Watermelon woes


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Me, watermelons, and canteloupes just don't get along. The first year I ever grew a garden (15 years ago I guess) I had excellent watermelons and canteloupes. Ever since then something happens and they turn to crap for some reason or another.

This year I started Crimson Sweet watermelons way back in April. I have been waiting on a "ripe" watermelon since then. The "signs" say the oldest set fruit isn't ripe, tendril not dried up, sound isn't hollow, you know. Well I decided to go ahead and pick the oldest one anyways to see. Tedril is not dried up and thumping sound is a dead sound. Stuck it in the fridge yesterday. Today I cut it open and clear water literally poured out like a faucet and the flesh is pink. No fermentation. Pics are attached. Did I really pick it too early? It should have been ripe around the first of July. What is wrong? I just don't get it.

Actually the next set fruit sounds dead too so it has to be the same. I have two other way younger fruits that are almost the same size that sound hollow ("ripe") but the tendril isn't dry yet.

20220928_120952.jpg20220928_121009.jpg
 
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It looks as if it stayed on the vine way too long and is overly ripe. What does it taste like? Perhaps just a bit off? Does the meat feel slick? What does the bottom of the melon look like where it is on the ground? I pick mine when the bottom is a bright yellow with no dark areas, just a solid yellow patch. I have never had any luck with the thumping and a hollow sound method. I suppose it is because there is nothing to compare it to, so how do you know what the hollow sound is supposed to sound like. And the dried stem method is a crock AFAIAC. If a stem is dried when picked the melon is too ripe. Same thing with the tendril. Sometimes the tendril will dry but other times it doesn't. The Crimson Sweet is supposed to have a bright red meat. The picture shows a milky colored meat another sign of overripeness. Also the seeds look to be fully mature. If picked too early they will be soft and a whiteish color. I think you just waited too long to pick, but, melons can be tricky and grow differently in different areas. So take my words with a grain of salt.
 
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I didn't taste it but it smelled like an under ripe watermelon, basically smelled more like rind than melon. I also didn't feel it but the innards appeared to be slimy looking. I think that hollow cavity was full of water. There is another one out there just like it I believe. It is past its due date too but I also have 2 more that might just be ripe then.

The bottom had a bit of yellowing. I've been growing mine on rocks for the past few years so the yellowing thing doesn't seem to work the same as if it were laying on dirt. I've found growing them on rocks mostly eliminates fungal problems unless it comes up through the roots like verticillium wilt.

Maybe I should forget the hollow sound thing and dry tendril thing then? I have more out there and I can examine and take more pics after I get my beans canned.
 
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I didn't taste it but it smelled like an under ripe watermelon, basically smelled more like rind than melon. I also didn't feel it but the innards appeared to be slimy looking. I think that hollow cavity was full of water. There is another one out there just like it I believe. It is past its due date too but I also have 2 more that might just be ripe then.

The bottom had a bit of yellowing. I've been growing mine on rocks for the past few years so the yellowing thing doesn't seem to work the same as if it were laying on dirt. I've found growing them on rocks mostly eliminates fungal problems unless it comes up through the roots like verticillium wilt.

Maybe I should forget the hollow sound thing and dry tendril thing then? I have more out there and I can examine and take more pics after I get my beans canned.
I don't know if this applies to you or not but check out Hollow Heart Watermelon. This might be the entire problem.
 

Meadowlark

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...Maybe I should forget the hollow sound thing and dry tendril thing then? I have more out there and I can examine and take more pics after I get my beans canned.
Those watermelons can be tricky but green beans...it's the perfect time of year to can some great tasting green beans. I have about 10 more quarts to go. For some reason, they taste best this time of year instead of spring, IMO.

canned green beans.JPG
 
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I don't know if this applies to you or not but check out Hollow Heart Watermelon. This might be the entire problem.

Hmmm. I did have a mild case of hollow heart in my beets in late Spring. In the back of my mind it seemed like the same thing. I haven't really research it much but I'm guessing it is the same pathogen, just affecting watermelons?
 
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Hmmm. I did have a mild case of hollow heart in my beets in late Spring. In the back of my mind it seemed like the same thing. I haven't really research it much but I'm guessing it is the same pathogen, just affecting watermelons?
Hollow heart in watermelons is a pollination problem sort of like fat pointy end cucumbers when they are improperly pollinated. Interior cracked beets is caused by a sudden influx of water OR a boron deficiency. Have you changed planting locations?
 
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Here is my setup.

20220929_180040.jpg 20220929_180058.jpg

In the right pic, the top watermermelon (younger) thumps hollow, the bottom one (older) thumps a dead sound. Total difference in sound. Neither tendril is dried up.

