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.
email@example.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
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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