Tastigold Melon Care: Planting Tastigold Watermelon Vines

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

If you’ve never sampled a Tastigold watermelon, you’re in for a big surprise. On the outside, Tastigold melons look much like any other melon – light green with dark green stripes. However, the inside of a watermelon Tastigold variety isn’t the usual bright red, but a beautiful shade of yellow. Interested in giving it a try? Read on and learn how to grow Tastigold watermelons.

Tastigold Watermelon Info

Similar in shape to most other watermelons, Tastigold melons may be round or oblong, and the weight, at 20 pounds (9 kg.), is also about average. Some people think the flavor is slightly sweeter than standard melons, but you’ll have to try them for yourself.

The only significant difference between Tastigold melons and standard red watermelons is the bright yellow color, which is attributed to the absence of lycopene, the red carotenoid pigment found in tomatoes and many other fruit and berries.

How to Grow Tastigold Melons

Growing Tastigold melons in the garden is much like growing any other watermelon. Here’s some tips on Tastigold melon care:

Plant Tastigold melons directly in the garden in spring, at least two to three weeks after your last average frost date. Melon seeds need warmth to trigger germination. If you live in a climate with a short growing season, you may want to get started a little earlier by purchasing seedlings at a garden center or by starting seeds indoors. Be sure the seeds have ample light and warmth.

Prepare a spot where the seeds (or seedlings) have plenty of room to grow; Tastigold watermelon vines can reach lengths up to 20 feet (6 m.).

Loosen the soil, then dig in a generous amount of compost, manure or other organic matter. Also, a handful of slow-release fertilizer gets the plants off to a good start. Form the soil into small mounds spaced 8 to 10 feet (2 m.) apart.

Cover the planting area with black plastic to keep the soil warm and moist, then secure the plastic with rocks or landscaping staples. (If you prefer not to use plastic, you can mulch the plants when they’re a few inches tall.) Cut slits in the plastic and plant three or four seeds in each mound, about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) deep.

Water as needed to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, until the seeds sprout. Thereafter, water the area every week to 10 days, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Use a hose or drip irrigation system to water at ground level; wet foliage invites a number of harmful plant diseases.

Thin the seedlings to the two sturdiest plants in each mound when the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm.) tall.

Fertilize Tastigold melons regularly once the vines begin to spread using a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer. Be careful the fertilizer doesn’t touch the leaves and always water well immediately after fertilizing.

Stop watering Tastigold watermelon plants about 10 days before the melons are ready to harvest. Withholding water at this point results in crisper, sweeter melons.

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Watermelon Woes. or not?

I was going to ask why my watermelon had split before it was mature, and how to help the rest of them. Well turns out it was ripe (and delicious) just very small. This is a variety called Long Milky Way, but it wasn't. Long. It was about a foot from end to end. I didn't think it was any where near ready, the seeds were planted in mid April, so maybe it was enough time after all. My Sugar Babies don't seem to have grown much, either, and are about softball sized. I didn't get to check them, as I left this morning, and won't be home for over a week. Is it possible they're ripe, as well? I don't mind the small size, I really couldn't figure our how two people were going to eat even one huge melon.
Any advice or Watermelon Wisdom?

Not familiar with Long Milky Way, but any watermelon planted in mid April should be ripe by now. Some cultivars are prone to splitting, Tastigold is the worst that I have tried. Sugar Babies normally get about the size of a shot. ( That's the iron ball used in the Olympic shot put, bigger than a softball but about half the size of a basketball.) Sugar Baby is not an early melon, but should ripening by now. The tendril should be brown and dry and the underside turned yellow. These were lined up to use in the watermelon shot put at the Tom Watson Watermelon Festival.

When you say the tendril should be brown and dry, do you mean the stem where it is attached to the vine?

No, it is small thin vine like growth that curls on the end. The old folks would say its ripe when the curl dies. Sort of looks like a pigstail. This one is green, when it dries up, the melon is ripe

With this one the melon is ripe.

Thanks. Going out tomorrow morning to look at the tendril. I have a Sugar Baby melon that is the size to be ripe.

Farmerdill, thanks! Great tip! Is there a similar tip to indicate when cantaloupe is ripe?

Cantaloupes slip ( turn loose of the vine when ripe) Exception is the Charantais melons, I don't grow them, but suspect that you have to watch for a color change. Color cahnge also occurs with regular cantaloupes, but the best way is just to pick up the cantaloupe, It it releases from the vine it is ripe.

