This step by step guide with pictures shows how to save cantaloupe (rockmelon) seeds from melons you have grown in your garden.
Saving cantaloupe seeds is a great way to complete the growing cycle and save money on buying seeds for the next season. Saving seeds also allows us to choose the healthiest plants with the best tasting melons which will improve your crop from year to year.
Cantaloupes or rockmelons are planted after the threat of frost is over and the soil has warmed in the late spring. The vines spread out along the ground with the first melons ready for picking in mid to late summer. See this guide to Growing Cantaloupe (Rockmelon) for more information.
Choosing Cantaloupe Plants to Save Seeds From
First, it is best to assess the vine the cantaloupe is growing on. Look for signs of disease such as powdery mildew which turns the leaves white. Also look for yellowing or unhealthy-looking leaves.
Next check the outside of the melon for mould. This occurs when the melon is sitting on damp earth. The mould will find its way through the skin and into the melon.
Pick the melon when it is ripe. The area between the webbing around the outside will turn from green to tan and the melon will also have a sweet aroma. Taste a piece of the melon for flavor before deciding on whether to save the seeds.
Saving Cantaloupe (Rockmelon) Seeds
It is best to ferment cantaloupe seeds to separate the viable seeds from those which will not germinate. This will improve germination rates when you plant the seeds next season.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Ripe Cantaloupe (Rockmelon)
- Knife and Spoon
- Bowl and Ceramic Plate
- Airtight Container or Bag – This set of 16 vintage style 4 oz. mason jars will look beautiful in your pantry, are the perfect size for storing seeds and are highly rated on Amazon. (Paid link)
How to save cantaloupe (rockmelon) seeds for the next season.
- Scoop Out the Seeds
First cut the cantaloupe in half then scoop out the seeds and membrane into a bowl.
- Prepare the Cantaloupe Seeds for Fermenting
Next place the seeds in a jar leaving on some of the membrane. Fill the jar halfway with lukewarm or tepid water. Place on the lid then set aside to ferment.
- Stir the Seeds
Stir the seeds once a day until you see the viable seeds sink to the bottom of the jar. It should take 2 to 3 days depending on how warm the room is.
- Leave to Dry
Scoop off the seeds and membrane floating at the top of the jar then drain off the remaining water. Place the viable seeds in a single layer on a ceramic plate then leave to dry in an area with good air circulation such as near an outside door. Turn every second day until completely dry. This can take 1 to 2 weeks depending on your climate.
- Store and Label
Store the dried seeds in an airtight container or bag then seal. Label with the contents and the date the cantaloupe seeds were saved.
Do you need labels for your seeds? These dissolvable food labels can also be used in the freezer and for canning. They are top rated and come in a value roll of 500. (Paid link)
Small condiment jars are great for repurposing for seed storage. Simply wash out with warm soapy water, rinse then air dry before using to store your seeds.
Cantaloupe seeds stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place will keep for 2 years with their germination rate going down after that time.
Yes, you can however you won’t know the health of the plant the melon was grown on. Some cantaloupe varieties are more disease resistant than others. It is best to purchase the initial seeds from a reputable seed supplier then save the seeds from cantaloupes you have grown yourself.
If you are wondering what to do with the rest of your cantaloupe then try this recipe for Cantaloupe (Rockmelon) and Honey Sorbet.
For more information on growing your own food see this Vegetable Gardening guide or to get more out of your home this Homesteading guide covers everything from craft projects to preserving your own food.
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