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What-ermelon? Four Tips to Choosing the Best Watermelons!

One of the most refreshing and delightful staples that people love to eat and enjoy during summer is watermelons. Fortunately, Mitchell’s Nursery grows some of the most delicious types you’ll find, which we’ll explore below. 

However, if you want a watermelon faster than you can grow it, you might find yourself heading to your local farmer’s market. In that case, we’ve got you covered as well, as we want to dispel some popular myths about what to look for when purchasing a watermelon.

First, let’s dive into the types of watermelon plants that we offer at Mitchell’s Nursery: Charleston Gray, Crimson Sweet, Jubilee, and Sugar Baby.

Charleston Gray

Charleston Gray is an extremely delicious heirloom variety that produces large cylindrical fruits, having greenish-gray skin. This open-pollinated picnic variety’s sweet red flesh is fiberless and crisp. The hard rind of the fruit allows it to keep longer by protecting the fruit from external damages. 

The weight of each fruit reaches a maximum of 28 to 35 pounds when they’re ready to be picked: so you better be prepared to eat some fresh watermelon this summer if you pick this cultivar to grow in your yard. 

The maximum height of each plant reaches 15 -24 inches and needs to be thinned 36 inches apart. This way, the plant can spread from 75 to 96 inches. The hardy nature of this cultivar makes it resistant to common diseases like fusarium wilt and anthracnose. This variety also performs well against sunburn and allows you to harvest the crop in 85 days. 

Charleston Gray
Crimson Sweet

Crimson Sweet is also an open-pollinated variety that is a top choice for many gardeners, and for good reasons—it’s extremely delicious, disease-resistant, and productive. 

Its skin color is light green with dark green stripes, and the weight of each mature fruit reaches around 25-35 pounds.

The flesh of the Crimson Sweet variety is dark red, with fine texture and dark seeds. The high sugar content in this variety contributes to its delicious sweet flavor. The height of the plant increases vigorously, reaching 15-24 inches, and is also resistant to diseases like fusarium wilt and anthracnose. With its short duration to reach maturity, you’ll be able to enjoy these sweet juicy fruits in just 80 days.

Crimson Sweet

This variety features oblong fruits of 24-40 pounds with crisp and flavorful flesh. Jubilee watermelon often requires around 90 days to reach maturity. The rind of the fruit is dark green with pale green stripes. They require a long growing season, so it’s best to start the seeds indoor, approximately 3-4 weeks before the last frost.

Jubilee watermelons are extremely resistant to wilt, making them less likely to be infected by the disease. The hard rind also makes them resistant to breakage, making them ideal for shipping. Their long growing season can take 90-95 days to reach maturity, but the sweetest taste of the fruit makes it worth the wait.

Sugar Baby

As the name indicates, these watermelons have a Brix measurement of 10.2, making them one of the sweetest watermelon varieties. It is also an incredibly productive grower, providing you a lot of fruits in the harvesting season

These are perfect for small families and are also small enough to fit in the icebox. The weight of a single fruit is around 8-10 pounds and 7-8 inches in size; the color of rind is either medium green with dark veins or dark green with slight dark veins. The texture of the flesh is crisp, mottled with few black seeds. 

Sugar Baby

 How to Select a Watermelon at the Store or Farmer’s Market

If you have always found yourself confused near a basket of watermelons, wondering which one to pick because they all seem alike, you’re not alone! Picking just the right watermelon takes a little detective work. Check our four amazing tips to make sure that you choose the sweetest of all every time you go watermelon shopping. Here’s how to do it:

  • Feel the size

Small or big, the fruit should feel heavy for its size. A watermelon fruit develops a splotch when they sit on the ground, so look for a yellow spot. If this splotch looks creamy yellow, it means it is ripe. 

  • Check for a uniform shape

Some watermelons are oblong, and some are round, and either is fine. But if you see irregular bumps on the rind, this shows the melon may have received an inconsistent amount of water or sunlight.

  • Spots are a good sign

Dry spots and vein-like webbing are great signs of extra sweet fruit. These spots show areas where sugar has been seeping out of the watermelon. Make sure to check all sides of the fruit before buying one.

  • Give it a thump

Tap the lower side of a watermelon; a ripe fruit will have a deep hollow sound that indicates it is fully ripened and is brimming with juice. An under-ripe or over-ripe melon will sound dull.

The Myth about Boy vs. Girl Watermelons

One myth says a way to pick the best watermelon fruit is by determining whether it’s a boy or a girl. But the truth is there are no boy fruits. A fruit is developed from the fertilization of the ovules of a female flower. A watermelon plant produces separate male and female flowers. Pollens from the male flowers reach the female flower, usually by honey bees. After pollination, fertilization of each ovule occurs, and the female flower develops into a fruit. So if you want to gender specify your fruit, you can call all of these girl watermelons. Their overall shape says nothing about whats inside. 

Final Words:

Choose a watermelon variety according to the area you live in and the size, shape, flesh color, and taste you like the most. There are a lot of varieties that you can experiment with in your garden. And if you just want to buy one from a store—or better yet, your local farmer’s market—we have also mentioned easy methods to pick one. Enjoy the heat of this summer with the coolness and sweetness of this delicious fruit!