For watermelon ripeness, gardeners can look for some signs
If you’ve grown your first watermelons ever, you may wonder when the fruit becomes
ripe. In looking at the melons, they appear large and green with beautiful stripes
and look ripe, but they haven’t been there the full 72-80 days the variety seed packet
lists for the growing time.
Do you pick the melons or do you wait the full growing schedule?
Several indicators on the melons and vines should be checked first to determine ripeness.
“Not all varieties will exhibit each trait, though some will,” writes Tony Bratsch,
Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist with the Virginia Tech Department of Horticulture,
in the article “Notes on Harvesting and Handling Melons.”
Some of the indicators include a color change of the spot where the watermelon rests
on the ground. Bratsch writes that this particular spot will change from “green/white
to creamish or a slight or even bright yellow” color.
Also, the color and tone of the watermelon skin starts to shine.
Another sign the watermelon has ripened occurs with the tendril, which becomes dry
when the melon is ready.
“Familiarity as to ideal harvest condition with a given variety will take some practice,”
So if your watermelons have the ripened indicators, Bratsch suggest cutting the vine,
instead of pulling or breaking it from the watermelon.
And if you’re new to growing watermelons but don’t see any of the indicators, cutting
one or two and slicing them may be the best way to learn when the particular variety
Some watermelon varieties have a bright yellow spot on the underside when they ripen.