watermelon brix

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXAugust 10, 2012

It's been a strange watermelon year. Haven't been able to get the harvest maturity right. Many the melons have been overly mature when the tendril turned brown.

But when harvested at the right time they have been very sweet, almost too sweet, 13 to 15 brix. To me 11 isn't sweet enough, 13 is just about right, and 15 is about too much.

Star Brite has given melons up to 42 lb this year and 13-14.8 brix. Only negative has been hollow heart which doesn't bother me.

Had one Twilley's SSX 7405 seedless that was 24 lbs and 14 brix. That's the best of nine seedless so far.

Anyone else have a watermelon report?

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I grow a few varities in containers, and had a Sugar Baby, and a Cream of Saskatchewan earlier in the year that were sweet enough. Recently another CoS that split open on me wasn't sweet at all, but might not have been ripe yet. Am still waiting for another Sugar Baby, 2 more CoS's, 2 Sweet Dakota Rose, 3 Grover Delancy, and 1 Crimson Sweet. I'll have to get one of those instruments for measuring brix....sounds like a fun thing to do. Growing watermelons in containers in the Northeast is dicey at best. I'm just happy to watch them grow. If they are sweet it's a bonus.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:00AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Ed:

Containers do sound difficult for melon. And I like to watch them grow as well at least until "issues" arrive. I've had powdery mildew, aphids, spider mites, squash bugs, leaf hoppers, and leaf spot at one time or another over the last 8 years.

Getting the water and nitrogen right seems to be my key to high brix. I only water when they wilt at midday. And just enough nitrogen to keep them growing. We recently had a 4 inch rain. That washed out all my nitrogen and knocked the vines back. But I'm still hoping for a June to Oct harvest from the same plants.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:54AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Fruitnut:

Just curious what you use to measure the brix levels? I've heard about something called a brix refractometer.

I'm also growing about 6 different kinds of muskmelons this year and some of them are very sweet.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:06AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Ed:

I use a cheapo refractometer. No name on mine but it works great. It's similar to the following.

Here is a link that might be useful: refractometer

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Fruitnut,

After trying dozens of watermelon varieties all I ever grow is "strawberry". It is a very thin rind melon which has hard white seeds. I find the seeded watermelons far superior to the seedless. The melons rind will almost explode when touched with a knife when it is ripe. It is not a hybrid so the seeds can be saved and planted year to year. It produces medium size elongated melons.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:22AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Fruitnut, thanks. OK, I've also seen them on ebay. I'm ordering one today.

Talk about exploding melons! Not to hijack the thread, but couldn't resist. The photo is of the good side. The other side was in about 10 pieces.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg0812330323829.html

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:39PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

bamboo:

I hear everyone knocking seedless and I've had quite a few with excessively firm texture or other faults. But the seedless I mentioned above is as good as any watermelon I've ever eaten, but I've only eaten one so far. Star Brite is very hard to beat here. Just finished some this morning that was exceptional. The advantage of SSX 7405 over Star Brite is that the seedless has a much higher yield of really sweet flesh. Star Brite yields about 10-15% heart. Beyond the heart the seedless is sweeter and better even thought Star Brite seeds are large and few.

I do think many melons are adapted regionally not nationally.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:44PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Got my brix refractometer on Monday. What a teriffic little toy! Here's a picture of a 6 lb Grover Delancy we cracked open today. Brix is 10.4. Only 6 lbs due to being grown in a crowded container.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:29PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

ed:

Your melon looks under ripe to me. What did you think? I've decided I like the brix above 13%. The hard part for me this year has been getting the ripeness right. Brix has been my best ever.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 11:31PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Maybe a touch underripe, but not much. I've grown these several times and they have pink flesh. Last week I accidently clipped the vine it was growing on. Do watermelons continue to ripen sitting on the counter? Still have a couple more of these on the vine and will let them go for another week or so. We're supposed to have a warm sunny weather for the next 5 days which should do the job. I'm not complaining with a brix over 10 for a container watermelon grown in upstate NY. Had a Schoons Hardshell muskmelon (from the ground) with a brix over 13. Your brix #'s for watermelon are impressive. I'd like to try a watermelon with a brix of 14.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:31AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Watermelon won't get sweeter after picking. It's all downhill especially if overripe.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 10:07AM
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brookw_gw

For the year we had, my melons did pretty well overall. We sold just under a ton and a half and probably have 500 lbs to go. Once again, my favorite red was Sangria. Ali Baba was tasty too but more subject to rot. While Yellow Doll has been my favorite yellow for many years, I was really impressed w/Lemon Krush. It wasn't as prolific as the doll but was larger and sweeter. Orangeglo remains my favorite orange. I have never grown a seedless variety because of the bland store bought ones. However, I am willing to try because demand for them is great and I should be a little more open minded about them. The strangest thing about this year was that they all ripened at the same time. I certainly wasn't ready for that many melons all at once. Kleckleys and Black Diamond are all that remain.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 1:23PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Latest Crimson Sweet at just under 19 lbs.....not bad for growing it out of a recyclable fabric Aldi's grocery bag! Tested at 12.2 on my brix meter.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:59AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Ed:

That is a nice melon! Congratulations and thanks for sharing. Have you thought about a cheapo high tunnel, black ground cover, or other warming techniques? As you know heat, light, and healthy leaves are the key to high brix and big melons.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:36PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Thanks. I grew these on black fabric. I also wrapped the white fabric bag in black fabric also. Thanks to the hot summer this year, these went from seed to maturity in less than 90 days. The photo was taken last week when the plants were about shot, but they were very healthy in their prime. Not sure what's involved in a high tunnel. We really don't have much room.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:50PM
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