Kenyans love watermelons! During the dry season you will find most people buying and eating watermelons from vendors along the road. For most beginner watermelon farmers in Kenya it is really hard to know if a watermelon is ready for harvest or not without cutting it. Here are a few tips to help beginner farmers in Kenya identify and select the ripe watermelons to harvest and take to your local market.
Field Spot/Yellow Spot
When a watermelon rests on the round it develops a yellow spot known as the field spot. While every watermelon has a field spot, the best watermelons have creamy-yellow or even orange-yellow spots. However, if the spot is white or pale green, the melon has not matured.
Thump the watermelon lightly with your hand. If you hear a hollow, dull thump, the watermelon is usually ripe. This technique will take practice and may not be always correct, as it does not indicate if the melon is overripe. If the watermelon is unripe, the sound will be tighter with a metallic ringing.
A very green tendril indicates an unripe melon. If the tendril is curled near the steam and starts to dry up, and the watermelon is harvested at this point, it should be ripe.
In a ripe watermelon, the area near the stem develops small cracks. If the stem appears half dead, the watermelon could be just ripe and if the stem is completely dead, it could mean the watermelon has been spoilt by fungus, has ripened or over-ripened.
Select a few watermelons of the same size and weigh them. The ripe one usually contains more than 90% water and is heavier. Pick the one which feels like the heaviest of the lot.
If you are still unsure with one method you can combine all the factors to give out a more accurate analysis for your watermelons.