The Q&A Archives: Testing Watermelon Ripeness

Question: This is our first year to grow watermelons. We planted "Bush Sugar Baby". How will we know when they are ripe to pick?

Answer: There are different ways to determine the ripeness of different varieties of watermelons. I belive the best method is to look for a "mellow yellow belly" - the spot where the fruit touches the ground should be a buttery yellow, not gold. You can use these other signs to help you pinpoint ripeness: there's the "thump" method - if rapping on the melon produces a sharp sound, it's still hard, not ripe inside. A duller thump means it's softening, getting closer to ripe. A really dull dead sound means it's probably overripe. The other clue is the little tendril on the stem closest to the fruit. It looks like a tiny curly pig-tail. When that browns, it signals (in some varieties), true ripeness. Enjoy!

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