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When to pick my watermelons?

MrsJonesey Jul 16, 2013 05:43 PM

I'm growing the personal size watermelons for the first time. Well, this is my first time growing any watermelons. I have 2 gorgeous green orbs of the proper size. One has a brilliant yellow spot on the bottom, a couple splits on the stem though it is barely starting to look dry. The closest tendril shows no browning whatsoever. The other one has a white spot on the bottom, stem has no splits or browning though the nearest tendril is drying. I can't tell by knocking on them. I don't want to ruin them by picking too early. Help!

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  1. junescook RE: MrsJonesey Jul 16, 2013 06:41 PM

    In master gardening small fruit class we were told that you could tell that a watermelon was ripe by seeing the yellow spot on the bottom. It is also the way to find a ripe melon at the market.

    3 Replies
    1. re: junescook
      MrsJonesey RE: junescook Jul 17, 2013 07:00 AM

      Welllll, unless there is such a thing as a white watermelon, the yellow spot (even with a couple of splits in the stem) is not a reliable indicator of ripeness. Darn. Darn. Darn.

      1. re: MrsJonesey
        pinehurst RE: MrsJonesey Jul 17, 2013 07:09 AM

        Actually Mrs Jonesey, there are white fleshed watermelons, but I don't know if that's the variety of seed you bought? they're pretty rare so prob not. Dagnabbit.

        Rather than seeking the yellow spot, look to see if the rind in general has turned from dark green to paler green. See if this works.

        1. re: pinehurst
          MrsJonesey RE: pinehurst Jul 17, 2013 05:17 PM

          You know there was not a hint of red or pink, so I bet it is a white-fleshed watermelon. I even tasted it, and while not delicious by any means, it wasn't any worse than some of the not-so-great ones I've bought. I bought plants and the tag definitely had a picture of red flesh. I will look for the rind to turn a paler green, as you suggested, but I have a feeling that won't happen. These start out a pale green and seem to get darker the larger they get. Thanks for commisserating with me. :-)

    2. q
      Quince RE: MrsJonesey Oct 1, 2013 04:25 PM

      I grew watermelons one year, two different varieties, one red fleshed and one orange fleshed. I too thought that if you saw the yellow spot it indicated ripeness, and cut open at least two watermelons that were white all the way through, like yours. The yellow spot trick works well at the supermarket but not in the garden.

      My goal was to get one ripe watermelon of each variety. Perhaps monitoring the tendrils would have worked better, but I just ended up waiting a week or two after I had the urge to pick it. I did manage to get one ripe melon of each variety, and I highly recommend the Orangeglo cultivar...really delicious.

      With limited garden space, I decided not to try again after that. If I grew them in the future I would try keeping track of the date of fruit set to get a better handle on when to pick them.

      I guess I mostly wanted to say I feel your pain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Quince
        MrsJonesey RE: Quince Oct 1, 2013 05:38 PM

        I really appreciate your input. I ended up with 2 edible watermelons, out of maybe 8-10. These were Sugar Babies. The taste was okay, not great, but I have never had a watermelon with more seeds. I literally couldn't bite down at all without hitting a seed. So no more Sugar Babies for me. I've never heard of the Orangeglo. Will keep an eye out for them.

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