Watermelons are ripe!

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Shule
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Watermelons are ripe!

#1

Post: # 27673Unread post Shule
Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:29 pm

So, I checked my watermelons, today, and every one I checked is ripe. I'll have to harvest more tomorrow, but here are the four I picked this evening.

The darker green one is from seeds I saved of Santo Domingo Dark Green (it's smaller than last year, and given the stripes, it's probably a cross). The others pictured are all from the same planting spot (which contains three plants), and are from my 18lb Weeks NC Giant cross from last year. They look very different with their light rinds and prominent stripes! They probably crossed again.

Anyway, I'm craving watermelon. So, they're just in time. They're not big, but they're bigger than the picture makes them look.
IMG_20200807_212324.jpg
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Location: SW Idaho, USA
Climate: BSk
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Shule
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#2

Post: # 27674Unread post Shule
Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:34 pm

I cut one open (the largest one, which is the one in the back/top in the previous picture). Blackish mottled seeds and pink flesh. It smells really good.
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#3

Post: # 27676Unread post Shule
Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:54 pm

I just ate half of it. It tasted pretty good. I think King Winter is probably in its ancestry, by the taste. King Winter tastes like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. This doesn't, quite, but it has some similar taste.

Edit: I ate the rind of that half, too (I do that sometimes), except the portion around the stem. I figured it's extra nutrition; I don't want to let the minerals I put in that soil in 2018 go to waste. As far as the taste of watermelon rinds go, it was pretty good. Not much to remark on other than it was sweeter than expected, and had an unusual metalic aftertaste (which reminds me of our soil, which I have tasted in before, whether or not on purpose), followed by a mild sugar cookie aftersmell (that's what I call an aroma you can smell in your own mouth/nose/throat after you eat something).
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#4

Post: # 27708Unread post ddsack
Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:04 pm

Nice looking melons, @Shule they look like good shorter season candidates. And a good size for a couple of persons to enjoy. Not much room in the fridge these summer days for one big melon! No watermelons ripe for me yet, but there is one Halona muskmellon I have my eye on.

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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#5

Post: # 27710Unread post Growing Coastal
Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:12 pm

They look delicious!

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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#6

Post: # 27734Unread post Shule
Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:43 pm

Here's the one from last year's Santo Domingo Dark Green. It smelled good, and tasted decent (the taste improved as I ate more of it). It has pink flesh and black seeds. Pink flesh and black seeds is my ideal, by the way! (The taste is good, but it's not my ideal, however. Ledmon, Tom Watson, refrigerated Santo Domingo Winter, and Navajo Red are my favorites for taste).
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#7

Post: # 27772Unread post Nan6b
Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:24 pm

Shule, how do you know when a watermelon is ripe?

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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#8

Post: # 27789Unread post worth1
Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:20 pm

Nan6b wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:24 pm Shule, how do you know when a watermelon is ripe?
Don't know about anyone else but for me it is when the tendrils next to the melon are dead.
Musk melon and cantaloupe is when the stem pops off the melon.
Something you never ever see in a store.
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#9

Post: # 27898Unread post Shule
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:36 pm

[mention]Nan6b[/mention]
Like Worth said, when the tendril closest to the watermelon fruit shrivels up, that's when I usually like to pick it. It works maybe about 98% of the time for me (although they seem to be overripe about 10 to 17% of the time, by this method). Before I knew about checking tendrils, I would check the color of the underside of the watermelon and knock on the watermelon. The deeper the sound, the more likely it is to be ripe. Ripe ones tend to be yellow underneath, too. Sometimes the rind might give you the impression of being thinner, too.

If there is no tendril in the spot where the closest tendril should be, check the next tendril (if it's shriveled up, it should be ripe, too, although it may be a little bit riper).

