environments.
Let’s talk about the banana. Did You know that The Cavendish variety of the yellow fruit, which is popular and distributed worldwide, is almost entirely under attack by a destructive fungus that could even wipe it out, as it did to the Gros Michel, the Cavendish’s forebear.
The problem is that most bananas grown worldwide are Cavendish clones, not a wide variety that includes some disease-resistant types (Fusarium wilt).
The anxiety in Ecuador, the world’s largest supplier of bananas, while its neighbor Peru battles an epidemic of the deadly disease, was covered by Bloomberg in April (the condition is fatal to the bananas, not the eaters).
Although watermelons can be grown from cuttings, understanding the fruit’s ancestry can increase the possibilities for developing hardy stock.
The researchers point out that both the watermelon and the Kordofan are non-bitter, adding that breeding for these characteristics led to the fruit’s current sweetness and pink color.
Even watermelons with yellow interior flesh are available. Although it doesn’t contain lycopene, the substance that gives tomatoes their red color, it is richer in beta-carotene, which is interesting.
Some people might find it strange or even creepy. Well, the yellow watermelon was available before the pink one, and if anything, experts claim that the yellow one may taste sweeter.
Even though the yellow watermelon frequently bears seeds, the flavor is unaffected. In fact, a lot of watermelon experts claim that the yellow watermelon produces melons that are tastier than the common red varietals.
The fruits’ outside appearance is identical to that of their red counterparts: The plants have the same lobed leaves and are both light green with dark green stripes.
While some yellow watermelon bushes produce small, 6-pound fruits, others produce enormous, 20–40–pound fruits that are perfect for sharing at a picnic or party.
The plants are robust and thrive in regions with protracted, sweltering summers. When you host your next Labor Day party, impress your guests with a yellow and red kaleidoscope of fruit by growing a variety of yellow and red watermelon vines in the same garden.
Planting Yellow Watermelon
Yellow watermelon plants, like all melon plants, prefer a lot of sun and fertile, well-draining soil. Opt for a bush baby variety that grows in less than 70 days if you reside in a region with brief seasons.
With age, plants have a certain level of drought tolerance. By not planting yellow watermelons where other melons, squash, or cucumbers were grown the year before, you can avoid common pests and diseases.
It is not advised to start yellow watermelon seeds indoors. Plant seeds outdoors only when the soil temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Not simply the ambient temperatures, but also the soil, must be warm.
Wait two weeks after the final frost of the season before planting. To hasten warming, you can also plant on raised beds or cover the ground with plastic.
For seed planting, create a mound of earth 6 to 8 inches high. At least 4 feet should separate rows, while 3 feet should separate mounds. Six inches apart, sow two or three seeds in the mound.
All except the most tenacious seedling should be removed after germination, which will take roughly eight days.
Thermodynamics and Humidity
Yellow watermelons enjoy the heat, but you can apply shade cloth if a prolonged period of high temperatures in the triple digits is hurting plants.
High humidity and hot temperatures might make plants more susceptible to powdery mildew. To improve air circulation and lessen fungal spores, increase spacing.
Yellow watermelons don’t need to be grown using chemical fertilizers. Increased soil fertility and tilth will result from the slow, consistent flow of nutrients provided by leaf mold, compost, or manure used as a top dressing.
To encourage rapid growth, some commercial farmers have been known to inject fruits with nitrogen fertilizer or other chemicals. Never try this with a watermelon that you plan to consume.
Different Yellow Watermelon Varieties
There are several excellent yellow watermelon cultivars to pick from, including:
- In 68 days, ‘Yellow Doll’ hybrids, which are popular in the marketplace, can produce small, 6-pound melons with tiny seeds.
- The 9-pound fruits of the hybrid “Yellow Baby” have few seeds and a thin rind.
- A huge, long-season hybrid that is immune to common fungal diseases is called “Lemon Krush.”
- The heritage “Mountain Sweet Yellow” produces enormous fruits in just 100 days.
Red watermelon versus Yellow watermelon
Crimson and yellow watermelon seeds, plants, and fruits have a similar appearance, so it’s crucial to buy properly labeled seeds or plants to avoid receiving a red surprise when you cut open your melon.
You can preserve seeds from an organic heirloom variety like “Mountain Sweet Yellow” and receive plants that grow true to type, but if you save seeds from a hybrid variety like “Yellow Doll,” you won’t get identical offspring.
Yellow Watermelon Harvest
A yellow watermelon’s ripeness can be assessed by keeping an eye out for subtle variations in the fruit and the vine. As development slows or ceases, the vine or leaves nearest to the fruit may become yellow or brown.
The fruit’s bottom may become pale or yellowish, and the rind may transform from lustrous to rough and drab. It is most certainly overripe and past the point of being fit for consumption if a watermelon’s rind has mostly turned yellow.
After being picked, watermelons typically keep for around seven days without refrigeration.
Common diseases and pests
Young plants should be checked daily for squash bugs and squash vine borers; egg masses should be removed or treated with carbaryl.
In cold or rainy conditions, fungal illnesses are more prevalent. By watering plants at the soil level rather than from above, fungus spores can be reduced.