Left: Sliced and ready to eat
(Toledo, OH) A few weeks back I picked my first watermelon from my garden. Carrying it into the house, I lovingly washed and dried it, set it on the counter, and sliced into the fruit, hoping to enjoy a cool slice of melon on a blistering August afternoon.
Alas, it was white on the inside and completely inedible, fit only for the compost pile.
This morning - with wisdom derived from greater patience - I picked my second watermelon. Like the proverbial child at Christmas opening a present, I was excited to find that this fruit was red, juicy, and quite sweet.
In past years my efforts to grow watermelons have been thwarted by mischievous children, poor choices in planting locations, and opportunistic fungi.
* Wait until the ground spot on the melon is cream-colored.
* Full sun and less watering (especially in July and August) make a difference.
* Wait until the tendrils near the melon have begun to brown.
Some melon growers insist that they can hear a difference between ripened and unripened fruit when you "thump" a melon, but mine sounded the same. Perhaps it is only the trained ear that can discern the difference.