Square Watermelons Corner the Market

At this point, we’re pretty used to strange and wondrous things coming out of Japan. Somehow, the island nation always seems to surprise the rest of the world with an inventiveness mixed with offbeat charm that both impresses and delights. This summer is no different, because Japan just announced their largest ever crop of square watermelons! Yes, perfectly natural, non-GMO, cube shaped melons ripe for eating!

But, how? And… why? Both answers are so surprisingly simple that it’s shocking no one has thought of them before. It turns out that square watermelons are much easier to store and cut! DUH! In a crowded nation like Japan where people often have to adjust to less space, any way they can cut corners (if you’ll forgive the pun) in the storage department is good news. Plus, we’ve all tried to cut a watermelon only to have it roll dangerously at the last second. Imagine being able to set it down and KNOW that it’s not going anywhere!

But how exactly did they get fruit to grow that way in the first place? Why, put the seedling in a box, of course! Fruits (and melons in particular) are surprisingly durable, and they’ll grow around whatever barriers they can as long as they get the proper nutrients. In this case, Japanese watermelon farmers put the buds inside a firm mold (a box that won’t break) and as the watermelons matured, they grew to the sides and then upwards for a nice, easy-to-handle square shape! In this way, it’s not unlike the art of bonsai, another Japanese plant cultivation where trees are grown in containers and are trained to stay small. This melon trick is a lot easier to pull off in your own garden, however – check it out here and let us know the results!