Watermelon growing and Melon growing thread of 2018


I inadvertently knocked one off the vine. It’s obviously not quite ripe yet which is a shame but this is what they look like.


NiceGuy, the only ripeness timing method I ever got good results with is monitoring days from fruit set. About 33 days for 8 to 20 lb. varieties during a typical Spokane Summer. Absent that information, I have to resort to something like the thump test to guess about ripeness.


Cheers. I’ll assume if you have a typical Pacific Northwest summer, it’s pretty mild. There’s extreme heat and humidity all summer where I am, so I guess they ripen faster. It there any relation to maximum physical size?


woah that is awesome i would’ve never thought yellow, picking a ripe melon is deffinately the most important part of watermelon growing, some are very good and can do the thump test, when you give the watermelon a soft thump with your hand and wait to hear a flat low pitch noise compared to a sharp high pitch noise (you need other melons of same type to distinguish the difference between sounds by comparing them) but in reality picking a ripe melon is a learned skill and not something that can be taught over night, i too use the days from fruit set approach and my method will be tested thursday when i pick my white wonder / orangeglo to see whether or not the full 6 weeks from fruit set is a viable method.

also thank you very much for growing my melon this is an awesome learning experience for me and i trust it is for other people too


One of you count 33 days, the other counts 42 days after fruit set. That’s quite a difference in number of days. Interesting to see the results of both calculation.


Tippy, I try to grow smaller melons in the 8 to 20 lb range that mature quickly since my Summers tend to be a little short. I target varieties in the 70 to 90 days to maturity range. I could imagine that varieties that take 120 days to mature might have a longer fruit set to ripe melon time, but I have not grown any. 33 days has been pretty close for the following varieties in my location: Yellow Baby, Sweet Favorite, New Queen, Blacktail Mountain, Sunshine, New Orchid, Yellow Buttercup (seedless), and an old Park Seed variety that I don’t think is available anymore called Everglade which would take 35 or 36 days. Sweet Favorite was by far the easiest to grow watermelon that I ever tried.


NiceGuy, our Summer is short but the days are really long. Fairly rain free all summer long with a few days that reach 100 or so. It is my personal observation that hotter weather does speed up the process by a day or so and cooler weather will slow it down. I never grew melons larger than 20 lbs but can imagine that they might require more days. The nice thing about the set to ripe method is you might be a little off on the first melon of a given variety, but you are spot on thereafter.


We’ve got about 15 melons that are sizing up, and another 5-10 that are just now starting to grow.
Here’s a shot of the main row. On the right are dwarf apples trees that I’m attempting to train into tall spindles.

Here are two sample melons from that row, which might be a Gold Strike and a Big Stripe, respectively, but it’s hard to tell with the tangle of vines:

Just a few weeks away!


All of mine are 70-90 days kinds of watermelons. So I should count to 33 days. Well, I gotta say after several melons set fruit, I lost track which set fruit when!!!

Do you have a trick on how to keep track of them, please?


My trick is the use of popsicle sticks and a black sharpie. Observe the set date, write it on the popsicle stick, and push it into the ground next to your melon. If you discover one that you missed, just estimate how long it has been set and backdate the date on the popsicle stick accordingly. Pick your first melon 33 days later and judge if over or under ripe according to your taste. Adjust number of days target and enjoy the rest of your melons. I think watermelon ripeness is a matter of personal preference. The longer you let them sit on the vine the sweeter they get, but at some point the flesh begins to get mealy starting at the seed cavity. I really don’t like the mealy texture, so I am looking for that time right before it starts. Others may prefer something different.


spokanepeach has given really good advice melon update on thursday, the thump test is a secondary method to determine watermelon ripeness but is more useful at the super market and is a secondary method after age


.So far I only have two melons growing on the White Wonder/ Oraneglo plants, whose seeds I got from @Mountain_Donkey. Thanks!! :slight_smile:

This WW/OG is just itty bitty! Picture taken July 15. Let’s hear it for dirty garden hands!! :clap:

The larger one was the size of an egg. I love my new garden helper. He is going to be busy with rodent patrol.

I am going to use your dating method, @SpokanePeach, thanks for the tip! Where do you find the days from fruit to harvest for different varieties? I am also growing Orangeglo and Jubilee and would like to find the average # of days till mature. I did pretty good using visual methods the last few years, but missed on a few and they were over-ripe.

Below are a few of my Orangeglo melons…


Hales Best

Unknown honeydew planted from seeds from a volunteer several years ago.



What is the nee garden creature? The melons look great!!


Thanks MrsG! I am going to gifting a lot of melons. I planted way way too many. Again.
My pup is a blue heeler, about 10 weeks old now. Great cattle dogs, and a bonus is a good nose and a desire to erradicate rodents.


That is one dynamic looking dog. Beautiful, melons are incredible!


KSprairie, I don’t know where to find the number of days from set to ripe for a given watermelon variety. I developed my number from experience with the varieties that I have grown. All of mine were 70 to 90 day varieties that grow to 8 to 20 pounds in size. I assume that the larger 50 pound varieties with 100 plus day maturities might take more than 33 days from set to ripe, but I don’t know since I have never grown any of the large varieties.
Another tip, if you find somewhat deformed melons, I would pull them off. You should have plenty of nicely formed melons to take their place. Usually they are deformed because a portion of the melon is never going to develop while the normal side of the melon attempts to grow to full size.


SpokanePeach, I appreciate your advice!! I have looked for that information on days from fruit set to harvest and was frustrated I couldn’t find it. I see need to keep some detailed notes so I can start monitoring by days, rather than just size and appearance.I will remove some of those that are narrow at one end or otherwise not perfect. I hadn’t thought of doing that either! I already have more melons than I need. I haven’t done this before, But i thought one year I should try removing developing fruits weekly, leaving only one to develop every 1-2 weeks so I can spread out the harvesting dates. I should really do this on my honeydew and cantaloupe types. Or at least do some thinning. I don’t sell any, but several of us gardeners bring our excess produce to church on Sundays. We have a couple tables in the foyer where we can set out produce and our church family can help themselves to whatever they would like. This has worked out great! There are only about 4-5 of us that have large gardens and what we grow is varied. I think it is especially nice to do this for our elderly friends that arent able to tend gardens for themselves any longer.
@mrsg47, you are so kind. :grin:


KSprarie, you’re welcome, hope this information helps! Let me know how you do with hitting your desired level of ripeness.


Unknown volunteer. Small but pretty good and yellow


I will! I didn’t mark any of those fruits when they first formed, but made a note when I started seeing small golf ball to baseball sized fruits. I am marking new fruits from this point forward. We will see how it goes!