Seed Saving: expert
Navajo Winter Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)
Navajo Winter Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus): in Italy, "winter watermelon" is sometimes understood as the Cedrine Pumpkin (Cucurbita citrullus), due to its conservation qualities, not the cultivation period, in this case this is a real watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), the most resistant to low temperatures out of the species. In fact, it is possible - in almost all Italian regions- to make two harvests a year, also for its particular precocity. It is also suitable for cultivation at altitude, where growing other watermelons is very difficult without the help of a greenhouse.
It is also particularly tolerant to situations of water stress (periods of non-irrigation) and to the common phytopathologies of watermelons. Its thick skin allows a long shelf life, inside, its pink pulp is sweet and crispy. The plant is not too vigorous and not too demanding for soil.
Native Americans of Abruzzo.
In 2017, a passionate grower contacted us saying he had recognised the watermelon that his family had cultivated until the 1960s in the vicinity of Opi, in Abruzzo, at an altitude of about 1,000 meters. The family was the only one who could grow watermelons at the prohibitive temperatures of the mountain, he told us how in his memories they were not very sweet (probably due to the weather and soil conditions) but this wonder was definitely his grandmother's pride. From this episode we began a research that led us to identify there was a contamination, probably in the early 1900s, between the territory of the Natives in the Southeast of the United States, to an area between Lazio and Abruzzo.
Furthermore, in addition to the Navajo watermelon, two types of beans have been reported, a Vulgaris and a Coccineus, the latter still in cultivation: it will also allow us a genetic comparison with the samples requested from an association of Native Americans, or rather Amerindian natives, that should shortly be available and which we plan to have analysed by Christmas.