How do I know when watermelons are ripe?

Watermelon    South Carolina

I'm growing sugar baby watermelons for the first time this year and I would like to know how I can tell they are ready to pick? The melons are about 4" or so across but I thought that the tendrils were meant to die back? Does this mean they aren't ready yet?

Posted by: Simon (2 points) Simon
Posted: August 12, 2013


Yes, the tendril should be dry. (The exception is if the tendril was damaged and dried up, it can give a “false reading”.) Gently turn the melon and look at the spot on the bottom NOW, if it’s white, it is confirming the green tendril that the fruit isn’t ripe yet (put it back how you found it). Dry tendril and the ground spot turned to yellow are the best guarantees if you’re not familiar with this melon, or new to growing melons. Growing the same melon for several years will educate you in how it grows – nothing beats experience! Don’t depend on “melon thumping” for ripeness until you’ve had considerable experience, it’s tricky.

If you live in a cooler climate (like me in W. WA, a poor melon-growing area), it can take much longer for plants to grow and ripen -- for some vegetables and fruits, as much as 50% longer.

Posted by: FussyOldHen (16 points) FussyOldHen
Posted: August 12, 2013

In addition to looking for dead tendrils, check that the bottom of the fruit resting on the soil is yellowish in color.

Posted by: Joan Allen (4 points) Joan Allen
Posted: August 12, 2013

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