Growing Bradford Watermelons

I am super excited this year because I am going to try to grow watermelons this summer.  Not just any watermelons…Bradford watermelons.

So, what’s the big deal with Bradford Watermelons?

These are supposedly the sweetest watermelons available on the market today. Their Brix is over 12. Their sweetness is one reason this type of watermelon fell into disfavor with growers and disappeared from the marketplace for almost 100 years.

The watermelons were so sweet that they couldn’t be shipped very far before they began to rot. Hardier watermelons with thicker skins were developed just for distribution and the Bradford watermelon faded from public memory.

So, their sweetness attracted me but I think the reason these watermelons are so special is the back story about their revival.  I love the farm, and the way the great, great, great, great, great, great grandson (also named Nat) took up the mantle and brought this legacy watermelon back to life. (Or it could be the watermelon brandy that Bradford is now selling!)

In any case, I going to try growing a few but a couple of things make this new venture a bit tricky for me.

  1. Taste: I tried raising cantaloupe one year. I successfully grew beautiful plants were covered with large melons…that tasted like dirt! No joke, they were virtually inedible. So, I’m thinking perhaps my soil is not suited to raising melons.
  2. Real estate: watermelon like room to grow. They need real estate. I have room in the backyard but I also have a husband who is not all that thrilled by all the new holes I put in the ground every spring and summer.
  3. The seeds come with fairly long, very detailed planting instructions. I never read instructions. Perhaps I should…

I am going to direct sow these seeds – I got 10 for $10 and gave half away – in late May and will provide updates and pictures – good, bad or ugly – as my watermelon adventure gets off the ground!


4 responses to “Growing Bradford Watermelons

  1. do you have an update on your bradford watermelon crop?

    • Sadly, not one of the seeds germinated for me. I have trouble getting cantaloupe to grow in my ground so it may just be a soil issue. Really, really wanted to grow them but now I figure I’ll just have to meander down to South Carolina and buy some watermelon and some liqueur. If you grow them, can you let me know what happens?

  2. Robert Geter

    I am trying the Bradford watermelon this year(2021). I did read the growing instructions and I am getting some good results early. remember that the plants are very sensitive so try to keep things from young plants. Hopefully I get a few melons.

    • Brave and I hope, very successful. Clearly the Bradford Watermelon didn’t like my turf…or my weather. It’s a hard lesson to learn what you cannot grow…but it also brings a bit of peace. Try it. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, move on….Good luck Robert! I really hope your babies are happy and healthy.

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