September 22, 2016

Harvesting watermelon

Harvests generally begin about 30 days after full bloom and continue for several weeks with 3 to 4 cuttings at 3 to 5 day intervals.

Harvesting watermelon at the right time takes some practice and knowledge of what size chosen cultivar should be when ripe.

Ripeness in watermelon is difficult to determine because the fruit remains attached to the vine, rather than ‘slipping’ off.

The most common way by which people traditionally determine watermelon ripeness includes knocking on the fruits and to assess the ripeness using the reflected sound. The flesh of a typical-fleshed watermelon changes from immature pink to red-ripe, and then to overripe within a 10 to 14 day harvest window.

Overripe fruits have a watery mushy texture and lower sugar. Ripe fruits are cut from the vine, leaving a 1-2 in stem. A field is harvested 2 to 6 times by hand at weekly intervals, depending on watermelon price, density of plants, and quality of plants.

Harvested fruits are lifted from the field by hand. They may be tossed from person to person down a row until placed in a truck bed or onto a conveyor belt system and conveyed to trucks.
Harvesting watermelon

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