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How do I know when watermelons are ready to be harvested?

Author: Kelly Young
Issue: July, 2017, Page 105

ASK THE EXPERTS

Q - Our grandchildren planted watermelon seeds in March. We finally found two big melons hiding under the vines. The kids are eager to pick them, but I want to be sure they are ripe first. How can we tell when watermelons are ready to be harvested?

A - How fortunate that your grandchildren get to taste freshly picked (and hopefully ripe) watermelon that they planted themselves! Periodically check the color on the spot that rests on the ground; it will change from white to yellow as the fruit ripens. Mature fruits will lose their glossy appearance and become duller in color. Another ripeness indicator is the sound the melon makes when you knock on it. A ripe fruit sounds hollow, while an immature fruit has a more metallic or “tinny” sound. Finally, harvest-ready watermelons will easily separate from the vine. If the stem is still green and a simple twist and pull doesn’t do the job, give the fruit a few more days to ripen.
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