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Is My Watermelon Ripe?

by | Aug 19, 2018 | Food | 0 comments

When is Watermelon ready to pick?

Knowing when your watermelon is ripe helps you pick it at the peak of perfection. Pick it too early and it is light pink and only half as sweet. Pick too late and it is soft and  decomposing.  In Northern gardens summer is ending soon so we have to make a call….because once it is picked it stops ripening…

I am growing in a new bed in my front yard full of rich soil. It is a really hot spot. This is because the bed is brick and really holds heat. Sadly this bed is in my front yard  and that is an open invitation to deer so I have to keep them covered. See the video on YouTube HERE.

But the watermelons are growing again and I uncover the plants during the day because I want bees to visit and make more melons. Last night,  just before it was time to cover the plants, I saw a very large deer roam past. Luckily I was still outside and I covered the plants with the Agribon fabric (also called fleece) quickly.

Some people say you harvest when the melon sounds hollow. Others say it is when the white bottom turns yellow. So here is the real secret… pick the melons when the curly vine closest to the fruit turns brown. This is the for sure way to tell it is ripe. So go check your melons now. Do you see the little curled vine close to the fruit? The curly vine in the centre of this photo on this melon is still green so it is a few days from ripe but I have already picked two ripe melons this summer. One for the fall fair and one for a potluck last week. Now I am waiting. Waiting for the next one to ripen. This dark green melon is Jade Duchess. It’s a small variety and will be ready soon. I promise. The melon the kids are holding in the photo was almost 4 kg and it is another miniature variety called Flower Dragon. I guess i should have take a photo when we sliced into it! Next time.

If you are growing watermelons you want to pick them ripe. Find the closest vine and start watching then hang in there. Just a few days away!

SEPTEMBER 18 UPDATE: I picked 17 watermelons this year and in the last few weeks I pulled off the Agribon fabric so the plants would be exposed to the elements. Of course the deer came in and ate all the foliage but today, when I picked the final (sort of) watermelons there was hardly any foliage but the fruit were undamaged. This is quite a difference from before I covered them in August when the small fruit were being chomped by deer.

Flower Dragon Watermelon picked on September 18 ranged in size from 700 grams to just over 3 kg. This cut fruit is the smallest (see pen) and it is still ripe inside even though the curl was still green and the fruit was small. If it was August I would have left it longer.

In interesting factoids I picked 17 watermelons and of these 15 were the Dragon Flower variety. The Jade Duchess variety only produced 2 fruit in my front yard (I still have one sizing up in my BC greenhouse but it is small.) The last one I picked today was only 700 grams and it was bright red inside and ripe. So after a while the fruit stop getting bigger and just ripened. My first 10 watermelons were closer to 4 kg each in size and they gradually got down to 3 kg each.

 

PS Do you have questions about Gardening? Join in the conversation on my facebook live event every Monday by clicking right HERE.

DONNA BALZER IS THE BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR BC GREENHOUSE BUILDERS AND SHE LOVES GROWING IN THEM TOO!

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