When to Harvest Watermelons

pierce3215(9A)June 18, 2012

Hi all,

I have several different types of watermelons growing and I need help determining when to harvest them. Among them are crimson sweet, yellow, blacktail mountain, and moon & stars watermelons. Can anyone give me some ideas or tell me if it is too soon?

Here is a link that might be useful: Watermelons Growing

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I start to pick mine when the bottoms have a good yellow spot and the tendril closest to the stem has died and dried up.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 4:07PM
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denninmi(8a)

Sorry, not touching this one with a ten foot pole. I ALWAYS get it wrong. Now, if you asked me when to harvest melons so they would be green as grass or far, far too ripe, I'm your guy.

OK, wise- answer aside, it is hard to tell, all you can do is look at the tendril near the fruit, should be brown, look at the overall sheen of the rind, should be getting a little less waxy looking, check the patch on the bottom, should be getting more yellow/creamy.

I wish they came with a view port -- that would help a lot.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 4:07PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

What Bamboo and denninmi said. I have always used this this exact method to harvest my watermelons of all kinds, and it's pretty right on. At least, it sure was back i Indiana. Plus, I start thumping them, and you can tell when the sound changes as they ripen.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 4:18PM
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pierce3215(9A)

What is the tendril, the umbilical cord that attaches to the vine??

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 4:45PM
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ltilton

In theory, it would be the tendril that holds the fruit as it climbs some support. I assume the idea was that when the seeds were ripe, the tendril would break and the melon would fall and go splat, releasing the seeds.

But watermelons are WAY too heavy for that now.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

The tendril drying can give you a false positive. Like the rest said, yellow bottom equals yummy. That is yellow, not cream, not white not tan. You can also track the date you planted to harvest on the seed pack to get you close to the time.

By the way windows 7 has a date calculator to add days to the date you plant or days between two dates. It is a wonderful tool.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 6:24PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Randy, where is the date calculator in Windows 7??

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:08PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

What Zone are you in?? Tendrils are the curley things on the vine. Blacktail Mountain should ripen first. IMO, the dried tendril, yellow bottom, and thumping all help, but all can lead to early harvest. The one suggestion I really agree with is the less waxy look, ie. duller finish, also the surface gets slightly lumpy as opposed to the super smooth waxy look. Also check the dates on the seed package, and wait longer than you think you should. Trial and error works good if you have alot of 'em. Funny, I was helped out last year when I noticed that the Amish vegetable stand was selling them.....so I assumed my two measealy melons were ripe, and they were perfect. I might check out the Amish again around here the last part of August.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:59PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The dry tendril works reliably for me. Sometimes they are over ripe but that's because I don't check often enough when I already have a dozen piled up. I almost never pick one too green using the tendril.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Edymnion(7a)

Another good indicator that, once you get used to it will let you ID a ripe melon from a dozen yards away: Dullness.

While the melon is growing and ripening, the hull will tend to be a little bit shiny. When its ripe, the hull will go dull and lose the shine. Its subtle, but it works.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:30AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

As Edymnion said. To me it looks less like dull color and more like the way a leave looks like when it gets powdery mildew..just that sort of dusted non shiny look. I just picked one a couple minutes ago.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:17AM
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pierce3215(9A)

My moon and stars actually look very dusty and the tendrils are all brown and dried up, but the bottom of the watermelon does not have the correct color and they are nowhere close to the right size yet. You can see some of the dried out tendrils in the pictures, so I don't know what happened. Like you say they, the appearance seems dusty to me unless I am confusing the term...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:20AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Several of your melons aren't properly pollinated. You can tell this by the shape. One end hasn't filled out. These melons should be removed when small.

In addition you don't have enough area or leaves to grow a proper melon. They are going to be small. No way around that when there aren't enough leaves or enough real estate for the vines to spread out.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:24AM
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