Watermelon Harvest

nickrosesnSeptember 23, 2013

The largest watermelon seems ready to be harvested. The tendril is all dry and the watermelon sounds hollow but the bottom is still white. Should I wait until the bottom is yellow? It is a crimson sweet.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

On mine a dry tendril indicates ripe or over ripe, seldom under ripe.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:59AM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Run your hand over the rind. If it's lumpy, it's ripe. I read that on one of the forum threads here.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:12AM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

deleted duplicate post...

This post was edited by susanzone5 on Wed, Sep 25, 13 at 18:16

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:13AM
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ltilton

I've always gone by the ground spot, just to confuse things.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:18PM
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ristau5741(6)

I'm waiting on mine too, thumping, tendril, yellow spot on bottom,
hummm, also there one about looking at the green streaks across the watermellon, they get less defined and more blurry as the melon ripens.

the VG FAQ has a list of about a dozen ways to tell your watermellon may be ripe.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:31PM
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rayrose(8)

Watermelons can have all of the previously mentioned signs of ripeness, but the only way to find out is to cut it open. There always has to be the first sacrificial lamb, and when it isn't ripe, it's a real bummer, but at least you'll know how to judge the remaining melons.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:56AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

In really warm weather with healthy plants and large fruits, the progression of brown tendril to dull surface to cream color on the ground goes smoothly. In cooler weather, smaller fruits, and certain varieties, things can progress more slowly.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 11:16AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

watermelon sounds hollow but the bottom is still white. ..
****************************

That is fine and normal. The bottom is white because it does bot get light.

ripe water melon can be kept for weeks, if not months. need a cool place. so you don't have to eat all of them fast.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:21PM
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nickrosesn

@Seysonn- What do you mean by "It does bot get light"

Does it do any harm if I keep the watermelon on the vine until the bottom turns yellow? What happens if it is too ripe?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 3:30PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Sorry. Typo;
I meant to say, the bottom is white b,c it does NOT get light.

Keeping them on the vine, if the stem is browned and woody or the vine is dead, does not serve any purpose.

The bottom may change color if exposed to light but I don,t think it has any bearing in terms taste, ripening etc.

If the ripe w/melon is kept too long, it will start getting more hollow and eventually will get mushy and sour.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 3:07AM
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ltilton

The bottom isn't green because it doesn't get light. But it turns from white to yellow when ripe. A white ground spot means an unripe melon.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 1:45PM
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ristau5741(6)

> If the ripe w/melon is kept too long, it will start getting more
> hollow and eventually will get mushy and sour.

if the watermelon is kept on the vine too long, it will crack open,
the interior will be accessible to insects, and the melons will
be over ripe. I've ruined more than a few over the years waiting
too long.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 2:23PM
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nickrosesn

Does this look like a yellow color for a ripe watermelon.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 8:47PM
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gardener_sandy

I grew Shiny Boy this year and cut one with all the signs except the yellow bottom. It was my "sacrificial" melon and was far from ripe. I waited until the bottoms got a pretty yellow and the rest were bright red almost to the rind and delicious. Thumping doesn't work for my old ears anymore. They all sound the same.

Sandy

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 8:50PM
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ltilton

I'd call that white.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 9:42AM
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gardener_sandy

That's not yellow yet. I'd wait awhile on it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:55AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Obviously, if you lay it on its side, the bottom will get more color which has no bearing on the ripeness. Suppose that a small watermelon(sugar baby) was trellised and fruits were hanging, How would you tell if the fruit is ripe or not ?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:29PM
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ltilton

It would be harder, that's how, without a ground spot. I've grown small watermelons trellised and they're green all over. Makes it more of a crapshoot to tell when they're ripe.

And rotating the melon around off the ground spot will also make it harder to judge ripeness.

It's tricky enough as it is, without going into denial about one of the more reliable signs of ripeness.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:27AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Mine looked about like that when it is ripe. The tendril was green. It was sweet but the flesh wasn't a dark red like I expected. It thumped hollow. I have only grown them twice. If you have alot of melons I would pick one and see if it was ripe. IMO.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:41AM
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nickrosesn

Well I just harvest the largest on and it weighs in at 18lbs. Not bad for my first try at watermelons. I still have 3 left that are baby size. I found a picture of my grandmother with her first grown watermelon from 1944.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 4:17PM
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ltilton

Sure looks ripe!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 5:16PM
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ristau5741(6)

I've been having issues with the stems turning brown and dying off, been pulling them out of the patch, some have been ripe, other have not. once the stem turns brown I don't think it will ripen any more. I could be wrong though. it's not a good indicator of ripeness. frost should be here soon, I guess I'm screwed on the rest of the watermelons in the patch. Thankfully there are only a few left.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:19PM
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mtroyal

You should use days to maturity and remember that number over the years. Most of my main crop watermelons will be ripe 42 days after the melon sets on. Some varieties ripen sooner (Tiger Baby 31 days after setting on and Sweet Favorite 35 days after setting on-in my garden). Sweet corn will be ripe 18 to 21 days after pollination, for example. Ripe watermelons will have a yellowish, orange bottom, if the bottom is not green. The shell will be harder, etc. But the days to maturity is probably the best indicator if you remember to mark them when they start to enlarge and harvest them 42 days later or whatever you find is the number of days to maturity for that variety in your area.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 2:21PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I harvested a volunteer watermelon on Nov. 7th. That easily is a record here for lateness by nearly a month. I kept it to 1 fruit due to circumstances. I just finished eating it and though small, it was a nice little treat. It was gold and looked like a Gold Strike ...which variety I did not raise this year.

I was faithful to ltilton;s warning to let the bottom get yellow and this worked out just right.

This post was edited by wayne_5 on Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 16:01

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 3:57PM
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