Developed in 1955, it has soft, sweet fruit and a dark green rind. Sugar Baby watermelon The comparatively small (nine to 13 pounds) sugar baby is often referred to as an icebox watermelon. Plant watermelons in light loam to sandy-loam soil; avoid planting in heavy or clay soil. Watermelons are native to Africa and thrive in warm, moist conditions. Pick a watermelon that has a nice oblong or round shape, not deformed in any way. They need at least 90 sunny, warm days to mature, and large picnic types can take up to 130 days to ripen. It shows that the melon received adequate sun and water while on the vine. (You can get a head start in cool regions by sowing watermelons indoors 6 weeks before planting out.) The skin should look dull or matt, not shiny. Appearance of watermelons. Growing watermelon in the home garden is a cinch — if you have the right conditions and you choose the best watermelon type. A shiny watermelon is under-ripe. 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