When is Watermelon Ripe on the Vine?
Watermelon can be pretty tricky to tell if it’s ripe on the vine. The most important thing to look for when you’re trying to tell when your watermelon is ripe is to look at the tendril right next to the stem. When the watermelon is ripe, the tendril will either be fully brown, or at least starting to turn brown. It shouldn’t be nice and green. That means that your watermelon is still growing, getting bigger, and getting sweeter.
When you’re picking a watermelon, you need to cut the stem. Unlike cantaloupe, the stem won’t pull out easily. Another thing to look for on your watermelon, to see if it’s ripe, is if it has a yellow area on the bottom of the melon. If it doesn’t have a flat, yellow area then that’s another sign that it’s not ripe yet.
You can grow watermelons in a small area, if you choose the right type of watermelon. This variety here is a Sugar Baby watermelon, which means that it’s a bush type. The vines only grow about three to three and one-half feet long. It takes up much less space than your average watermelon.
The downside to this plant, is that each watermelon on the vine is about twelve pounds. So, it’s a smaller watermelon. It’s not a huge icebox type of watermelon. And, the vine will have only one or two melons on it. The plant here has only one watermelon – for the whole summer. If you have a large container, thirteen to fifteen gallons of soil or bigger, then you can easily grow a vine such as a cantaloupe or a watermelon, if it’s a smaller variety.
This feature story prepared with Rebecca McMahon, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.