watermelon

Hi y'all!
I'm so excited! I've got my first little round watermelon on my vine! What should I do now? I've heard that they rot when they lay on the soil so I bought some pine needles and put them under them. How long will it take for it to grow ripe enough to eat? How will I know when it is ripe enough to pick? Thanks for any help you can give me.
loony
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Depending on where you live, watch out for ants and other bugs that can bore into them and eat'm from the inside out. Mine stay on the ground and don't rot.

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snipped-for-privacy@pipeline.com (loonyhiker) wrote in message

If you have coyotes in the area they will let you know. The night before melons are ready to pick, a pack of coyotes will destroy every melon in your patch. I gave up trying to grow them for that very reason.
Bob S.
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loonyhiker wrote:

There is a wide range in times to maturity for watermelon ranging from 60 days to 100 days. The smaller ones in general mature more quickly.
The best test is sounding it. Hit the melon gently with a knuckle. A high pitched ringing noise means it's not ripe. A medium to low pitched thunk means it's ripe. A dull thud means it's a bit past peak and the inside has started to split. If your knuckle leaves a dent, you either hit it too hard or the melon has the blotch, which liquifies the inside of the melon.
Another method is to look at the leaf and tendril. Each melon has a leaf and a tendril on the vine where the melon is attached. When the tendril turns brown and dry, the melon is ripe, in theory. I've found that this works in general except for the first couple of melons. For the first couple, both the leaf and the tendril have to get dry and brown.
I consider the thunk test more accurate, but it takes some experience to recognize the right sound. Try them both and calibrate your ear.
If your area becomes particularly dry in the mid to late summer, you want to watch out for animals looking for water. They will take chunks out of the melons. My biggest problem was with crows. Monofilament fishing line strung about 3' above the melons with about 4' spacing discourages the crows. It doesn't deter rodents. You could also try supplying some water somewhere else for the animals.
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careful with pine needles.. they'll skew the ph of the soil... I would rather use straw/hay.. good luck.. all mine rotted last year due to a combo of a very rainy summer, and poor draining.....
-j

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