The tendril method works with muskmelons, too, and it's just as reliable as with watermelons, in my experience. Slipping when ripe is a genetic trait that only some melons have. I've heard people say only cantaloupes slip when ripe and honeydews don't, but the truth is, some of each do and some don't. It's just a trait that can be bred into or out of any type of melon. It's easier to support melons that don't slip, since the fruits don't fall to the ground when ripe. Some melons only slip about half way (the stem gets loose, but it doesn't detach unless you pull on it). The ones that don't slip keep longer, in my experience.

Also, you can tell many ripe muskmelons by their smell. If you walk out into the garden and smell a ripe musknelon, you know it's ripe. They usually change color slightly, too (but not usually full-on yellow or orange like Ginger's Pride does for me). Not all varieties of muskmelon have a fragrance when ripe, but a lot of them will.

Watermelons don't usually have a fragrance when ripe. I think I maybe smelled a fragrance on one ripe watermelon once, but it wasn't nearly as strong as that of ripe muskmelons with fragrance.

You can get watermelons with rinds that turn yellow when ripe. I've never grown them, but they sound great.

Ginger's Pride melon turns orange like a pumpkin for me when it's ripe (some people might call that overripe, but it's still delicious, if juicy).

Some muskmelons and watermelons split wide open when they're ripe. Don't hesitate to harvest them right away if that happens. I've only had it happen with a few watermelons (such as Ledmon, the first year I grew it); it's more common in muskmelons (Torpeda seems pretty prone to it in my garden, Healy's Pride x Ginger's Pride F1 did it last year; just to name a couple examples).

Some watermelons won't split on the vine, but if you tap them, they'll split. Others won't, but if you hardly stick a knife in them, they'll split wide open.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#10

Post: # 27901Unread post Shule
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:47 pm

If you have trouble getting watermelons to ripen, either try growing different kinds, or use something like black plastic to warm the soil (they ripen more reliably with black plastic, I've found, and it gives you a somewhat longer season to grow them, too). This might affect the fruit size for some kinds, though, if your soil is like mine.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#11

Post: # 28050Unread post Shule
Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:56 am

I just ate about half of the one on the left in the picture (one of the Weeks NC Giant crosses). Here's a picture of the other piece of it, albeit wrapped in the refrigerator. Anyway, the taste of this one was really good (my favorite for taste so far). It also has black seeds and pink flesh. It has the harder skin of a winter watermelon (the other one was kind of normal in that regard). I didn't detect as much aroma for this one as the first. I'm guessing this isn't from the same plant as the first fruit. I'm guessing by the taste that King Winter is also in its ancestry.
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#12

Post: # 28057Unread post karstopography
Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:13 am

Very nice! I wanted to grow watermelons this year, but the soil in my new bed, put in in March, was off ( evidently far too alkaline) so the melon plants really didn’t grow and sulked along until I gave up on them. I’ve since apparently fixed the soil in that new bed, Okra and cowpeas are loving it, with a big dose of sulfur so maybe next year I will grow my own watermelons and cantaloupes. The right soil and fertilizer seems pretty critical to growing good melons. Tomatoes and some other crops seem to produce at least something in not so ideal soil and fertility, but I don’t see that being so true for something like watermelons or cantaloupe.

We get fantastically sweet and nice textured watermelons (still have to pick out a good one) here, but they are all sort of uniform in flavor. Be nice to grow some with a different flavor profile just for a variety. Seems like the stores here have whitled it down to a 10-12 pound seedless and a little bigger seeded type.
Zone 9a/b, right on the line, in the heart of the Columbia bottomlands. Heat zone 9, Sunset Zone 28, annual rainfall 52”

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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#13

Post: # 28212Unread post Shule
Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:50 am

Here's the last of the four (one of the Weeks NC Giant cross fruits). Time to pick some more watermelon. :)

This one had a winter watermelon sort of skin on the rind, but not quite as firm of a skin as the previous one. No scent to speak of. Taste was decent, but I didn't detect a significant amount of the King Winter type taste in there. Black seeds and pink flesh, as with the others.
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#14

Post: # 30280Unread post Shule
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:47 pm

Here's a King Winter cross that I harvested, today. Last year, I grew a King winter from the original packet, and this fruit came from a plant from the second largest fruit of last year's plant. I'm guessing by the fruit size, prominent ribs, striping, and uneven surface that one of my Weeks NC Giant crosses cross-pollinated it last year.

