So once again, let’s take a look at the watermelon.  I know that this is generally a summer time pick, but I have two things for that.  One, mine got planted a bit late, so it is just time that they are getting ready.  Secondly I now have time to write about it.  So it is clearly the right time to write about.

How will I know the melon is ready?

This one might be a little shorter than our write up on butternut squash, but it should still have some good info.  So let’s say that you are walking through your garden and you spot them.  Watermelon are looking at you from their garden patch.  They are all green and look like they do at the store…but what of the insides?  Are they ripe?  Should I leave them be?  How will I know?

Check the Calendar

Harvesting WatermelonLet’s say that you are organized and noted down in garden journal when you planted your seeds and how long that package said it would take for them to ripen.  Then it is a simple matter of checking your calendar and seeing when they will be ripe to harvest.  The day range given on the pack tends to be fairly spot on.  After all, it is there business to work with these seeds and know how they’ll grow.

Of course there are problems with this plan.  Maybe you aren’t overly organized and didn’t not down planting date or how many days to maturity for this type of melon.  Perhaps you just saved seeds from another melon and planted them to see what would pop up.  There have to be other ways.

Give it a thump

While it’s not a great method and will not tell you for sure that it is ripe, if you give the melon a thump.  If the sound comes back as a pleasant ‘plunk’ then the melon might be ready.  If it has more or a discordant ‘thwack’ sound, you need to give the melon more time.  Again, this won’t be the sure fire method, but it is a quick way to weed out those that are clearly not ripe.

Look at the Vine

Harvesting WatermelonSince you’ve watched that vine grow and take over all sorts of areas of your garden you know the look of a happy and healthy vine.  It is all green and happy looking.  However you will not that there is a tendril growing near your melon.  When that tendril starts to dry and turn brown it is a sign from the plant that that particular melon is ready for harvest.

Check the Belly

Harvesting WatermelonNo, not your belly.  If you pick the melon up you’ll notice there is a lighter spot on the bottom of the melon where it sat on the dirt.  If that area is white the melon is still not quite ripe.  When it turns yellow it is another sign that your melon is ready to be belly timber.  Of course while you have it in your hand you should also take note as to if your melon feels a touch heavy for its size.  If so, you have another sign that the melon is ready for harvest.

Cutting your melon

Now that you have brought that melon inside, you’ll need to cut it.  First you need a good sharp knife.  (Dull knives are more likely to get you cut as you have to give it more force).  When I was younger the only way you’d see a watermelon cut is into wedges.  It’s classic, it seems to be what everyone knows and is used to.  However, a few years back we stumbled upon a new way to cut our melons.

Harvesting WatermelonFirst you’ll want to cut your melon in half, so you have a nice flat surface to put down on the cutting board.  New you’ll make a series of parallel cuts.  This will yield a set of half circle melon pieces.  Now turn the melon 90 degrees and make another series of parallel cuts.  This will give you a selection of melon spears instead of the classic wedge.  Additionally if you were to desire cubes you can easily cut your spears down as needed.