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When and how to pick cantaloupe

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Are you wondering when and how to pick your cantaloupe in the fall? It's harvest time in the garden. Or at least you think it might be. You've put in the labor and those sweet luscious cantaloupes in your garden are looking yummy. Are they ripe? Can you pick cantaloupe before it's ripe? Will it ripen in a paper bag or in sunlight? When and how do you pick cantaloupe?

Are your cantaloupes ripe?

How do you know if a cantaloupe is ripe for the picking? Cantaloupe planted in the spring are normally ripe sometime in August. A ripe cantaloupe has a nice cream color with a raised netting type pattern on the skin. A ripe melon will have a sweet smell. If you tap a ripe melon, it will sound hollow. When you pick cantaloupe, it should come off the vine readily.

Will they ripen off the vine?

Some fruits, such as tomatoes, bananas and pears will ripen off the vine in a paper bag or in the sun. Cantaloupes do not ripen once off the vine. They may get softer once picked, but the sweetness and water content do not change. Therefore, cantaloupes and other melons should always be picked only when fully ripe.

Tips and tricks

When harvesting any fruit or vegetable from the garden, I recommend you wear protective gloves and clothing. Avoid open toed shoes that leave feet exposed to stray vines and branches. When navigating through melons, take care not to crush the vines. Doing so will inhibit the ripening of remaining fruit. One way to avoid this is to plant in single, well spaced, bordered rows.

How do you pick cantaloupe?

You have determined that the cantaloupe are ripening on the vine. Now it's time to pick them. So how do you pick cantaloupe? Some melons must be cut from the vine to avoid cracking them. Cantaloupe, or musk melon, as some call it, is a little different. When it's ready to be picked, it will pop right off the vine with a simple twist. If it won't do this, it's not ready.

Leftover produce

When planting a garden, we often get carried away with the amount of food we plant. If you have more produce than you can eat, freeze or can, never throw it away. There are plenty of food banks that can use it. If you can't find a food bank, try asking friends and neighbors. Why waste good food in a world where people go to bed hungry every night? When picking cantaloupe, be sure it all goes to good use.

This article was previously published by this author on a now closed yahoo! Property.

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