The taste is very good, but not very sweet (it's a taste that doesn't need a lot of sugar, though); it had eastern shade from a tall fence (so, it probably has the genetics to be a lot sweeter in full sun). It tastes a lot like the original King Winter. The flesh isn't dense. The rind has a lot of juice in it that you can scrape out. The rind isn't like a full winter watermelon rind, but is partially like one. The seeds are medium-sized and black.

Edit: The taste review was for the first half of the fruit that I ate. I ate half of the other half, and that was a whole lot sweeter, but otherwise the same. I was surprised the sugar was different between the sides, as I cut it lengthwise (stem end to blossom end).

I love how there's no mite damage on the rind.

Of the fruits I got this year, for next year, I plan to grow seeds from this, the four fruits I pictured earlier, one that looked like Navajo Red, and one unknown type that was really tasty. I also plan to grow seeds from previous years from Weeks NC Giant growouts, including from the first year I grew it (2016). I might also grow some others from previous years, and a few new ones. It was hard to tell if the tendril had shriveled, but I took a guess and figured I'd pick it. It pretty much slipped right off the plant when I did (not directly on the fruit, though; so, there's still stem attached).
IMG_20200909_201331.jpg
IMG_20200909_201928.jpg
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#15

Post: # 30281Unread post Shule
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:50 pm

Here are the rest of the watermelons that I picked today (which should be all of them unless some are hiding in tomato plants). I think at least some of these are way overripe.

So, it hasn't been the most prolific year, but I'm excited about the ones I plan to replant, and I'm really glad most of them have black seeds.

Edit: The one on the far right seems to have been a Navajo Red (with a lot of mite russetting on the rind). The person who ate it said it was very good. Navajo Red does have excellent taste (one of my favorites, in fact), but it's a really strong diuretic compared to other watermelons!
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#16

Post: # 30829Unread post Shule
Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:17 am

Here's one from seeds I saved from Santo Domingo Brown Seeded last year; the seeds are still brown (a lighter brown than the picture seems to indicate) and the same size, this year, but there's a good chance it's a cross, especially as the rind looks different. The fruit was much larger last year. The flavor was quite good, and reminded me a bit of watermelons in the 80's amd 90's (bit yeah, it's different). It was hiding in the tomato plants.
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IMG_20200915_185448.jpg
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#17

Post: # 30831Unread post worth1
Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:48 am

I haven't had my annual watermelon.
Worth
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#18

Post: # 31274Unread post wildcat62
Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:32 pm

IMG_5618.JPG
Our last & biggest Moon & Starts melon.
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#19

Post: # 53080Unread post Shule
Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:04 pm

2021's watermelons are getting ripe. We've had two, so far (both fit in the refrigerator nicely). The smaller one (which had red or brownish seeds) was super sweet, and actually tart, too (the closer you got to the rind, the more tart and the less sweet it got; it tasted like lemonade by the rind). The bigger one (which had black medium-sized seeds) was good, but not super sweet, nor tart; there's still a slice left (an eighth of the fruit). I polished them with extra virgin olive oil after picking them (it makes them look nice and shiny). I'm glad to note that the whole interior of each was ripe flesh without sections with unripe parts with underdeveloped seeds in them.

Both fruits were pink-fleshed.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
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Re: Watermelons are ripe!

#20

Post: # 55437Unread post Shule
Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:41 pm

Here's my end-of-season watermelon harvest, for 2021:

Image

Most are undersized, but there are a lot of them. We had several others I haven't mentioned before today.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
Climate: BSk
USDA hardiness zone: 6
Elevation: 2,260 feet

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