How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon
Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size.
Look at the underside of the watermelon. It should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened.
You cannot tell if a watermelon is ripe by thumping, however thumping can tell you if it is overripe or bruised inside. Find one with a low toned ring and reject any with a dead thump when you slap it lightly.
How a Watermelon is Grown?
You need three things to grow watermelon: sun, bees and water. Farmers generally grow watermelon in rows, 8-12 feet apart, in raised beds 4-12 inches high composed of fertilized sand or sandy loam.
Tiny watermelon plants from a transplant nursery can be implanted in the beds. Honeybees must pollinate the yellow watermelon blossom. Even the sterile, seedless watermelon requires pollination in order to fruit. In a month, a vine may spread to as much as 6-8 feet. Within 60 days, the vine produces its first watermelons. The crop is ready to harvest within 3 months.
The rind of a watermelon is not as tough as it looks, so it is still handpicked. Watermelon pickers look for a pale or buttery yellow spot on the bottom, indicating ripeness. Many watermelon pickers have their own tricks or hand-me-down methods; however, we look for the yellow belly ground spot just like the pickers do.
Where do Seedless Watermelon Come From?
Seedless watermelons were invented over 50 years ago, and they have few or no seeds. When we say seeds, we are talking about mature seeds, the black ones. Often times, the white seed coats where a seed did not mature are assumed to be seeds. But this isn’t the case! They are perfectly safe to swallow while eating, and don’t worry – no seeds will grow in your stomach.
So, how are seedless watermelons grown? Chromosomes are the building blocks that give characteristics, or traits, to living things including plants and watermelons. Watermelon breeders discovered that crossing a diploid plant (bearing the standard two sets of chromosomes) with a tetraploid plant (having four sets of chromosomes) results in a fruit that produces a triploid seed. (Yes, it has three sets of chromosomes). This triploid seed is the seed that produces seedless watermelons!
In other words, a seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This is similar to the mule, produced by crossing a horse with a donkey. This process does not involve genetic modification.