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Old October 11, 2016   #7
shule1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Southwestern Idaho (zones 4–6)
Posts: 689

I usually just watch the tendril (it seems waiting a couple days after it shrivels is sometimes a good idea), but knocking on it helps, too. Also, they're almost always ripe if the spider mites and/or anthracnose kill the plants, regardless of their size or maturity. I have found a few exceptions, though.

Originally Posted by mamaboog View Post
Dried/brown/withered tendril and spoon leaf has worked for me in NC with Ledmon, Ali Baba, and Strawberry melon watermelons.
I just picked a Ledmon watermelon, today. I think maybe it was a mutant, because it was ribbed (like some cantaloupe are), and it was hollow (like cantaloupe are, with the seeds being in the middle, mostly), but it didn't appear to have the hollow heart design at all. Some of the loose flesh in the middle toward the seeds had a soft, squid-like texture that was very interesting (but those portions weren't sweet). The really interesting thing was that it was sweet right under the skin (I used a carrot peeler to try peeling it, and I tasted some of the rind right under the skin I had managed to peel off; other watermelons I've peeled peeled easily, but this one, not so much; peeling them makes them easy to mince with a pull-string food-chopper for relish, dips and stuff). It had kind of a leathery-looking skin that was pretty cool. It was about 20lbs, but it was much larger than you might expect due to it being hollow. It didn't split open as easily as other Ledmon watermelons I've grown. It was quite sweet, but didn't have the same taste as a much smaller, non-hollow, non-ribbed, non-leathery-skinned Ledmon watermelon that I harvested earlier in the season (that one was the best-tasting watermelon I had ever had). These were both second-year melons; so, they could have been crossed with one of the following: Jubilee, Mississippi Cobb Gem, Fairfax, Congo, Tom Watson, Red-seeded Citron (none of which are ribbed, or matched any of the departures from the regular Ledmon, to my knowledge, except it did taste a bit more like Fairfax did last year).

Anyway, I was watching the tendril, but I think it had shriveled some time ago and it just looked like it was still alive due to the thickness and the light or something, since one day I noticed it was dried out, and the next it looked alive again (but when I felt it, it was dry). I wonder if that's just what Ledmon watermelons look like when they're over-ripe. The flesh was still crisp, though (except nearer the center, where it was soft, smooth and cohesive like a squid in texture).

The seeds looked like Ledmon seeds (large; white), but some of them looked unusual in shape.

I noticed a very tiny bit of netting on the rind (like a cantaloupe, except just a bit of it), too. I don't know if that's normal. It sure didn't taste like a cantaloupe, though.

I think it's possible that plants sometimes take cues from each other (without being cross-pollinated). I don't know if this is an instance of that, though.

Just as a note, since I couldn't peel the rind to mince it afterward, I decided to freeze the rind so I could thaw it (so it would be soft and juicy), and then to blend it up to drink like a green smoothie or something (for the nutrients). I figure if it is frozen and thawed, it should blend up much more easily. So, I didn't just throw the rind out.

I grew Ali Baba this year, too. It was decent for a first-year melon.

Last edited by shule1; October 11, 2016 at 05:07 AM.
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