Watermelons can take 90 to 100 days to maturity. That’s a long time when you’re craving that sweet, juiciness and beautiful scent of a ripe melon. Cole’s Early will be ripe and ready in just 80 days, shaving a week or more off your wait time. What is a Cole’s Early melon? This watermelon has pretty pink flesh and the characteristic flavor of the tastiest of these fruits.
Cole’s Early Watermelon Info
Watermelons have a long and storied history of cultivation. Some of the first mention of the fruits as a crop appeared more than 5,000 years ago. Egyptian hieroglyphics contain pictorials of watermelon as part of the food placed in tombs. With over 50 varieties in cultivation today, there is a flavor, size and even color for almost any taste. Growing Cole’s Early watermelon will expose you to a pastel fleshed version and early season ripeness.
There are four main types of watermelon: icebox, picnic, seedless and yellow or orange. Cole’s Early is considered an icebox because it is a smaller melon, easily stored in the refrigerator. They are bred to be just enough for a small family or single person. These diminutive melons grow to just 9 or 10 pounds, most of which is water weight.
Cole’s Early watermelon info indicates the variety was introduced in 1892. It is not considered a good shipping melon because the rind is thin and the fruits tend to break, but in the home garden, growing Cole’s Early watermelon will have you enjoying the taste of summer more quickly than many melon varieties.
How to Grow Cole’s Early Melon
The Cole’s Early melon will develop vines that are 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 m.) long, so select a site with plenty of space. Melons need full sun, well-draining, nutrient rich soil and consistent water during establishment and fruiting.
Start seeds directly outside in warm regions or plant indoors 6 weeks before the date of your last frost. Melons can tolerate moderately alkaline to acidic soil. They grow best when soil temperatures are 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 C.) and have no frost tolerance. In fact, where soils are only 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C.), the plants will simply stop growing and will not fruit.
Harvesting Cole’s Early Watermelon
Watermelons are one of the fruits that do not ripen after they have been picked, so you really have to have your timing just right. Pick them too early and they are white and tasteless. Harvest too late and they have little storage life and the flesh may have gotten “sugared” and grainy.
The thumping method is a wives’ tale because all melons will give off a loud thud and only those who have tapped thousands of melons can reliably determine ripeness by sound. One indicator of a ripe watermelon is when the part touching the ground turns from white to yellow. Next, check the little tendrils closest to the stem. If they are dried up and turning brown, the melon is perfect and should be enjoyed immediately.