Most melons are produced in the southern half of the state as a spring/summer crop and require 85 to 110 days to mature. Only a handful of melons are produced in the fall and then only in southern Georgia. The peak harvest season is from late May through mid-July. Although Georgia-grown melons are available locally throughout the season, the majority of the state's melons are exported to northern states and Canada. Cordele, in Crisp County, has the largest melon market in the state and is considered the heart of the Georgia watermelon industry.
The use of improved hybrid varieties, in combination with plastic mulches and irrigation, has allowed Georgia growers to produce greater yields and to harvest earlier. Average yield of watermelons in the state is around 35,000 pounds per acre, although yields of more than 50,000 pounds are not uncommon.
Watermelons originated from the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Every part of the watermelon is edible, including the rind, which is used to make pickles, and the seeds, which are often baked. Although watermelons are 92 percent water, they are rich sources of vitamins A and C.