Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by permasculptor, Feb 7, 2008.
help! How do I tell when my water melon is ready to pick? :?
I always thought it was when the stem has dried off and no longer 'functioning'. You could try knocking on the melon to see if it sounds hollow. I'd be more sure about the stem tho. Thats how i pick pumpkins :wink:
it sounds hollow but the stem is still wet looking. :?
I turn my melons upside down and if they are the same colour underneath as the sun exposed side then they are close to being ripe, however it is not an exact method but it works most of the time.
Mellon ripeness can be a dark art.
Several ways to guess.
1. Check for a light spot on the underside of the mellon.
2. Check for two dry tendrils (not the stem). The tendrils are the little curly growths off the stem that let this plant vine by grabing onto whatever's nearby. The first tendril should be very near the fruit and the second should be just a couple inches up the vine. If both are dry, it's a good sign of ripeness.
3. Knock on the fruit listening for a low or hollow sound. This can be imprecise since the sound will depend on the size of the mellon and variety, not just ripeness.
4. Squeeze the mellon lightly (between both hands), the insides of a ripe mellon will tear rather then bend, so a faint crunchy noise can be heard (not seen). I've always found this method to be difficult.
5. The mellon should seperate easily from the vine. I usually hold the mellon in one hand, then lightly karate chop the vine. If the vine holds on then the mellon isn't ready yet.
6. On some mellons (more common with muskmellons I believe) observe the skin near the vine, a ripe mellon will have faint circular cracks or markings around the point where the vine connects.
Some of these tests are very hard to get used to unless you've got a large amount of mellons to practice with. While I was learning, I truly doubted my boss for a week or so until he consistantly proved himself.
If this is too much, #2, the dry tendril method is my fav.
Only way to be sure is to cut it open and taste.
Thank you all very much I am much better advised now , I will check all the above and make a guess later today.
Such detailed arcane knowledge
I was just going to say knock on the melon and see if it sound hollow, but I am in awe of the knowledge already presented
When I was a very impatient kid and growing watermelon I used to cut a square hole in the melon and pull a plug out.
If it wasnt quite ripe I put the plug back in to reseal it. Hazy memories here but I cant remember losing any of the melons. After that I learned how to 'knock' on a melon. I also used to scrape my initials into the watermelons as they were forming as some sort of badge of honour.
Watermelons also gave me [in the late 60s] my first lesson in hybridisation. I found a tremendous watermelon on the edge of a commercial patch and saved the seed. Next season I carefully planted some and got the most amazing vines and the most pathetic fruit. What a disappointment at the time. I had anticipated tens of watermelons 3' long weighing 25kg....oh well.
A ripe melon wants to split if you just push a knife into it. The resultant split will be longer than the knife cut.
These days I have more room, ie more plants and more patience..
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