Watermelon Growing


The plants have looked bad for the past two weeks because of powdery mildew. These past two nights, temp was 40 F, the plants look worse. Maybe, it is time to pick them out of necessity.

Thanks for your advice.


I don’t go by ripening days printed on seed packages. That’s general
information that’s printed generically on all seed packs.


Do you go by browning of tendrils or by experience, please? If it’s the latter, I would be severely lack of it!!!


I am finding that watermelon growing in the cold north is a lesson in humility. I have resigned myself to the truth that you have to grow watermelon for a few summers to get a handle on ripening.
Out of 5 beautiful Orange Glo I did not manage to pick one at the right time LOL. But there is an upside, I grew 5 beautiful Orange Glo.


Don’t feel bad. Even here in melon country I haven’t picked a decent orange fleshed watermelon in two yrs. Orangeglo last yr and two varieties this yr.


I’m pretty sure Ray has said the same thing I do- that browning tendrils can be one thing to take into account but by no means is it even close to being a strong determinant. I’ve picked unripe melons with tendrils that had been dead and brown and dried up for WEEKS, and I’ve picked ripe melons that had tendrils that were very much green and perky and alive. On average I’d say a brown tendril more often than not means melon is ripe, but that’s the best you can say. I’ve seen Ray say (and I 100% agree) that there really are no signals that are 100% determinate of ripeness. Not a hollow sound when thumping, not brown tendrils, not a yellow belly (though its a little better IMO), not even the sheen, which is my favorite way but completely impossible to explain. Everyone wishes there was some magic signal to tell you when to pick a melon, but there just isn’t. As @northof53, Ray, and many others on this thread have said, only experience will make you better at knowing harvest time, but just as @fruitnut humbly admitted above, even those of us with many years of experience don’t always get it right. I pick melons every year that are over and under ripe. Of course when you only have 2-3 melons like you do, its a bigger deal. I sincerely wish I could help more, but I just can’t. Good luck! (@rayrose please don’t think I was trying to speak for you, just repeating what I know you’ve said. Obviously you can add your own perspective) ,


Thank you very much. Since the vines are dying anyway so they need to be picked anyway. Have to try again next year.


Please share photos when you do. I’m going to pick one of my OG this weekend as well.


How the vines of your wm look? Mine are on life support.


Still good, which is surprising since nearby squash and pumpkin vines are all a mess with various pests and diseases.


No problem, you said just about everything that I would have said. For me,
the hardest melon to pick is the very first one of the season. I always call
that one the “sacrificial melon,” because you never really know for sure, if it
truly is ripe. From that first melon, you can get a feel as to how the rest of
the patch is going to develop.
At this part of the season, most producing vines are dead, and in that case
you have no choice, but to pick the melon, because, at that point, the melon is not going to ripen any further. I’ve already cleared all 3 of my patches, and ate my last melon a few days ago(Gold Strike). Of all of the
melons that I grew this year GS was by far the best one. I picked over 50 of them and each one was to die for. Even my new girl friend, who had never even seen a yellow meater before, loved them. I think I just might keep her.


Gold Strike or the girl friend :smiley:?


Picked both OG yesterday. The first one weighed 18 lbs, way overripe, probably 3 weeks overripe. Go right to a compost pile.

The second one weighed 23 lbs and must be at least a week overripe. It is edible. Brix was 12, quite sweet.

Several lessons learned from my first year growing wm i.e. soil, fertilizer, timing of planting, picking, etc.
Thank you very much everyone for your posts.


Today we picked two more Orange Glo watermelons, this will be the 4th and the 5th melons from the same vine. We had 2.5 days of cold non stop rain and the plants started to detiorate fast. Opened one and it was ripe, bursting with water and not very sweet, but still OK melon for the October. They had 5-6 weeks from when they got pollinated (late August).


Picked my first Orangeglo. Very tasty. Kids were suspicious about the color and why there were so many seeds. :slightly_smiling_face:


Looks great!


Input from Northern California. I have grown watermelons for many years in Sunset zone 14 (USDA zone 9b). They generally work out well. Days listed are from direct seed to harvest (be wary of seed packet DTM). Orangeglo is my favorite (106 days; brix 11.4). In fact, it may be in the fruit fantasy category. You really have to watch the ripeness as it goes mealy and cracks quickly. For perfection in flavor I would go for Blacktail Mountain (104 days; brix 10.6). For lots of production I have had the best luck with Moon & Stars Long Milky Way (129 days; brix 10.1). I have had up to 6 fruits per plant. Ali Baba is a good one for a candy-like taste (that is, not very watermelony; 137 days; brix 11.7). The sweetest variety I have grown is Quetzali (125 days; brix 12.8), which is also candy-like. It is a harder one to grow and I don’t always have success with it. It also has some interesting flavors that I have not found in other varieties. Varieties I would never grow again: Golden Midget (flavor inferior) and Cream of Saskatchewan (salty, weird).


I will second C of S as one to not grow again.


Has anyone tried the Diana melon that Fedco carries?


Harvested a “Moon and Stars” yesterday. Very good flavor and texture. Exceptionally juicy, not quite as sweet as some. A little over 10 lbs round shape.