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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

  • A thoughtful, quick, and easy-to-make gift for gardeners is an herbal scrub. Use a wide-mouthed glass container and fill about 1/2 full of sea salt. Fill container with almond oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil so it covers the salt by about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Add some drops of essential herbal oil like rosemary or lavender for a relaxing scent, or use essential oils with more energizing properties like lime, grapefruit, or peppermint and seal. Tie a ribbon or raffia around the top and attach an instruction card to use the scrub in the shower after a long day in the garden.