Cucumis melo is Latin for both the smooth-skinned muskmelons and the netted-skin cantaloupes, although those two are too distantly related to cross-pollinate. Cantaloupes are raised on a truck-garden scale all up and down the bottom of our valley The bottom is the warmest place of all. Plant 1 inch deep, 6 feet between hills and 6 feet between rows. Allow a week or two to germination and about 90 days to harvest.
Harvesting Cantaloupes and Muskmelons:
You may find wasps eating your melons. Wasps will nibble at the shell until they get a hole; then they'll eat out a chamber inside the hole, causing the melon to rot inside. If this happens, harvest any melons that are under attack; that minimizes the damage. These melons are ready to pick when the skin starts to get yellowish; they soften up a little and detach readily from the vine. American melons also usually crack away from the stem a little when they are ripe and ready. Don't pick them green. Cantaloupes and muskmelons (and also watermelons) do not ripen any more after picking. If the only cantaloupes you've eaten before are those from supermarkets, you've never enjoyed a genuinely ripe melon, since store melons are all picked green and stay that way. A cantaloupe picked green will keep 4 to 6 weeks if stored at 40 to 50°F, but a fully ripe cantaloupe keeps only a week or two. A melon picked green can get softer and can ultimately rot, but it can't get any sweeter.
<i> CANTALOUPE SWEET PICKLES Cut 12 unripe melons into quarters. Peel the tough outer rind and the mushy, stringy inner surface of each melon. Place fruit in a jar in vinegar to cover, and leave overnight. In the morning, to each pint of vinegar, add 3A lb. sugar, I T. cloves, 'A T. mace, and 4 large sticks of cinnamon, broken into small pieces. Boil the vinegar and spices, and remove the melons to jars. Boil the syrup 30 minutes longer. Pour it hot over the fruit in jars and seal.
Continue reading here: Watermelon
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