How to tell if your melons and squash are ready to pick.
For melons, there are two almost-sure ways to tell if the melon is at peak. Melons
will ripen after picking, but not get sweeter and when they have been left too
long, the texture becomes unpleasant, so it’s good to pick them at the perfect
- Smell the melon. Gently pick it up from the vine and smell the blossom end- that
is, the end opposite the vine. It should smell like ripe melons. You will
recognize it when it’s there.
- Look at the vine where it connects to the fruit. It should have slippage- that
is, when the melon is ripe, it comes off the vine easily (for most varieties).
Watermelons will have a vine that has started to dry out and the tendril leaves
nearest the end of the fine will be brown like an autumn leaf. Watermelons also
will have a yellow spot on the side that rests on the ground. If the spot is
creamy or white, it’s not ready. If your melon is squishy or cracked, it should be harvested immediately.
Summer squash like zucchini is best picked at about 6 inches or after the blossom has died off. The bigger it gets, the more at risk you are for a seedy, woody textured squash.
Winter squash like butternut or acorns, are best when you are able to push against it with a fingernail and not have the fingernail leave a mark. The skin will be hard for most winter squash (Delicata is an exception, it’s skin remains thin). The skin will have lost it’s gloss and the vine will be dry.
Photos from Peg Keller