Are these Watermelons ripe??

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)July 24, 2008

This is my first year with watermelons in my zone 5 upstate NY garden. These are photos of a Blacktail Mountain and Sugar Baby watermelon.



I started them indoors around May 1, and transplanted them outside around the 3rd week in May. They have been outside for about 60 days...and about 80 days from seed. I believe the maturity date on these early watermelons is about 85 days (from setting out), but if your experience is anything like mine, reality is usually much longer. I'm asking this ? because one of the signs of a ripe watermelon is a white bottom that turns yellow. The bottoms of these were white last week and now they're yellow. My gut tells me that they are still a few weeks away from being ripe. The skins have not roughened up, and the tendril is still green.

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks

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Oh, it's always so tough to tell, but you were smart to start them indoors early.

I would do a smell test, which works better with muskmelons than with watermelon. If it smells like watermelon it might be ready. Muskmelons give off that muskmelon-y scent when they're ready; watermelons are not so easy.

Does it look like it will detach easily from the vine? If so, there's a chance it's ready.

I can't tell which zone 5 you live in, but with generous heat (which melons love) and great soil conditions, they just might be ready a few days early. It couldn't hurt to leave them until they hit the 85-day mark, but they are looking great to me.

I am not a watermelon expert and, hopefully, those better acquainted with them may be able to be more precise in their answers.

As far as the light color where the watermelon rests on the ground, some watermelons are genetically prone to that, and some are probably like that because that area doesn't get exposed to sunlight.

Still, they've got to be close to ripe. When they are enjoy them!

All the best!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 6:47PM
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Can't see any pictures. But, there is a little curly vine right next to the melon stem. When it shrivels up and dies, the melon is usually ready to harvest. Also, turn the melon over...the belly should be a creamy, light yellow color when it is ripe. Lastly, but, least importantly, some people 'think' they can tell when a watermelon is ripe by thumping it with their finger. If it makes a hollow sound, those people say it is ripe.
Many home gardeners experience difficulty in determining when watermelons are ripe. Use a combination of the following indicators: (1) light green, curly tendrils on the stem near the point of attachment of the melon usually turn brown and dry; (2) the surface color of the fruit turns dull; (3) the skin becomes resistant to penetration by the thumbnail and is rough to the touch; and (4) the bottom of the melon (where it lies on the soil) turns from light green to a yellowish color. These indicators for choosing a ripe watermelon are much more reliable than 'thumping' the melon with a knuckle. Many watermelons do not emit the proverbial 'dull thud'when ripe. For these, the dull thud may indicate an over-ripe, mushy melon.

Please see the link to learn all you ever needed to know about watermelons.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Illinois Extension: Growing Watermelon

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 8:20PM
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