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Harvesting Watermelons

Just in the nick of time, our watermelons are ready to harvest before summer ends.  How do you know they’re ready?  Consider this post to be a companion piece to our watermelon Tip of the Week Podcast, visual aid style, that illustrates the tell-tale sign that watermelon is ready for harvest.

There are old wives tales about the sound that watermelons are supposed to make when ripe.  You can also look at the underside of the melon to check whether the white underbelly has turned creamy yellow in color.  But really, it’s all in the tendrils.








Notice the vine is still green, but the tendrils have curled up and turned brown










Close up. These are located on either side of the watermelon that looks ready to harvest.

So your watermelon may look like this…










…but it may not be ready to harvest yet.  The one pictured above still has green tendrils, so we’re not pickin’ yet.   Another smaller watermelon was close by and ready to pick (featuring the dried tendrils in the photos above).  After a quick snip of the stem, it was carried inside to weigh.

The kitchen scale only goes up to 7 lbs, so it simply read “ERR” when I tried to weigh it.  This was a job for a bigger scale.









11.6 pounds = about $8 worth of organic watermelon

Next we chilled the watermelon overnight in the fridge and let the anticipation build.  What would it look like inside?  Would it be ready and sweet?  Or would it be white and flavorless like in the early days of attempted-watermelon-growing when I harvested too early?

The results:










Gorgeous, sweet and juicy watermelon that we had to eat over the sink.  It was a watermelon party.  My husband, a house guest and I all stood shoulder to shoulder with a wedge of Crimson Sweet watermelon dripping into the sink.  Oohs and ahhs could be heard amongst the slurping (there’s really no other way to eat watermelon).  Watermelon success had been achieved.

There are still a couple more watermelons waiting to be harvested, so this party is going to continue into fall.  It was just a delight to enjoy it while it is officially summer.  Do you have a watermelon success story? Share it with us here.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Tina Martino

    Thank you for showing how it looks when they are ready to pick, I wasn’t sure what to look for! They look so delicious! I can’t wait to see how mine turn out this year!

    Tina Martino

  2. Tom C

    OMG, thanks so much for this Christy, this is awesome.

  3. Melinda Stanton/Auntie Em

    Thank you! This was exactly what I was looking for. I’m growing melons for the first time this year, and they sound ready (the thump test!) but I couldn’t figure out what to LOOK for.

    1. Christy

      Glad this helped, Melinda. Good luck harvesting.

  4. Christy Wilhelmi

    Sounds like you’ll have a harvest soon.  I read recently that you are supposed to prune the vines by cutting them off at a point that is two leaf sets further out than the fruit that has set.  Then the vine will concentrate on ripening that one good piece of fruit.  You can expect to get 3 to 5 watermelons per plant, so they say.  I pruned mine as such and the harvest was delicious!

  5. Lou

    Thanks for the great info on when to harvest watermelons. I am currently growing one sugar baby vine and so far have success, with one fruit being 6.5 inches across and a few more on the way. There is only one tendril at the end of the stalk of the watermelon, but it is still green. I am so nervous that I will pick it either too green or too woody, but will wait patiently and then crack it open with excitement. The vine seems to have about 10 other (yet to be polinated) little ones (about 1 cm across), but do you think i should prune them off to put energy in to the other ones??? Thanks!!

  6. Lenore

    I can’t believe these grow in the earth! Amazing! Looks perfectly sweetly delicious. Mouth is watering. Thanks for sharing!

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