Even though I have had problems and failures with my 1st year small garden, one thing that has really grown well here in Central Florida is watermelons. I have never grown watermelons before and the 1st one I harvested, was not ripe. What a disappointment. I had waited the 78 days for maturity and when I thumped it, there was a thud like its suppose to. I wasn’t planning on wasting another melon, so I started doing some research and found out what worked.
I know what you are thinking.
You have a small garden and you grow watermelons? Doesn’t that take up a lot of space?
The answer to both those questions is, YES. My watermelon plant took up about 15 feet in length of my garden, but I planted it close to the house and let it run behind my blueberry bushes. I controlled how it spread and there wasn’t a problem at all with this smaller watermelon variety. For those new to my blog, my garden is about 25 feet long and about 6 feet wide and sits right next to my home since we don’t have much of a yard.
The variety I used is called Sugar Baby and the fruit get about the size of a bowling ball. Just perfect to sit in your fridge and not take up much room. For hubby and I, this is the perfect watermelon for us. I had 3 watermelons grow from one plant and would have had more if I had helped with the pollination of the flowers. But, with this being our first year of small gardening, we were excited to see the 1st watermelon develop. There are 2 smaller ones growing now, but I don’t know if they will survive or not. Too much rain, something we get here almost daily during summertime, can cause a good watermelon to split.
So how do you know if your watermelon is ready to harvest:
- Count the days – Maturity day for the Sugar Baby is 78 days from planting. I planted on April 9th, so mature date would be about the middle of July.
- Thump the outside of the melon – You want a dull, hollow sound. The only problem is that my melon sounded right, days ago!
- Check the curly tendril/spoons on the fruit – This test seems to be the best to determine if the fruit is ready to harvest.
Here is my simple way of deciding when its time to harvest
Firstly, check to see if your mature date is close and then start watching the signs. Right where the vine comes out of the watermelon, there is a spoon looking leaf and a curly tendril. As in the picture above, the spoon is still really green.
Secondly, after a few more days, the spoon leaf has turned brown. But, the curly tendril is still green. Getting closer.
Thirdly, after a few more days, the spoon leaf and curly tendril are both brown. It’s time! It’s time!!
Another way to test to see if your watermelon is ready is to look at the bottom of the melon. The part that is laying on the ground. If its white, its not ready. If its yellow, its ready!!
Now on to enjoying that red, sweet juiciness and put in the fridge. Watermelon contains high levels of healthy antioxidants, making Sugar Baby a great way to enjoy something sweet but be nutritious at the same time. Use a watermelon slicer for easy cutting of perfect slices to serve. I love enjoying one of my favorite fruits in the summertime. Kids will love these too because they are a perfect size for them to help harvest and carry.
Have you grown watermelons in your garden?
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