Watermelon ripeness

Im currently growing some hydroponic melons and there is quite a bit of controversy online as when they are ripe. What is your preferred technique? I have read you should wait until the little spoon leaf across from the melon dries, but Ive also read that you should wait for the tendril to completely dry or that even the stem connected to the melon should be dried.

Cut that sucker open and see. That’s the only way to know for sure. Everyone has their “trick” but none of them are absolute.

I look for a the yellow circle and/or push on the melon to see if it makes a squishing noise when I push down. That’s my dads trick it doesn’t always work.

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I have had good luck with Charleston Grey melons grown out in my garden…

That tendril near where the melon joins the vine… when it is completely brown… ripe.

Less reliable is the DTM but it will get you close. Best I remember the CG melons are 85 DTM.

I’ve only ever used the dry-wall technique. Just as you can find the studs by tapping on a wall, you can tell when a watermelon is ripe, thumping on it. This doesn’t work with lath-and-plaster.

My folks averred that, since it’s common knowledge that watermelons amplify the Earth’s magnetic field and become more attractive as they ripen, you can set a straw on one. If the straw spins like a compass needle without coming to rest, it’s ripe enough. Now, that’s Gospel! However, I expect it works only for melons that were grown East-to-West or West-to-East.


crhode I thought of making a drawing to easy remember that watermelon wall studs
you want the solid sound right last time I forgot?

DOes this work for Cantelope it’s important I get it right for ripe seeds
I have some ancient seed variety from Afghanistan only a few (might have) in The USA
(Sorry not offering seeds maybe in a few years when I get more seed build up, ,)

There is so much controversy because it’s different for different varieties, but very few people realize that.

You need to experiment with the variety you’re growing by cutting them open at different stages, or get advice from someone growing that specific variety.

well if I pick it too early will the seeds still ripen

I could let it rot, for certain, but want to try it

I plan to sell seeds when I get a large amount maybe in a few years so want to make sure

What if I stuck a brix meter inside it should heal over right.

There are several signs a watermelon is ripe.

  1. if the tendril is dark brown, it is probably ripe.

  2. if you thump it and it has a deep bass echo it is likely ripe. You will have to practice this, but for me, it is very accurate.

  3. Look at the ground spot. Larger and lighter means it is ripe. Some turn white, some yellow, color doesn’t matter, size does.

  4. Feel of the watermelon. Ripe watermelons get a lumpy/bumpy texture that you can’t see but can feel. Caution that some smooth skin varieties like Dixielee don’t have this marker.

  5. Heft the watermelon. Ripe watermelons develop a distinctive feeling of being dense and heavy. This is another one you have to practice, but with a bit of effort it is effective.

There are a few others, but they are rarely needed if you know the above. Some of the suggestions listed above are not useful. If you wait for the stem to turn brown, most watermelons will be overripe.

If you are interested in producing watermelon seed, they have to get about 2 weeks overripe to have fully mature seed. Some of the seed will germinate if harvested earlier, but for most of the seed to be viable, wait for 2 to 3 weeks overripe.


Works very well with CG.

The older guy on hoss tools grows lots of watermelons… large melons… and that is where I heard about the tendril turning brown.

Year b4 last I had 1 CG vine that produced 7 nice melons… all were perfectly ripe when the tendril browned completely.

Where the melon stem attaches to the vine… there will be a tendril there… if you watch it over time… it starts off completely green of course… but as the melon gets near to being ripe… it will brown up from the tips of the tendril and slowly continue to turn brown until the entire tendril is brown all the way back to the vine. Wait until the entire tendril is brown… to pick. Not sure if that works on every type of melon, but it does on CG, and the big melons that the older dude at Hoss Tools grows.



Nope! You have to whiff cantaloupe.