The melon is a tender annual grown for its large, succulent, edible fruits. Originating from sub-tropical Africa and southwest Asia its is a popular fruit with northern European gardeners, but can only be brought to harvest when grown under the protected environment of a greenhouse.
Of course after going to all the effort of growing melons in a protected environment you want to make sure that you harvest at them in peak condition.
When it comes to harvesting melons the fruits should not be cut from the vine until they are completely ripe. Unfortunately melons ripe melons look a lot like unripened melons however there are a number of checks you can make you can make to be absolutely certain.
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2. Also, but not relevant to all cultivars, the skins of ripe fruits of some varieties crack away from the stalks and give off a noticeable aroma.
3. Melon cultivars with netted rinds have what some growers call a 'ground color' below the netting. When this color changes to a golden hue, the melon is ripe.
4. With many of the smaller melon varieties, the stem will naturally separates from the melon once ripe. This is known as 'slipping'. This is fine if your vines and fruit are growing on the ground but if you are short of space and growing melons as a vine then the fruits will need support. Otherwise if the fruit slips from the vine they will fall and become damaged.
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