Knowing when to pick a cantaloupe will tell you if your harvest will be a success or a failure. You want to pick some cantaloupe, but you’re unsure of the best time or ᴍᴇᴛʜod. A melon that has been harvested too soon can be hard, flavorless, or bitter since the sugars haven’t had enough time to form and become completely sweet. Additionally, once picked, they will stop ripening. You will, however, be stuck with fruit that is mushy, watery, and squishy if you wait too long to pick your cantaloupe.
It’s not as tough to pick cantaloupe as one may believe. In actuality, the majority of cantaloupes turn from green to a tan or yellowish-gray color between the netting when they are fully ripened and ready to be picked.
Looking at the rind of a melon—which will be quite yellow and soft—can help determine whether it is overripe. Cantaloupes should typically be ready for harvesting 70 to 100 days after planting. A ripe cantaloupe will also be easier to remove off the vine without the need for tugging or pulling. Instead, it will simply slip from the vine with minimal effort. Additionally, the stem may develop a crack ᴄʟᴏsᴇ to the attachment place and turn brown.
Knowing how to choose your cantaloupe is helpful after it is ready to be plucked from the vine. If the melon is ripe enough, it should easily detach from the vine with a simple touch. But occasionally you could run against one that is obstinate. In this situation, it is best to delicately cut the melon from the vine rather than pull it. Pulling could cause the melon to be ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇd, which could result in ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ and poor-quality fruit.
Melons normally ripen quickly, with cantaloupes taking as little as 3 to 4 weeks. The rest won’t take long to ripen after one melon does. Reduce watering to just what is necessary to prevent vines from wilting about a week before a melon is ready to pick. This enables fruit sugars to be concentrated by plants. The sweetness is naturally diluted when there is too much water present. The skin color and stem can be used to determine how ripe a cantaloupe is. The rind of a cantaloupe turns from gray-green to yellow-buff, and the netting pattern becomes more noticeable. A crack that encircles the stem’s base can be seen at the stem.
The smooth-skinned honeydew melon turns cream-colored when ripe, and the bʟᴏssom end should give slightly when touched. Cantaloupes also have a musky smell that becomes apparent as you approach the melon patch. When attempting to determine ripeness, refrain from constantly squeezing the bloom end. Overpressing can cause bruising, which provides a deceptive indication of fruit’s level of ripeness. Leave approximately an inch of stem attached when harvesting a honeydew if you won’t be using it right away to prevent the melon from becoming bad.
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Video resource: Noal Farm