So, when you say the tendrils dry up, does that mean they all have to be brown, or just the ones closest to the watermelon? I have sugar babies that are now about the size of softballs. they've grown so quickly! I think it was last week I saw the starts of watermelons. I watered that night, the next day they were noticeably larger. like from the size of a grape to the size of an egg. I started mine late(I think mid June). Do they reach the mature size, and then ripen. or by the time they get to the mature size they're pretty much ready?

Only the tendral where the watermelon attaches to the vine counts. It takes roughly five weeks from bloom to ripe.

Thanks for the info Farmerdill!

Well, I waited until a tendril was dried up closest to the watermelon and picked it, but it wasn't done. IT still tastes ok, but it was pink and doesn't have any black seeds. any other way of deciding when they're done? I only have two left, so I wanna get it right! Thanks for any help.

With the exception of Sugar Baby which can be tricky, the dry tendril always works for me. The other signs are a changing of the color on the bottom. The green melons getting a yellow spot, white melons getting somewhat creamy looking. The sheen on the rind also dulls, the old folks called it losing the frost. Lastly a ripe melon has a more dull sound when thumped. It takes a little experience I guess, I have not mised in the last 35 years, but did a few unripe ones when I was younger. If you are growing Sugar baby or one of its derivatives, you might take Indy's advice and wait a week or 10 days after the tendril dies.
Edited to add. Some watermelons have pink flesh and watermelon seeds come in several colors from white to tan to black.

This message was edited Aug 12, 2007 8:26 AM

Well, they have almost always had a discoloration on the bottom. some form of yellow that has always been noticeable. they are dark green and the one I picked was definately dull. I tasted it, and it wasn't bad, tasted like a really sweet melon closer to the rind. The watermelon seeds I planted were kinda brownish, so I'm assuming the mature seeds would be the same. I am still going to eat my melon, just hoping for better luck next time. Oh, and when I hit the melon, it sounded hollow pretty much. It has been very hot here and I haven't been watering as much as I probably should have. perhaps this caused the tendrils to dry up sooner? Oh, also instead of it being watering, it was thicker. almost sappy. But, I hadn't had it in the refrigerator long enough to cool. maybe then the juice wouldn't be so thick? So, just in case. can you let a melon go too long and it be bad?

Thanks for all the help, and sorry about all the questions!

They give a pretty long window of opportunity, A couple of weeks to a month depending on conditions and cultivars. They tend to lose thier crispness. Some cultivars by getting watery hearts, In others the hearts get dry and seperate from the seeds.

Thanks! I think if I have a larger time table to get them after they're ripe, I'd rather pick them late than early. Thanks for the help!

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Yes. Orangeglo is an excellent melon. Flavor is competitive with Tendersweet. Biggest drawback is a soft brittle rind. Never had one split in the patch, but it has to be handled with kid gloves. It also is a long season melon. Golden Honey is a much smaller melon, but much earlier, and will take some handling just like Tendersweet.
Golden Honey
Orangeglo. Great late melon but hard to transport.

Wayne_5 zone 5b/6a Central Indiana

I have grown Gold Strike. and properly raised and ripened, it is delicious.

Orangeglo has never cracked on me at all and is delicious too. It did have some hollowheart this year, but usually doesn't. I got an early fruit this year from Orangeglo by hand pollinating. This melon is one vigorous grower.

I raised Tenersweet once and it had hollowheart and mine wasn't as good as the other golds.

Tendergold can be great too.

I plan to try a couple new golds for me next year. Pure Orange and Orange Sunshine.

If a person does plant a seedless, Sweet Slice Plus is a healthy grower and can be very good tasting. at least my 25 pounder was. I gave the rest away.


Tendergold is good. Very similar to Tendersweet Orange, which I still prefer.
The only yellow meater that I have ever grown, that was a big dissapoitment was Tastigold. Flavor and production was fine. But fully a third of the melons split in the patch. Had a few duds in Red meaters. Matador and Royal Golden being the worst.
The original Sweet Slice, OK but not worth the price of seeds.


Maybe I should list the varieties that I'm considering for
next year, and if guys don't mind, tell me the ones I should cull.
AU Sweet Scarlet
AU Producer
Chris Cross
Orange Flesh Tenedersweet
Gold Strike
Yellow Doll
Orange Glo
Bush Snakeskin
Star Brite,
Mountain Sweet Yellow and now
Golden Honey
I know this is a long list, and I sure appreciate your comments.


