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stella1751
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TheWaterbug wrote:
stella1751 wrote:I'm going to try the Fordhook.
An event of this magnitude _must_ be captured on video, preferably with some dramatic music.
The dog began humming the theme from Jaws when I picked up the knife. Here's the results of the harvest:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/Aug_30_Fordhook.jpg[/img]

Hey, it is still tasty, kind of. I should have gone with the Sugar Baby :roll:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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jal_ut
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I have found that the Charleston Grey Watermelon is a good one for this area. It is supposed to be an 85 day melon, but usually takes 100 days (from planting seed) or a little more to get ripe. We often get a frost before I harvest.

I think that the 85 day thing may be correct in the area where the cultivar was developed, but there are more factors involved such as the average temperature, the availability of pollinators, The weather when the plant is about to bloom etc.

I find that most crops take more days to maturity in this climate than it calls for on the description.

This tip was found on a seed packet: "Tap the watermelon with your knuckles, and if it sounds hollow, it's ready."

Melon growers need patience!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

MrDeadPlant
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Hmmm. I tested my melons by knocking on them. If they sounded hollow I knew they were close. Mine sounded really really hollow. Also, they had a yellow spot on them, but I rolled my melons to keep an eye on the outside. Another thing, I had a cream colored "belly Button" on my melons (opposite side of the stem).

Here are my results.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37983

Chris.
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stella1751
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MyDeadPlant, I looked at your watermelons and was green with envy. I haven't tried another one yet. I was going to pick the biggest Sugar Baby, but then its stripes went and appeared again. Once the stripes are gone again, I'm gonna pick that puppy!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

MrDeadPlant
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Only thing I can say is, Knock on it like you would a door. If it sounds hollow , pick that puppy LOL. Also make sure the grow time is correct like the other poster in this thread said. I grew mine stright from seed. 92 days is the recommended grow time for my melons. I picked the 3 big ones at 93 days.
Zone 5/6

pickupguy07
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MrDeadPlant wrote:Also make sure the grow time is correct like the other poster in this thread said. I grew mine stright from seed. 92 days is the recommended grow time for my melons. I picked the 3 big ones at 93 days.
Thats what has me so confused... my grow time is all screwed up.
I planted on 4/27.. they are 100 day mellons. 100 days would of been 8/1. On 8/1 I had a couple mellons, and lots and lots of vines. and still lots of blooms. It is now 9/1 and I have lots and lots of mellons (about 20 bowling ball sized ones). Don't know why I am getting so many so late... and now the vines are starting to wither... I am afraid these will rot before they mature. I have had three do that so far...
I have no clue what is going on. It has been hot and dry and I water about once a week. Obviously SOMETHING has gone right since I have 65 feet of vines out of just a couple seeds...
I am getting the bad feeling I will get no mellons out of all this.
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

MrDeadPlant
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Somthing else I did that might have made the difference. When my plants started going really good, my vines were about 2 feet long , I dumped some blood meal on all my plants. When my vines were huge, I mean they were thier own little rain forest, they started getting flowers/ small watermelons I dumped some 10/10/10 on them. I wanted to use Kelp meal but I couldnt find it in my area.

Here is exactly what I used.

[img]https://cache.planetnatural.com/planetnatural/images/large/dried-blood-lg.jpg[/img]

And

https://www.teakwickerandmore.com/Espoma-10-10-10-Quick-Solutions-Garden-Food-GF5105-5-AVB1007.html?refid=SS3-AVB1007&SSAID=254378&refid=SS254378&df=1
Zone 5/6

pickupguy07
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I've also watered mine, and occasionally fertilized it with 10-10-10.
Lots of vines... now also lots of mellows, but vines are dying.
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

mmmfloorpie
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I had a similar problem with determining when they are done. I don't have sugar babies, I don't even know what variety they are... All the tag said was "Watermelon" lol.

Anyways, I waited until the tendrils were brown and then picked it about a week later. I wish I would have waited just a bit longer because it wasn't completely ripe and it tasted a bit starchy. Still good watermelon though!

[img]https://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm113/drew4allyou/0828111853-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm113/drew4allyou/0828111939-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm113/drew4allyou/0828111939-01.jpg[/img]

I heard they are supposed to have a strong watermelon smell when they are ripe. This was VERY true of my cantaloupes and this watermelon didn't really smell.

So maybe if I left it until it did smell it would have been done? Have to sniff a supermarket one the next time I go!

BTW, that watermelon weighed in at 26.5 pounds.

pickupguy07
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nice mellons.. I'm afraid I'm gonna get nothing out of about 40 mellons..
I tried to smell my mellons, and picked up a few at the store and smelled nothing.. LOL

My mellons weigh in from 40 to 50 pounds.. thats why I get confused. I guess I think.. "The tendril has been dead 7-10 days,.. they are SO huge... SURELY they have to be ripe"

I went from that to now they are rotting on the vine at a small size
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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SPierce
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At least you were able to grow some this year, after all your fretting about!

pickupguy07
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SPierce wrote:At least you were able to grow some this year, after all your fretting about!
LOL yeah.. on the other hand.. having getting none so far; and all the effort, baby-sitting, watering, etc... Might of been better of if they'd just died ion the first place.. lol
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

garden5
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I've tried watermelons several times, and the best I ever got was one the size of a softball. So, I guess that you even have any large ones really is something to be proud of.