Here are the watermelons rolled over.
Top melon:
20220929_180156.jpg
Bottom melon:
20220929_180129.jpg
 
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Hollow heart in watermelons is a pollination problem sort of like fat pointy end cucumbers when they are improperly pollinated. Interior cracked beets is caused by a sudden influx of water OR a boron deficiency. Have you changed planting locations?
I think your on to something. I have cucumbers right there on a trellis (you might kinda see a leaf on the left) and this year the cucumbers have mostly become fat and pointy on the blossom end, this year only. No I haven't moved those around. I made that a few years ago just for those plantings and those are the only things that went in there.
 
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Here is a cucumber speak of and to add another fact to the matter, the pollination in this area was crappy all year long. Not sure what the problem was.
20220929_191029.jpg
 
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I think your on to something. I have cucumbers right there on a trellis (you might kinda see a leaf on the left) and this year the cucumbers have mostly become fat and pointy on the blossom end, this year only. No I haven't moved those around. I made that a few years ago just for those plantings and those are the only things that went in there.
Well, I guess that settles that. Improper pollination is the culprit.
Here is a cucumber speak of and to add another fact to the matter, the pollination in this area was crappy all year long. Not sure what the problem was.
View attachment 93044
Mine was bad during the first part of the season but it turned into a normal pattern after about a month. I had plenty of pollinators but the weather was so dry it did something to the pollen but then we got a little rain and changed things.
 
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Yes I think you are right.

About 50 yards away is my garden that had other type of cucurbits of yellow squash, butternut squash, red kuri squash, honey boat squash, and not to mention corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okra. They all had good pollination down there. Just that one location sucked.
 
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The watermelon in the top left portion of the pic was ripe and great tasting. It sat upon a big rock the whole time, sandstone I think. No white/yellow spot or hardly even a blemsih on the bottom of the fruit, tendril was still green, thumping sound was hollow. So if the hollow sound isn't dependable, then there must not be a 100% reliable way to really know.

I thought about writing the date on the melon when it starts to swell with a sharpie and try to figure up the days till ripeness after that. Do you see anything wrong with that method?
 
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The watermelon in the top left portion of the pic was ripe and great tasting. It sat upon a big rock the whole time, sandstone I think. No white/yellow spot or hardly even a blemsih on the bottom of the fruit, tendril was still green, thumping sound was hollow. So if the hollow sound isn't dependable, then there must not be a 100% reliable way to really know.

I thought about writing the date on the melon when it starts to swell with a sharpie and try to figure up the days till ripeness after that. Do you see anything wrong with that method?
Nothing wrong I can think of except finding a sharpie that the ink doesn't dissappear.
 
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Yea that might be a problem. The writing may get distorted as the melon grows. Maybe tag it like a cow?
 
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Yea that might be a problem. The writing may get distorted as the melon grows. Maybe tag it like a cow?
I have tried every Marks Alot and Sharpie known to mankind and none of them work a complete season outside in the weather. At least I haven't found one.
 
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I worked as a watermelon picker 1 summer after I graduated from high school. They told us, roll the melon over, if the bottom is yellow pick it, If bottom is white roll it back. I have learned to pick melons the same way in my garden then I leave melons in the kitchen 3 to 5 days to get riper before cutting it. Make sure bottom of melons set flat on the soil to block sunlight so melon can turn yellow. I am 30 miles south of Nashville TN area I grow good watermelons and good cantaloupes. Cantaloupes turn yellow too when ripe and stim breaks off very easy. I plant a 25 foot row of melons seed spacing 12" apart in FULL sum. I had about 30 ripe watermelons this summer and cantaloups too. Melons love hot blistering 100° sun all day.

20689902_266335867199030_7023770544645120641_o.jpg
 
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I worked as a watermelon picker 1 summer after I graduated from high school. They told us, roll the melon over, if the bottom is yellow pick it, If bottom is white roll it back.

That just doesn't apply when they are grown on rocks (pea gravel). I've pondered over "the signs" the last few watermelons I picked. The last one barely had any discoloring on the bottom and it was almost overripe but it was very very good, best one I've eaten in a long time. If I grow watermelons or cantaloupes on dirt then some type of soil borne disease eats it first. The gravel inhibits the soil borne disease but has its draw backs too.

That is a nice weed free melon patch you have there, by the way.
 
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That just doesn't apply when they are grown on rocks (pea gravel). I've pondered over "the signs" the last few watermelons I picked. The last one barely had any discoloring on the bottom and it was almost overripe but it was very very good, best one I've eaten in a long time. If I grow watermelons or cantaloupes on dirt then some type of soil borne disease eats it first. The gravel inhibits the soil borne disease but has its draw backs too.

That is a nice weed free melon patch you have there, by the way.
I often set melons on a board. Roll the melon over, put a board on the soil, roll the melon back so it sets on the board. If we get rain melons are quick to rot setting in mud. Sometimes I set melons on potting soil or saw dust or anything to keep them from rotting on the bottom side.
 
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