The Produce Blue Book asservates that watermelon isn't grown in the US from Dec-Mar. Why not?

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This website says the same thing for the US from Dec-Mar.

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  • FYI, large-scale agriculture questions are off-topic, but I personally think the question benefits gardeners, too. Oct 19, 2021 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


Most melons (including watermelons) are warm weather crops. Watermelon needs consistent 80+ degrees F, 8+ hours of bright sunny days to get the energy to synthesize sugars for the fruit to be sweet. Most need 60 (small 5lb icebox varieties) to 90 days (10+ lbs) of full sun and heat to ripen. Some of the biggest varieties may need close to 4 months of summer weather.

Watermelons aren't grown because in the northern US, it freezes them to death--and in the southern US, it doesn't get enough heat and sunlight to grow well and be economical. It might be possible in Hawaii, or Guam or Puerto Rico, but their economies don't need it.

  • Fruit size doesn't always correspond neatly with ripening time, although the largest fruits do sometimes noticeably take a lot longer to ripen (since they keep growing and growing, whereas smaller ones might grow for a shorter period). Ripening time depends on the variety more than the average fruit size, though. Verona, for example, can get a good size, but it's earlier than most, in my experience. They might not have the same maturity in every area, though; it might be 70 days in one area and 80 in another, for instance. Tiny watermelons can be super late, on occasion. Oct 19, 2021 at 7:32
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    That's right. I know it's more complex but this is just a generic rule of thumb to simplify the idea. The day count I mentioned should hold true across most cultivars in the same environment. Larger melons will tend to grow larger to be able to support the larger fruit. It needs the root system to transport more water and more leaves to make sugars. As I mentioned, it's based on temp-days, so the same plant will grow slower and ripen slower if the temps are lower (all else being equal).
    – Josh
    Nov 22, 2021 at 1:30

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