When to pick cantalope from vine?

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Hello! I am new to growing cantalopes and really don't know when to pick (seperate from the vine) Do i pick them still green or do they get yellow (ripen) on the vine? Thanks,

-- Molly McLaughlin (mmclaugh@unm.edu), September 06, 2001


Let them ripen on the vine--or else you might as well get them at the supermarket because if you pick them green they will not have the flavor. I believe that you can put something underneath the melons so they don't rot or get mildewed--cardboard I think. We never had that problem so I don't know.

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), September 06, 2001.

Molly, The best time to pick a cantaloup for home use is when the fruit is yellow with the webbing on it's skin a sandy brown. I like to roll the cantaloup about one third of a turn. If the fruit breaks loose from the vine when this is done, you have a perfectly ripe cantaloup. Another sign of a perfectly ripe - some would say overripe - cantaloup is to look for a slight depression in the fruit as if some one had taken their thumb and pressed it to hard. That is a ripe cantaloup. The only time one should be picked green is for distant shipment which explains the bland ones you buy in the supermarket. enjoy.

-- Jesse Van Winkle (jvanwin@worldnet.att.net), September 06, 2001.

The one and only absolute way to tell when a cantaloupe is perfectly ripe is to check and see which one the mice are eating. That one is perfect!!!:) At the farm where I work, we pick them when they are starting to yellow, the stem is pulling away from the melon, and the netting is still prominant.

-- Sheryl in Me (radams@sacoriver.net), September 06, 2001.

As I was waiting for one of my cantaloups to ripen last week, something started nibbling on it. Now I know what it was--mice. I picked it right away and cut out the chewed-on part. It was good! Thanks for the insight.

-- Katherine in KY (KyKatherine@Yahoo.com), September 07, 2001.

Thanks to all who so graciously educated me!

-- Molly McLaughlin (mmclaugh@unm.edu), September 07, 2001.

Congrats on you cantaloupes Molly. And may I say I am a tad jealous. I tried my hand at them and I have a beatiful vine FULL of little yellow flowers. But sadly, the flowers dry up die and fall off and that is the end of that. No melons anywhere in site. Anyone have any idea why I didn't get any melons? Several of my tomato plants have done the same thing. They grew beautifully (from seed), produced many little yellow flowers, but I only got 4 little (cherry) tomatoes off of one plant. The rest just closed/dried up and didn't produce any fruit. :'( They stayed green foreven too. I didn't think they were EVER going to turn red but one did. (The rest are still green). I am EXTREMELY excited about my 4 little cherry tomatoes though. I have never been able to grow anything. Enjoy your melons Molly!! :o)

-- Greenthumbelina (sck8107@aol.com), September 07, 2001.


Tomatoes are always dicey with me. Why don't you start out with something no-fail like zucchini or yellow squash. At least you'd have your pride left for your efforts even if the other stuff petered out. There are some tips for tomatoes like planting it to the first branches.leaves for better root growth and pinching off some new growth so the energy goes where it is needed. Other than that--check PH and fertilizing needs--do you compost?

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), September 07, 2001.

To answer your questionn as how to tell when to pick them ahead of the critters: On the opposite end of the vine is a "Navel" type circle, push on this spot, IF it gives a little, it is ready, if it gives a lot it is really ready. After picking a few this way you will soon learn to tell the difference as to how much "give" you want.

Hope this helps, Wayne & (Lyn) Roach

-- Wayne & (LYN) Roach (R-Way@msn.com), September 08, 2001.

This evening I found out that dogs are not as good an indicator as mice. I left a bag of freshly picked produce on the kitchen floor when I went out to milk and my golden retroodle ate 1/3 of a cantaloupe. I cut off the gnawed end (and gave that to the dog --- it's always productive to reward bad behavior!!) then cut up the rest. It was a pretty bland melon. I should rely on the mice, not the dog!

-- Sheryl in Me (radams@sacoriver.net), September 08, 2001.

When cantaloupes are ripe, they will "slip". Just grab the melon and push gently on the stem with your thumb. If the melon is ripe, the stem will pop off easily. The variety I plant (Mainstream) also changes color, but I'm not sure if all varieties do.

-- Steve - TX (steve.beckman@compaq.com), September 10, 2001.

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