Sep 16, 2006

Labor's Fruits: The First Edible Watermelon of the Season

Sliced watermelon on my kitchen counterLeft: 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.

Lessons learned:
* 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.


jen said...

It's beautiful, I hope it tasted as good as it looks!

I think the thumping method works, but I've only chosen melons at the store, where they're probably all ripe.

microdot said...

If that's the only one you got, it's a beaut!
This was the first year I was able to get melons to ripen! I did a type of cantalope? sp? We had 4 but with the price of them now, it was a real treat! Now the pumpkins..................
I leave for the Vendenge on Wednesday am...2 weeks of carrying, sorting and cutting grapes to make Lalande Pomerol Wine at the Chateau Vieux Chevrol. No computer or TV, but lots of sampling of the product!

Kathleen Marie said...

My sister in law and family grow thousands of melons and pumpkins. Sandy soil is very important as well and they do irrigate if they have to. They saw humid weather also helps and yes, wait for the creme spot on the bottom. If it is too wet they set the melons on a board. Grow them with corn is also a wise idea - companion planting. So, happy yours turned out well.

Check my blog for info on the SD Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Dedication I attended this weekend. It was really amazing.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I've had similar bad luck in picking melons in the store.

I am much happier picking based in the ground spots color, as you recently discovered.

The best ones though, tend to part slightly ahead of the knife, once started.