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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Watermelon Help! Toplef10Watermelon Help! 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Watermelon Help! I22gcj10Watermelon Help! 14dhcg10

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Watermelon Help!

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Odd Duck
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ander217
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Jay Bird
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Watermelon Help! Empty Watermelon Help!

Post  Jay Bird 7/6/2010, 10:42 am

Help , I have planted Sugar Baby Melons and last night I picked the largest of 20 or so. It was way overripe.
I then picked another one and it was not yet ripe .
Now the question is when do you pick, some say when the stem is dried up! THE OVERRIPE MELON STEM WAS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO DRYING UP. Others say when the melon is yellow on bottom! Well that dosent work if the melons are hanging on a trellis. I tried the thumping method but I cant tell any difference.

Whats a sure fire method of knowing when to pick???
Jay Bird
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Post  dixie 7/6/2010, 7:13 pm

Those are the only ways I've ever heard to do it. Did you support your melons in any way on the trellis?
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Post  ander217 7/7/2010, 8:29 am

Here is a great article with several indicators, including my favorite which is checking to see if the tendril nearest the watermelon stem has dried up. Others include sniffing the aroma, squeezing for "give", checking to see if the bands have broken up on the blossom end, and feeling to see if ribs have developed. There are several others. The article also says that all cultivars are different and experience is the best teacher.

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/cornucop/2002071935010165.html
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Post  silverbug 7/7/2010, 8:32 am

I dunno...thumping is the way I do it. You need someone to show you how to thump it and hear the subtle difference between one that is perfect and the one that needs a little more time.
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Post  Jay Bird 7/7/2010, 9:14 am

Thanks for the input and that web link was great, I believe that,,, one since the melons are trellised and,,, two since we have had so much rain that the drying up of the tendril is not the way to go for mine , I cant check for yellow on the bottoms since the majority of them are hanging,,
So I will continue to thump or get LW to do it ,, we dont mind to much if they are under ripe since we only grow them for the rinds to make watermelon pickles, the chickens get the majority of the meat. We just carve out the heart! Our general meals consist of the canteloupes not the watermelon.

The trellis basket is deer fence / netting it is very light weight and strong and we secure the net with tye wraps so far working great, the big melon in the photo was hanging about two feet up the trellis.
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Post  milaneyjane 7/7/2010, 11:20 am

Shocked The chickens get the majority of the meat! Have you ever frozen the inside of the melon for watermelon beverages? Num!
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Post  kimbertangleknot 7/7/2010, 12:49 pm

The only way we check to see if melons are ripe is by picking them up and seeing how much they weigh for their size. It's not a technical approach but it works for watermelon, cantaloupes, honeydew, and even pineapple. Rule of thumb pretty much is, if you pick it up and it seems heavy for it's size, it should be juicy, sweet, and great to eat. If you pick it and it seems light or right at what it should weigh, it's not ready yet.

I know it seems weird, but that's the method we've been using for the past 4 years and we've yet to be led astray by it.
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Post  Odd Duck 7/12/2010, 1:31 pm

I saw years ago on a gardening show that you compare the thump to thumping on your chest/breast bone and on your belly when you hold the muscles in just a little bit. The chest thump is unripe and the belly thump is ripe.

I have used this for large melons from the store before, but I have NOT grown enough watermelons to know if this works on all varieties. My mini-melons are just now getting close, so I hope I'll know in the next week or so if this also works on minis.
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Post  quiltbea 7/12/2010, 1:43 pm

Thanks for the input everyone. I've never grown watermelon before and I've got some lovely Sugar Baby plants looking very healthy, but no blossoms yet here in Maine.
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Post  The Cat's Other Mother 7/12/2010, 9:32 pm

I also use the 'tummy thump' method on melons. Next time you are in the grocery, test a dozen or so and you'll get the feel of it.
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Post  Chopper 7/13/2010, 12:51 am

Odd Duck wrote:I saw years ago on a gardening show that you compare the thump to thumping on your chest/breast bone and on your belly when you hold the muscles in just a little bit. The chest thump is unripe and the belly thump is ripe.

I guess it depends on the shape of your belly! LOL
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Post  Odd Duck 7/19/2010, 1:17 pm

Chopper wrote:
I guess it depends on the shape of your belly! LOL

I don't know, I've only tried it on mine and when I was sure no one was looking! Watermelon Help! Icon_biggrin Watermelon Help! Icon_jokercolor Watermelon Help! Icon_redface
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Post  Megan 7/19/2010, 6:45 pm

ander217 wrote:Here is a great article with several indicators, including my favorite which is checking to see if the tendril nearest the watermelon stem has dried up. Others include sniffing the aroma, squeezing for "give", checking to see if the bands have broken up on the blossom end, and feeling to see if ribs have developed. There are several others. The article also says that all cultivars are different and experience is the best teacher.

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/cornucop/2002071935010165.html

On that website, I saw this:

1. When harvesting, make sure that the melon is cut from the vine instead of pulled. Pulling creates a cracking wound that pathogens can enter and quickly destroy the quality of the fruit, not to mention ruining the appearance of the fruit. Leave the stems on the melon for as long as possible, and treat for stem end rot after picking.

When they say "treat for stem end rot after picking"... are you treating the stem on the fruit you just picked, or the cut stem on the plant? And what do you do??
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