The Q&A Archives: Watermelon Ripeness

Questioner's Location: Norwalk, CA
Date: October 28, 1999

Question: I planted one watermelon plant this summer and now I have about 5 watermelon but I was wondering when do I know when to pick it? I have my watermelon in the front flowerbed and someone stole the biggest watermelon I had, but I don't know if it was ripe or not. Thank you for your help!

Answer: Congratulations on your first watermelons! There are a few different clues that indicate ripeness, but these vary among the different cultivars. Some are ready when a good thump results in a dull sound. If thumping produces a higher pitch, it's unripe. A dull sound can also mean that it's overripe, so you may need to experiment. I know it's hard to experiment with something as precious as home-grown melon, but what you learn will make future harvests that much sweeter. Some varieties are ripe when the stiff, curly tendril on the vine where the melon stem attaches has turned brown, and others when the pale bottom of the fruit is golden or deep yellow (as opposed to straw colored). Hope this helps!

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