When we last spoke with Chris Kent—who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest watermelon (350 pounds in 2013)—he was heading into the final full month of the growing season and getting his giant watermelons ready for the competition circuit.
Here’s an update from Chris on what he was up to in September and what lies ahead this month.
HAVE YOU HARVESTED THE WATERMELONS YET? WHEN WAS THAT DONE, OR WHEN WILL YOU DO THAT?
Yes! I’ve been picking the watermelons since the end of August. As each competition comes around, I pick a melon and take it to the weigh-off site. So far, I’ve been to a competition in Cullman, Alabama. That watermelon (below) weighed in at 220 pounds and finished second overall. I donated that watermelon to a local distillery for a display promoting their watermelon moonshine.
On September 9, I took another watermelon (below) to the Tennessee State Fair and placed second with a weight of 225 pounds.
Also in September, I traveled to a farm called Bear Wallow in Kentucky for a competition and placed second again with a watermelon weighing 231 pounds. I also just returned from Elkin, North Carolina. The competition there was pretty tough, and even though my melon weighed 238 pounds, I still finished third.
HOW WAS THIS GROWING SEASON FOR YOU? ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS?
It’s hard to say. My biggest watermelons are yet to come. The weather has been very good to me this year. Many top growers were not so lucky and have had poor or even no melons.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE BEST TIME TO HARVEST THE WATERMELONS?
I usually harvest when they’re done growing and also when the different competitions are. I try to time them just right, but if you’re off by a week or so it’s usually no problem.
I want the watermelon to gain as much as possible, and as soon as you pick it, it starts to lose weight, which is why I usually pick the watermelon the night before a competition. Some of the competitions are really close. I lost the Kentucky competition by ONE POUND. If I had one more growing day, I might have won!
WHAT’S NEXT? WHAT SHOWS OR COMPETITIONS ARE COMING UP? HOW MANY COMPETITIONS WILL YOU ENTER?
I have two more competitions on the schedule. One in Allardt, Tennessee on October 3 and the North Carolina State Fair on October 13. I’ve been close in most of my competitions so far, so I hope to get a win in one of those!
UP NEXT: OUR OCTOBER PRIZE