Cucumis melo subsp. melo
Origin: Kherson, Ukraine
Improvement status: Landrace
Seeds per packet: ~12
Germination tested 12/2022: 95%
Life cycle: Annual
Seeds for this landrace Ukrainian melon were collected from a farmer at the Kherson farmer's market in southern Ukraine in August, 1982, by two researchers from the USDA and Utah State University (Drs. Kay H. Asay and Melvin D. Rumbaugh). The fruit they collected seeds from was 15 centimeters wide with a smooth yellow rind and white flesh. The noted it was similar to a cantaloupe. Subsequent generations have demonstrated much more variability, a testament to its status as a landrace. We got seeds from the USDA during the winter of 2021-2022, and they were grown out for us by our friend Lina Bird of Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance in Davidsonville, Maryland. She found some fruit with orange flesh (see photo), and different sizes and shapes.
Kherson was the only major city taken by Russia during their invasion of Ukraine in March 2022. Russian withdrawal in the face of Ukrainian resistance in early November marked a major turning point in the war. Kherson is a large port city and shipbuilding center located on the Dnipro River near its delta, where it empties into the Dnipro Estuary and in turn the Black Sea.
We look forward to being able to return these seeds and others to growers in Kherson during a time of peace. Your purchase of these seeds supports our ongoing work conserving seeds from Ukraine and other threatened farming communities.