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Yet Another Horticultural Ripoff: Square Watermelon Seeds

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Photo accompanying an ad for square watermelon seed.

Really, people will sell anything on the Internet!

On sites like Kijiji and Amazon, you can readily find vendors offering seeds of a truly exceptional fruit: the square watermelon. And they have photos to back them up. It’s certainly intriguing and the seeds aren’t really that expensive…

But it’s a scam, of course! No seed will give you square watermelons unless you give the fruit very special treatment… a treatment certainly not included in the seed pack!

How They’re Produced

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A mold for square watermelons.

Where then do the photos of square watermelons come from? No, they weren’t photoshopped: square watermelons really do exist! In Japan, some farms specialize in the production of molded fruit: the mold is placed on a developing fruit and as it grows, it is constrained by the walls of the mold and ends up taking its shape. In this case, a square mold is used, but there are heart-shaped molds, hourglass molds, funny face molds, etc.

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$200 watermelons on sale in Vancouver.

The production of these fruits requires a lot of manipulation and thus the fruits produced are very expensive. They occasionally make their way into North American and European supermarkets where, apparently, they sell very well, despite their exorbitant price. Obviously, some people have deep pockets!

Before getting out your credit card with the idea of regaling your friends with a truly remarkable fruit, however, be forewarned that square watermelons are not very good to eat. That’s because they have to be picked when they fill the mold completely, generally before full maturity. The result is a fruit with pale pink flesh and barely any sweetness, more designed for use as a decoration then to be served to guests.

Personally, I’d rather eat my watermelons than look at them!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Yet Another Horticultural Ripoff: Square Watermelon Seeds

  1. Pingback: Rainbow Tomatoes: Yet Another Gardening Ripoff! – Laidback Gardener

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