Au Sweet Scarlet- One of the best I have ever grown. Large melon and early ripening.
AU Producer - Supposed to be an improved Crimson Sweet, almost identical,but I prefer the Crimson Sweet.
Chris Cross, Excellent melon. shoudl be considered an improved Dixie Queen.
Legacy- One of the best of the Alsweet types. Very uniform melons, excellent flavor, and a dependable producer.Don't have a photo available at the moment.
Verona- The best Black Diamond type that I have grown. Big, tasty, uniform and dependable.
Crest- A Charleston Grey type hybrid that is the best hybrid I have grown to date. Early crown set.
Tendersweet. see previous posts. Orange has a shade better flavor than the Yellow.
Gold Strike- see previous posts
Yellow Doll - Oustanding pale yellow fleshed icebox type hybrid. Very early.
Bush Snakeskin- Have not grown. Have not been ovely impressed with other short vine (bush) watermelons.
Starbright- Have not grown.
Mountain Sweet Yellow- Have not grown the Yellow, but the red is a good oldtimer.


Melon growers--------I have a ? please tell me the watermelons that has the best vine growth.

Wayne_5 zone 5b/6a Central Indiana

The variety that has the largest stem coming out of the ground with the strongest vine usually for me is Orangeglo. Summer Flavor #420 is another good grower . oftentimes.


The salesman at Willhites said that AU Producer is his #1 seller and that he rarely sells AU Sweet Scarlet. I was going to get both of them, and knew that Producer was supposed to be an improved Crimsom Sweet. Why do you prefer Crimson Sweet & Tendersweet over Tendergold ??

I'm a backyard grower, and I've got room for two hills
each for 12 different varieties. Thanks


Probably more personal preference than anything else. Crimson Sweet has a more tender flesh for me than AU producer but is not quite as uniform in size. Willhite used to vend all of the Alabama melons AU Sweet Scarlet, AU Producer, AU Golden Producer ( virtually identical to the Yellow fleshed Crimson Sweet)and AU- Jubilant ( A Jubilee type). Have not tried the Jubilant as they dropped it before I got around to it, but the others were good melons) I have grown Tendersweet for about 50 years, try lots of others, but so far nothing has blown it away in its class. Tendergold is more uniform in size, but has no other advantages over Tendersweet that I can notice.

You can't judge a book by its cover, and you can't judge a watermelon by its rind, because a yellow watermelon has a green rind, just like every other watermelon. So, unless the produce is labeled correctly at the market, you will have to cut into a melon to determine if it is yellow or red. There are as many varieties of yellow watermelons as there are red ones, both with seeds and seedless.

Aside from the obvious color difference, the fruit of the yellow watermelon is sweeter than its red-fleshed counterpart, described as having notes of honey and apricot. Yellow watermelon fruit is now widely available and can be used in the same recipes as you would use a red watermelon, you may want to even mix red and yellow melons in a recipe for added visual appeal.

WATCH: Why Southerners Love To Salt Their Watermelon

Interested in growing your own yellow watermelons? Check out the seed selections available online. If you are anxious to try one right now, look for these varieties at your farmers' market: Yellow Flesh Black Diamond Watermelon, Desert King, Yellow Crimson, Yellow Doll, Buttercup and Tastigold.

Here's the Difference Between Pink, Orange, and Yellow Watermelon

Extra Crispy's illustrated guide to watermelon varieties

When you think of a watermelon, chances are good that you're imagining a large, round melon with a green rind and a bright pink, nearly red interior. But did you know that not all watermelons are pink? In much the same way that there are different varieties of apples, there are also different varieties of watermelon—and not all of them are pink and green. Each of these different watermelon types is slightly different in shape, size, texture, and, of course, color. And you can tell a lot about the way a watermelon tastes based on how it looks. According to the experts at the Watermelon Board, yellow and orange watermelons are generally sweeter than those with pink or red flesh. Seedless watermelons tend to have a crisper texture than those with seeds, they add.

It should be noted here that you cannot find a watermelon shaped like a cube in the wild that's totally a result of human interference and engineering. But finding watermelons of different colors is totally natural, due to cross-breeding among different varieties. It's the same reason why some watermelons are seedless while others aren't. And it's not like a yellow watermelon is somehow better than a pink one because of the color. It might be trickier to find, but whether you like it or not is all up to personal preference.

Haters might say it's Photoshop, but don't believe them. Instead, here are 14 different types of watermelon for you to try this summer.

Watch the video: How to grow watermelons and cantaloupes in raised beds

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