Over-ripe Watermelon - Knowledgebase Question

Nazareth, PA
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Question by mugpa
September 11, 1998
I am growing "Sugar Baby" watermelons for the first time this year. When I cut one open it has very thin rind of fruit and the seeds are held in place with a fibrous mass that is very mushy. Did I wait too long to harvest them, or is there something else?

Answer from NGA
September 11, 1998
It sounds like it got over ripe. Watermelons are very hard to judge! Some gardeners go by the sound; when thumped a ripe melon sounds a dull thud and an unripe melon rings. Other gardeners go by the color of the spot on the bottom where the melon touches the ground -- this is more reliable in my experience. When that spot turns from white to a pale buttery yellow, it should be ready. You may also see brown tendrils near the fruit and finally, the skin may begin to feel slightly ridged. As a rule of thumb, the smaller melons tend to ripen in about 80 days, compared to say 100 for some of the larger varieties.

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