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When Is Watermelon Ripe?

Picking a ripe watermelon is not the easiest thing to learn, but there are indicators to look for.


Watermelon mature rapidly during hot weather. Most are ripe about 32 days after blooming.


Deciding when to harvest a melon is most difficult early in the season when vines are green and healthy.


Some indicators of a watermelon’s maturity are: tendrils or pigtails on vines change from green to brown, the ground spot on the belly of the melon turns from white to yellow, and the thumping sound changes from a metallic ringing when immature to a soft hollow sound when mature.


Watermelons should be handled carefully to avoid rolling, bumping or dropping and thus prevent internal bruising of the flesh.


Store watermelons at temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees F. Temperatures below 50 degrees or above 90 degrees for extended periods will increase flesh deterioration. Once the melon is cut, it can be refrigerated in wedge form or in small chunks in plastic-covered containers.


Good quality melons are usually firm, symmetrical in shape, fresh, attractive in appearance and of good color. The external rind color may vary from deep solid green to gray, depending on the variety.


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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If there is poison ivy on your property, late summer is an ideal time to treat it with a herbicide. The full-grown leaves of mature plants provide lots of surface for the spray to adhere for the maximum effect. Spray poison ivy before the plants have berries; otherwise birds will carry, drop and spread the nuisance.
    Use a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup, but be aware it will kill any plant the spray may contact. Spray on a windless day and follow all the directions on the product label carefully. Allow 10 days for signs of success. Very woody poison ivy vines may need a second spraying.