When Watermelons Are Ready to Pick
Lester C. Fretz
I guess I’m a bit old fashion. I still like to grow extra sweet tasting, deep red watermelons with seeds. To me they’re tastier than the seedless, easy to grow and can be picked at the optimum time provided you know when that is!
Watermelon varieties have varying sizes and days to maturity. To get delicious, ripe melons by midsummer, I like to germinate the seed indoors in late April. By placing a wood stake in the garden beside each plant, it’s easy to direct the watering so it gets precisely to the roots where it’s needed. Of course, regular feeding with a high phosphorous fertilizer promotes blossoming and fruiting.
There are numerous ideas to determine when the melon is ready to pick. Here’s just a half dozen:
1. If it’s heavy, it contains a lot of water.
2. The surface goes from shiny to dull
3. The underside turns yellow
4. When you press on it, if it gives a little, it’s ripe
5. The ends fill out and become blunt
6. The “thump” test: a ping sound: not ripe; thud: over ripe, hollow: ripe
These are just a few indicators, however the best way to know the ideal time for sweetness and redness is to watch the vine leading into the end of the melon. When it dries and turns brown, pick it!
Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours and enjoy a real melon with a fantastic taste.