Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
For dessert, nothing says summer quite like a juicy, sweet watermelon. Gardeners with limited space can enjoy the healthy summer treat from their garden thanks to the smaller size “Sugar Baby” watermelon (Citrullus lanatus ‘Sugar Baby).
The cool, sweet watermelon can make it difficult to wait and can leave you wondering how to tell when your Sugar Baby watermelon is ready for picking. You can also count the days until maturity. Signs of maturity include the appearance and sound of the tendrils, color, and sound.
How Many Days Till the Watermelon’s Maturity
Sugar Baby watermelon needs 60 to 90 days of warm weather to grow ripe melons 10 pounds in weight. If you live in frost-free areas, you can plant them outside in February or March once the danger of frost has passed. The soil should be at least 70°F.
If you live in cooler climates, wait for the weather to warm up before planting. You can extend the growing season by starting the seeds indoors 3-to 4 weeks before the last frost. Then, transplant outside when the daytime temperatures reach 70-80°F and the nighttime temperatures are 65-65°F. Sugar Baby varieties reach maturity in about 80 days. This means that the first harvest can be made as early as May and continue into June.
Color of the Watermelon
Gardeners can tell when watermelon is ready to harvest. However, the changing color of the rind is an indicator of maturity. It will turn from bright green to dull green and then become tough, making it difficult to penetrate.
A watermelon’s belly will change from light green to yellow when it touches the ground. Watermelons ripen within the last two weeks and do not continue to sweeten after being picked. Be sure to watch for color changes to help you decide when to pick.
Sound of the Watermelon
Test a watermelon’s readiness to be harvested by tapping it with a knuckle. This method is based on a low-pitched, hollow sound that produces a slight give. A dull thud sounds as could indicate overripe and mushy watermelon.
Another indicator that a watermelon’s time is up is the condition of its tendrils close to the fruit stem. The fruit is ready to pick when the tendrils are still green at the attachment point. However, if they turn brown and dry out, it’s harvest time. The fruit will not ripen further if the tendrils are fully dried out once it has reached this point. Harvest the fruit as soon as possible.