I tend to be skeptical when someone tells me about a natural remedy, a sure-fire get rich scheme or a new way to tell when a watermelon is ripe. But over the weekend, I heard a new watermelon picking procedure that had me vowing that I had to try it out for myself.
The new-to-me idea is to take a piece of straw or hay and lay it across the whole melon cross-way from the stem in the middle of the melon. This can be done while it is still on the vine or after it has been picked (like at the store). If the piece of straw, like a compass needle swivels and points to the stem, the melon is ripe. She even pulled out her phone and showed me a video of the straw moving around to point to the stem.
I do not even attempt to grow melons in my garden because the odds of getting a ripe one are not good. The hills on the West and East of the farm cause just a few minutes less sunlight during the summer months than those in the Willamette Valley and the elevation at 1000 feet means that our hot days are just not that hot. But I was very anxious to try this test.
So I took myself to the local store and tried it for myself. I filled my eyeglass case with hay and straw (how else would you carry it?) and headed for the melons.
I didn’t see the straw move at all, so I tried another melon. Nothing. Next I tried a piece of hay. Then a longer piece of straw, and a shorter one, and several melons. Nothing. Then I switched to a radical idea and tried honeydew thinking that cantaloupe would not work because of all the little bumps.
I now had hay and straw sitting on about 20 different melons and a crowd of people watching. A lot of hay and straw fell off the melons and fell to the bottom of the big cribs but not one turned to show me any of them were ripe.
So now I ask you dear readers, if you take some straw and try this for yourself and it works, I want to hear about it!