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How do you know when watermelons are ripe?
 

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This is a post copied from garden web, it has definately helped me, although I am still having a hard time picking my moon and stars at the right time. They seem totally ripe, but then they aren't. grrr. This has worked for the other type of watermelons though.

Over the years I heard of and tried many melon ripe tests. It's sometimes best to combine several of them to judge a good melon. Knowing which variety might help a bit but here's the general "rules":
Thumping a melon with middle finger or knuckle and listen to the pitch : "pink" sound is unripe, "punk" sound might be ripe.
Try this out on several melons to adjust your ear to the different pitches (high=pink, low=punk).

Tendrils - those curly things, if the tendril on each side of the melon has dried up and shriveled it could be ripe.
Luster of surface of melon. If it's glossy it's unripe, if it's dull it might be ripe.

Smoothness of surface of melon. If it's smooth as a cueball it's unripe, if it's slightly "bumpy" it might be ripe.

Size, if the size stops increasing for 2 weeks it could be ripe.

Bottom color of melon, if it's white it's not ripe, if it's light yellow it might be ripe (except for Sugar Baby variety which is always a deep yellow).
Bottom "specks", if black specks/spots are within the bottom light yellow color it might be ripe.

I hope these help you, they have given me a 95% goal of picking ripe melons, esp if combined together. One last tip, if in doubt wait a few more days. I say this because an unripe melon is usually terrible but an over ripe one is usually mostly edible. Oh, and one more tip, the sweetest melons ripen during a dry spell so don't water the melons 2 weeks before you think it getting close to picking.
Happy Harvest !
 

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Thanks for the tips. On the cantaloupe and honeydew the stem and fruit separate easily. Usually the ants and beatles tell me when they are ripe. The sugar baby melons are another story.
 

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I have lots of watermelons but they are all very small, the largest is slightly bigger than a softball. most are baseball size. How do I improve their size next year, what are they missing? The cantalopes are closer to normal size. Thanks forvthe help.
 

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They are in full sun, except for early morning they get full sun all day. It is a spot I have not gardened in before and if it was by previous owners it was many years ago. We have done pretty well as far as rain this year. Maybe I will need to add a lot more compost in spring. I would like to add manure this fall to the whole garden. It is all in a new area, I had to move from my old spot, DH needed a garage, lol. Thanks
 
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