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The Green Thumb: Watermelons

 Image of a man picking up a watermelon
Mark Stebnicki

Hello, this is Ben Scow with Utah State University Extension in Washington County. I'm the county agriculture and horticulture agent, and I have a tip for you on watermelons.

The question that we get a lot is, when do I pick a watermelon? How do I know when it's ripe? So there are two things that you can look for as your watermelon has grown and it's getting to be a good size.

You can go out and check the tendril. The tendril is a part of the plant that will wrap around different things there will be a tendril located at the stem, right where your watermelon attaches to the plant. And as the tendril slowly browns (it will brown as the watermelon matures and the sugars are developing), but as it turns brown, and it gets close to being fully brown, you can turn the watermelon over and look at the bottom.

The bottom of the watermelon, and this would be the second thing to look for, starts off as white. This is the ground spot, the part that is resting on the ground.

It will start out as white and as the sugars develop it will change color and turn yellow. So if you have the tendrils dyed back and the watermelon is yellow on the bottom, that will indicate that the watermelon is ripe or the sugars have developed in it, and is ready to harvest.

You don't want to wait too long after that point because then they become overripe. They don't have a good flavor, and they become kind of grainy and mealy on the inside.

That's a trick you can use at the grocery store. You can look for yellow bottoms instead of white ones to indicate if a watermelon is ripe or not.

Again, this has been Ben Scow with Utah State University Extension. Hope you found the tip helpful and have a good growing season.