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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

  • The easiest and best place to store excess turnips, parsnips, leeks, onions, carrots and similar root crops is in the garden. They actually become sweeter and tastier after a frost.
    Before the ground freezes, cover the beds with a thick layer of straw or chopped leaves to insulate the soil and keep its temperature even. A sheet of plastic will keep the mulch in place.
    To harvest root crops, simply roll back the plastic, push aside the leaves/straw, and lift the roots from the soil with a spading fork. Replace the covering to keep your "root cellar" insulated all winter. With this method, you could be harvesting sweet carrots and parsnips in January, even if there's snow on the ground!