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Image Number K7241-7

There was a time, a half century ago, when a good watermelon was rarely found in a grocery. Melon lovers had to grow their own, which, sadly, wouldn't keep for long.

Then, in the 1940's, along came a USDA plant breeder who set out to bring us a better watermelon. The result was "that gray melon from Charleston," formally called the Charleston Gray. Its oblong shape and hard rind made it easy to stack and ship. Its adaptability meant it could be grown over a wide geographical area. It produced high yields and was resistant to the most serious watermelon diseases, anthracnose and fusarium wilt. Best of all, it tasted terrific! Today, there is hardly a watermelon variety grown that doesn't have a little Charleston Gray in its lineage.

Photo by Scott Bauer.

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