How to Know When a Watermelon is Ready to Pick


If you have a garden, watermelons are nearly a must-have plant. This sweet-tasting fruit that comes from your home soil will typically provide a sweetness like few other fruits.. but only if you manage to pluck those watermelons when they’re ripe.

In the world of gardening, nothing is quite so frustrating as picking a big, beautiful watermelon, only to find that it wasn’t ripe. The watermelon you eyed for all those weeks is no longer dream-worthy. The one chance is gone and dumping it in the trash is about the only option you have left.

Don’t let this happen. There’s a few secrets for picking a ripe melon so be sure you know what to look for so you know when your watermelon is ready to pick.

What to Look For

You’ll likely hear different methods of determining when a watermelon is ripe when talking to different people. If you’ve got a working system, we’d love to hear about it but if you don’t, read on. Our tried and true methods come from personal experience and years of frustration in cutting open the occasional pink melon.

Most people believe that thumping the melon and learning to distinguish the proper “pop” sound from the sound of a pink melon is the key to a landing a perfectly juicy, red melon. We commend those who have success with this method as it’s never worked too well for us. It’s especially difficult to remember the sound of a ripe melon after a long winter and when picking your first few melons.

There are others who simply count days and insist that they cycle will always be the same. This can work but if you have a rough spring with a few nights down around freezing or a drought during which you didn’t manually water enough, you could be off by a few days to a few weeks.

Instead of focusing on sound or counting days, look to the side of the melon that has been laying on the ground. Is it a yellow-white color yet? If it isn’t, it’s got more growing to do. If you’re one who likes to flip your watermelons while growing, to ensure a green casing on all sides, stop doing that. The yellow-white color is a superb way of knowing the melon is ripe and the color will do nothing in the way of affecting the sweet flavor inside.

watermelon tendrilThe other important factor in determining a ripe watermelon is to view the tendril. You’ll find this by tracing the stem of the watermelon to where it intersects with the vine. See that brown twig that’s protruding forth? That’s a tendril and it when the watermelon is ready to be picked, it will turn brown with a dryed-out look and the end will curl up like a little pigtail.

The watermelon below was the first one we picked this year. Notice the vast difference in color on both sides? It was bright red and sweet as a watermelon could be when we cut it open. It’s easy to always pick a winner when you know what to look for and understand when a watermelon is ready to be picked.

a ripe watermelon with two colors

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