Thursday, September 24, 2009

How To Pick a Watermelon

“Ha!” is probably what you’re thinking. To pick a watermelon, all you do is find a ripe one and pull it off of its vine. Trust me, it’s not that easy.

This year, for the first time in my life I planted two watermelon vines. I watched them grow all season (and invade my backyard lawn). Delightedly, I saw that each vine had one watermelon fruit on it. I was sure to water the watermelon vines when the weather was dry (or at least beg my husband to do so). Then came the conundrum. When to pick the fruit?

Of course, I had no idea when I planted the vines or how long my particular plants took until harvest. My best-laid plans of a detailed garden diary were long forgotten by now. I was faced with two tiny green watermelons and no pick date.

Hmm? I could knock on the fruit to see whether they would give a hollow ring or a dull thud. However, even if they gave me a certain sound, I wasn’t sure what the correct ripeness sound even would be.

I feared picking them too soon lest the watermelons not be ripe enough and all my efforts in raising them would be in vain. Like with most other things in my life, I procrastinated. I watched the watermelons, but they oddly did not seem to be increasing in size. Still not sure what to do, I waited some more.

Today however, while walking through my garden, I freaked. The watermelons leaves were gone! The stems were gone! What happened to my melons?! I searched around among the larger leaves (as they had been growing into my pumpkin vines). Sure enough, I found two small watermelons looking as green and cute as they had always been. However, their leaves and stems were quite dead. Guess what? I picked the watermelons.

I brought them inside, washed the outside of both, and took a knife to the first one. Inside it was bright red with a gazillion seeds. The true test of a watermelon? It’s the taste. I took a small bite (and I mean small as each of the watermelons only had four-inch diameters!). It was sweet. My discovery? That’s how to pick a water melon.