Unfortunately, the best way to learn is to pull a lot of them. I look for a combination of the following; Dulling of the skin on the melon, very browned tendrils near the stem, yellowing (on some types whitening) of the belly, and a hollow sound when thumped. Seems like every type of melon has slightly different combinations of these characteristics so there really is no sure fire methods that I know of. The thumping technique is the most accurate in my opinion but takes a lot of practice; if you think a melon is ripe thump or knock on it and then compare to a slightly smaller melon that you know is not ripe to give you a reference "sound". Even with all these hints, pulling watermelons is an art; When growing melons for the first time, you may want to try "Black Diamond"; easy to grow, taste good, and when the belly turns yellow, they are ready. I have read that melons will ripen some after pulling but at a much lower quality than if vine ripened. Melons ripen from the but end first and most will have black seeds when fully ripe. What kind of melons are you growing?
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