We picked our very first watermelon last week! It was actually our first melon ever. Melons are big plants and this year I finally found the space for not only one but six plants. We planted two Hearts of Gold cantaloupes and two Sugar Baby watermelons at our house and one of each at our community garden plot. I also volunteer at the community garden and while I was there last week I ran into a volunteer buddy of mine. During our walk around the garden we came to my plot and he noticed a watermelon ready to be picked.
I mentioned that I’d never grown watermelons so he took a closer look and was very certain that it should be picked within a few days. I had been meaning to reread the seed packet to verify the expected size but I hadn’t gotten around to it. He is someone who has been gardening for longer than I’ve been alive and is very well respected in our town so I took his suggestion and ran with it.
For the next week, we tried to find a time to get the family down to the community garden to harvest our very first watermelon. The girls were so excited! The night finally came and they could hardly wait to eat it for dessert. We all took pictures with our beautiful watermelon and then hurried home to cut it open. And what did we find?
Uh oh! It was not even close to ripe. The tears started to flow. The girls were crushed. No watermelon for a treat before bed. I reassured them that we had more growing so we had more chances for enjoying homegrown watermelons. I also reassured them that the next day was grocery shopping day and I would buy a watermelon for them.
It was only then that I checked the seed packet and of course it was way too small to be picked. It was the same size as the small personal watermelons in the grocery store which was what I was expecting. However, Sugar Baby watermelons get quite a bit bigger than those. Our baby weighed in at about 3 ½ lbs which is right on target with those grocery store ones but Sugar Baby is supposed to be about 6-10 lbs. Oops!
So it turns out that the old pros who have shared so much gardening knowledge and wisdom with us can sometimes be wrong. I am really kicking myself for not double checking the seed packet. I know better than that and it would’ve only taken a minute or two.
And to add one more fail to this story…Remember that watermelon I promised to get the girls from the grocery store? Yep, I forgot it.