The melon is one of the most appreciated fruits of the summer garden, to savor it at best it is not enough to know how to cultivate it, it is necessary to understand the right moment to pick it. It is only by picking the ripe melon that you obtain a sweet, juicy and fragrant fruit, in fact the sugars are concentrated in the fruit during the last week of ripening, if you pick it earlier it will be tasteless.
I will try to summarize the tips that will help you understand when to harvest the melon, they will be useful especially for those who are new to growing this vegetable: with experience you learn to recognize the ready fruit at first sight.
Understanding when to pick a melon is a job for all five senses: helpful cues are picked up by sight, touch, smell and even hearing. The taste will give its final verdict by tasting the fruit, but if you are wrong on this point it is too late to make up for it. Personally, I use four criteria to determine if the melon is ripe, plus one final litmus test. Here are my criteria:
- To see : Skin color. When the melon is about to ripen, it loses its green color and turns yellow, tan or brown (depending on the variety). This criterion is very useful in orange-fleshed melons. In “winter melons”, those with bright green or yellow skin and white or light flesh inside are much more difficult to time.
- Feel : the perfume. The melon communicates its degree of ripeness by smell, when the characteristic sweet aroma is felt intensely at harvest time.
- Touch . It is necessary to take the melon at the ends (union and apex of the fruit), pressing lightly with the fingers. If you feel a certain sweetness, it’s harvest time.
- Hearing : knock Knock. We can tap lightly with our knuckles, if the melon is still immature, it’s because the pulp is still hard and dry inside.
The ultimate test: When we finally decide to harvest, it’s time for the last test: when peeling the fruit, we have to be careful. If the melon is really ready, the stalk should be very dry, so just slightly twist the fruit so that it almost falls off on its own, but if the stalk is elastic and gives too much resistance, it is better to wait a few days .
Watermelon is a fruit similar to melon, understanding when to pick a watermelon is not easy and some criteria apply to both vegetables, if you are interested, I also wrote about it in Orto Da Coltivare.
Using a ripe melon
The melon season starts in June and lasts all summer. The classic melon, the one that is orange inside, usually takes about 80 to 100 days to be ready, the fruits ripen more than three months after planting, the harvest is staggered and lasts a maximum of one month.
The light-fleshed yellow winter melon, on the other hand, has a longer growth cycle and is ready after four to five months.