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EFN INTRODUCTION. We are honored to be offering this diverse population of Syrian watermelons for the first time, though we're profoundly disappointed that the war in Syria itself has not abated since we started growing them years ago. Like all landraces, these Homs watermelons display a wide range of traits, and this diversity is their greatest strength. If you have never successfully grown a watermelon, try this variety. It is very forgiving. Incredibly drought tolerant, this is a great watermelon for marginal areas. Fruit range from round to oblong (with the occasional pear shape), solid green to beautifully patterned, with flesh in various shades of pink, and varying degrees of sweetness. Even the seeds vary, with some off-white and a few black, but most are off-white with a dark line around the edge. They are quite striking, and also quite delicious themselves (watermelon seeds, known as "egusi" in parts of Africa, are an incredibly nutritious and underrated food). Some of these fruit have thick rinds excellent for pickling, and many have relatively dense flesh, making them excellent for candying. As with all landraces, plant breeders could have a field day with these.
It is part of our misison to preserve and spread useful varieties from endangered communities, and no community on earth is more endangered than Homs, Syria. In the early days of the war — before it was clear that there would even be a war — Homs was considered the "Capitol of the Revolution." Today, by all accounts, it is a hellscape. The population has been decimated. In 1949, when C.O. Eyer of the Near East Foundation collected these seeds, Homs was a veritable breadbasket. We remain hopeful that it will one day return to that status — and we look forward to returning these and other Syrian seeds to the people who return to rebuild.
This seed was grown by Dusty Hinz in Canton, Minnesota.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed or transplant healthy plant starts in May or early June after things have warmed up a bit. Plants will sprawl, but they are not overbearing. Plants should be 2-3 feet apart. Be careful with plant starts, as transplanting watermelon is a bit more precarious that transplanting other things, and sometimes it does not respond well...nonetheless, it can still be successful. Direct seeding is a safe bet. Prefers full sun.