I wonder why the home gardener has such a hard time telling when it's ripe, but the commercial grower always seem to have ripe ones (at least, the stores always do :roll:)?
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pickupguy07
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When my dad was growin up his family grew watermellon commericially...
They never had any problems... he said he's never saw mellows act like these have.. very weird.
I think next year I'm going to try a different type.. Can't stand this same frustration again.
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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stella1751
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pickupguy07 wrote:
SPierce wrote:At least you were able to grow some this year, after all your fretting about!
LOL yeah.. on the other hand.. having getting none so far; and all the effort, baby-sitting, watering, etc... Might of been better of if they'd just died ion the first place.. lol
One day, you will get a watermelon. It will be perfect. You will look back and remember this year, and you will feel twice as proud as if you'd batted a thousand the very first year. That's one of the fun things about gardening: trying, failing, trying again, failing again, and then . . . Success! The success is twice as sweet if you have a failure or two behind you.

Man, if I lived in Georgia, I would not mess around with a Black Diamond. I would grow a Carolina Cross every single year. Last year, I tried watermelons for the first time and completely blew it. I couldn't even grow a short-season Fordhook. This year, Mother Nature willing, I will get both a ripe Sugar Baby and a ripe Fordhook. Next year, if I enjoy a small success this year, I'm gonna get my neighbor to build me a cold frame so I can try a Crimson Sweet.

One variety at a time, I am working my way toward the greatest challenge of all. Last year, this year, next year--all of these are preparatory exercises, sort of like gardener gymastics, to get me ready for the real watermelon I am dying to try: the Carolina Cross, the king of watermelons.

Sure, it probably can't be done, not up here in the High Plains, but it's worth a shot. However, if I lived in Georgia, I would not waste my time on anything but watermelon royalty 8)
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

pickupguy07
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this being my first year.. I wasn't really sure what was best for my area. Just took what my local Farm & Garden suggested.
So fill me in on this kind you mentioned... Do they have any with yellow meat. Seems I have always found yellow meat to be sweeter..??
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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stella1751
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The Carolina Cross is the giant of watermelons. It will go 200 pounds. If you grow one, you grow it for a village, not a family :lol:
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pickupguy07
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:shock: :shock: :shock:
Shame there's not any way (I know of) to preserve all that good stuff inside
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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stella1751
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I think people who grow them must give them away or have a huge party. You know, I think you can freeze watermelon, but I'm not certain. However, to grow one of those monsters, you have to practice on the little ones. You don't want to pick this one at the wrong time. If it wasn't ripe, you would kick yourself all the way to North Carolina. If it was too ripe and blew up in your garden, your neighbors would be picking seeds out of their hair :lol:
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TheWaterbug
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Okay, now it's my turn for Watermelon Roulette!

Here's my Moon and Stars melon:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MoonAndStarsMelon_web.jpg[/img]

The tendril is brown, but that could be because of the damage near the base:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MoonAndStarsTendril_web.jpg[/img]

Note that actual base of the tendril is still green.

The underside is yellow:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MoonAndStarsUnderside_web.jpg[/img]

So, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Garden Jury, what say you? Pick or Patience?

I also have two other melons elsewhere at about the same stage, or maybe a week younger.
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Tilde
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No idea, but on the preservation thread, I recall pickled watermelon and watermelon wine.
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!potatoes!
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it dehydrates into a pretty awesome sticky candy, too.

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stella1751
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I've been picking one watermelon a week since I started this thread, and I still haven't gotten a ripe one. They are, however, becoming a darker pink as I go along :D

I found a website that includes in its list of ways to tell that the watermelon is ready to pick that it will separate easily from its stem when it's ready. I tried that on the last two and, with sufficient twisting and tearing, found the watermelon very easy to pull from the vine.

I have four watermelons left. Two are big; two aren't worth the effort of picking. The vines are half dead from the hard freeze we had September 22, but they're hanging in there. In five days, a lengthy cold spell is moving in, and I will not bother covering that bed. I did better with them this year than I did last year. Next year, I will have success. I'm not ready for the big ones yet. The year they begin ripening in August, well, then I will know I have done it right.

My neighbor is handy with wood. I am giving him enough supplies to build one cold frame for each of us. Next year, I will start mine under a cold frame. Ha! One day I will grow a ripe watermelon in Wyoming :twisted:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

bangstrom
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Sugar Baby's tend to either be too green to pick or they split open. I don't sell melons so I like to wait for Sugar Baby's to split before I pick them. Yes, sometimes they explode.

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TheWaterbug
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I chickened out and flew to Chicago for the week.

I will resume my indecision when I return on Saturday!
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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TheWaterbug
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I picked it!!!!!
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MoonAndStarsPickedTop_web.jpg[/img]

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MoonAndStarsPickedBottom_web.jpg[/img]

I barely tapped it with my knife, and it split right open.

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MoonAndStarsPicked_web.jpg[/img]

It's pretty good, but not great. Probably a 7 out of 10. It's crisp, and not mealy, but it's not as sweet as I would like.

Based on the splitting behavior I'm not sure I'd want to leave it out any longer than I did. I have three more out in the field.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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stella1751
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TheWaterbug wrote: I barely tapped it with my knife, and it split right open.

It's pretty good, but not great. Probably a 7 out of 10. It's crisp, and not mealy, but it's not as sweet as I would like.
Beautiful watermelon, Waterbug! I did the same thing with mine. A long cold spell was moving in, so I picked everything. I began cutting the biggest one, just to see what it was like, and the knife was only in about an inch when the melon split right open, just like yours.

I ran it over to my neighbor. She's from Arkansas and seriously likes watermelon and was a godsend to me when I needed help last summer, so I have it to her. Later, I asked her how it was. I asked, "So, was it as good as the ones in North Carolina?" She looked blank. I asked, "Georgia?" She looked confused. I said, "Arkansas?" That got her attention. All those Southeastern states are alike to me, I guess.

She said it was good but, like yours, not as sweet as she liked.

There were three really tiny ones. I sliced each one open, just in case, and the one that weighed about a pound, maybe less, was lovely. I ran that one over to my other neighbor, who is building me a cold frame for next year.

One left. I will eat this one.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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