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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

  • Are you looking to take your gardening enthusiasm and skills to the next level? Network with others who share your interests? Utilize your gardening talents to benefit local communities?
    If so, contact the local Cooperative Extension Service for information about the Master Gardener program in your region.
    For both professionals and gardening enthusiasts, the Master Gardener program provides invaluable training and educational opportunities. The volunteer aspect of the program helps improve and beautifying the local community.
    To find out more, check out these two websites or enter the words “Master Gardeners” to search any search engine. (Junior Master Gardener programs)