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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

  • Everyone knows lawn clippings, dead leaves and vegetable scraps can be tossed on to the compost pile to ultimately become rich organic matter for enhancing garden soil. But did you know there is a long list of other materials that will enhance a compost pile? Try tossing the following organic recyclables onto the compost heap:
    • dryer lint (especially from cotton towels, sheets and clothing)
    • dog or cat fur (great for owners of golden retrievers!)
    • cereal and cracker boxes (take out the wax paper liner, rip cardboard into strips and moisten before adding to compost pile)
    • shredded newspaper
    • ground corn stalks
    • wood chips
    • sawdust
    • rinsed seaweed
    • guinea pig or hamster manure (plus natural-material bedding)
    Never compost dog or cat waste, bones, oil, grease, fat, invasive weeds, wheat with seeds or wood ashes.