Rotting bittermelon seeds

archoo16(5b, MO)May 16, 2012

I have been trying to have a bitter melon / gourd plant. Very warm days in the mornings from 75 - 80 and nights 55-65 F. I put my seeds in moist paper towels covered over my fridge. No germination and then they rotted. Next time,I bring them inside at nights, but leave my flats out all day where they get good light. I have been misting them when the surface gets dry. I used seeds from store bought Bitter melon. I waited for 10 days and checked the seeds, by putting slight pressure on them and they were empty. As in the seed inside had rotted. One even had a maggot like worm. This whole cycle happened twice. Is it impossible to get plants from store bought bitter melons, or is my method killing them?

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No, normally it is not possible to get seeds from store bought bitter melons. The fruits are immature and hence the seeds are not fully developed. When the fruits are mature they turn red and the seeds will be ready. You'll need to either buy some seeds or get some from a friend.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:56AM
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archoo16(5b, MO)

:-( Thank you. Would my method work, putting out the seed flats in the mornings in full sun and bringing them inside at nights? Or would i kill them?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 10:44AM
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It depends on the zone you are in. I live in Atlanta (guess zone 7B and 8) and I put the seed outside in the garden first week of May and I have the plants coming up. You may not need to start the seed indoors if the temperature outside does not fall below 50F or does not have consistent freezing temperatures. Bittermelon is a very hardy plant. You should not have problems with germination unless the seed itself is very old or like you wrote from an unripe bittermelon.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:44PM
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True, just don't let them dry out.

Here's a few pics of mine.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 2:24PM
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I successfully sprouted gourd and bitter melon seeds in a sandwich bag. Soak seeds for 24-hrs in water, then wash a and wrap in paper towel wet in warm water. seal, and put in a dark warm place. under the oven. it takes about a week to sprout.

I had no luck with snake guard, so I am going to try to soak longer and remove the shell and try it that way

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 4:31PM
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They are real stubborn plants...
You might have ended up with wrong seeds.
Buy them online they are not that expensive.
I had one plant last year and it did well.
Unknown to me a melon had ripened and I pulled it out after
its seeds fell down on the ground.
Amazingly I got a surprise plant his year from that fallen seed...(thanks to the mild winter we had..)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 2:31PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

I use the paper towel and plate method to germinate my bitter melon seeds.

First I make sure that everything was sanitized first to reduce the possibility of mold. (i.e. plate from the dishwasher, clean paper towel, etc.) If I am especially concerned about mold, then I use a tiny dab of chlorine bleach in the water that I'll use for moistening the seeds.

I put a small amount of water (I use reverse osmosis purified water) into the plate and a few drops of chlorine bleach if concerned about mold. Then I put a folded paper towel onto the water. The objective is to have the paper towel be moist, but NOT dripping wet.

Then I carefully arrange my bitter melon seeds on the paper towel so they are not touching, then fold the top of the paper towel over them. Then the whole plate is covered with plastic wrap, and the plate is put on a shelf in the house out of any direct light. Temperature in the house is 76 to 78 degrees F.

After the first couple of days, the plate is checked every day for germination and to make sure that the paper towel isn't dry. It needs to be kept barely moist.

If a root is starting to emerge from a seed, that seed gets transplanted into a wide squat seed cell--the ones I use for bitter melon seeds are 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" x 2 1/2" deep. The seed cells are kept in a sheltered spot until the seedlings emerge from the potting mix and then moved outdoors to grow out.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:37PM
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