Have you been pondering about growing your own cantaloupes recently? Maybe you have been growing them for a few months now, and you want to find out when you can expect to harvest your cantaloupes. Look no further because here is what you need to know.
Cantaloupes are in season between June and November. The growing season of the cantaloupe depends on where the fruit is growing. Cantaloupes require 8 – 14 weeks to produce and fully ripen, which means multiple cantaloupe yields are possible within the growing season.
When Are Cantaloupes In Season?
The type of cantaloupe that is grown and where the fruit is grown will determine how long the cantaloupe season is. These factors also determine how many harvests may occur within the cantaloupe growing season.
Related: When Are Honeydew Melons In Season?
For example, the Pecos cantaloupe, which grows in the Pecos region of Texas, typically has two yields from the harvest per growing season. The Pecos cantaloupe is not a particular species of cantaloupe, but its namesake is that of where it is grown.
This shows us that the species of cantaloupe has less of an impact on the growing season than the area in which the cantaloupe is grown.
The Pecos cantaloupe is not a specific type of fast fruiting cantaloupe; a Pecos cantaloupe is simply a cantaloupe that is grown in Pecos. The only reason these cantaloupes have multiple harvests per year is due to the long growing season in this region of Texas.
Pecos has two cantaloupe growing seasons, each of which produces a cantaloupe harvest, compared to Alaska, where a specific type of cantaloupe that matures faster must be grown due to the short three-month growing season that Alaska has.
This cantaloupe is known as the Heart of Gold cantaloupe and is a smaller species of cantaloupe that grows in less time, which makes it ideal for Alaska’s shorter cantaloupe season.
How Big Do Cantaloupes Grow?
Cantaloupes grow to various sizes, depending on the variety of cantaloupe and when and where the fruit is grown. The average size of a large ripe cantaloupe is between 12 and 18 inches (30.48cm and 45.72cm) in diameter.
The size of a ripe cantaloupe is generally a little smaller than a volleyball. The fruit will begin to ripen when it reaches this size and is ready to harvest soon after reaching full size.
How Long Do Cantaloupes Take To Ripen From Seed?
Cantaloupes must reach full maturity before harvesting. Full maturity occurs in different cantaloupes species at different times, but the general length of time that cantaloupes take to fully mature is roughly 70 – 100 days.
This range of growing time is dependent on several factors that may increase or decrease the time taken to reach full maturity for harvest. Some of these factors include the cantaloupe variety, what time of year the seeds were planted, and where in the world the cantaloupes are grown.
All of these factors determine how long it will take for cantaloupe to become completely ripe and suitable for eating. It is best to harvest cantaloupes only when they are fully mature, as this is when they are best for eating.
The best seasons for growing and harvesting cantaloupes are the months between June – July and November, depending on where the fruit is planted. These months yield the best cantaloupe crops and offer the best growing conditions for the fruit to flourish.
How Do You Know When A Cantaloupe Is Ripe?
The best way to determine if a cantaloupe is ripe or not is to look for the characteristics that indicate ripeness.
The characteristics of a ripe cantaloupe are the following:
- The color – when you are trying to determine the ripeness of a cantaloupe, the color is a good indication of ripeness. The typical color of a ripe cantaloupe is a creamy faded yellow or orange.
- The smell – the smell of the cantaloupe tells you a lot about how ripe it is. When handling a Cantaloupe, you should be able to smell a fresh, fruity, sweet, slightly musky aroma coming from the fruit. If the cantaloupe is cold, it will not have a scent, so this will not work for refrigerated cantaloupes.
- The stem – a good indicator of ripeness is the cantaloup stem. A ripe cantaloupe will start to pull away from the stem. If you gently tug on the stem of the cantaloupe, it should come loose easily. If the cantaloupe does not come off easily, then it is not ready to harvest.
- The stem crater – A freshly harvested cantaloupe will have a divet where the fruit is attached to the vine. The area of skin around the divet of a ripe cantaloupe, which was formed by the vine, will be slightly raised and should look somewhat like a crater.
- The squeeze test – ripe cantaloupes will be firm when squeezed gently. If the cantaloupe is still hard to the touch, then it is not yet mature and will need more time to ripen. When performing the squeeze test, do so gently, as you would for an avocado.
- The tap test – if you think your cantaloupe is ripe, gently tap on it with your knuckle, and if you hear a hollow sound, the cantaloupe is not ripe enough for picking. Ripe cantaloupes will have a solid sound when they are tapped.
If you are still uncertain of the ripeness of a cantaloupe, just as there are indications of a ripe cantaloupe, there are also indications of an unripe cantaloupe.
How Do You Know When A Cantaloupe Is Not Ripe?
The process of determining when a cantaloupe is not ripe is relatively easy. Look for the characteristics of a non-ripe cantaloupe, which are the opposite of a ripe cantaloupe.
The attributes of an unripe cantaloupe include:
- The smell – cantaloupes that are not ripe will not have a fruity and sweet musky smell coming from the melon. Remember that if the cantaloupe is cold, you will not be able to sell anything.
- The colour – a cantaloupe that is not ripe yet will have dark green skin between the razed netting, also known as webbing. Some types of cantaloupe may have light green skin rather than dark green.
- The stem separation – when looking at the stem of a cantaloupe that is not yet ripe, you will see that the area around the stem is still flat and flush with the stem rather than indented.
- The firmness – a cantaloupe that is not ripe is hard as a rock when squeezed softly. Remember to squeeze cantaloupe gently when performing the squeeze test.
- The tap test – cantaloupes that are not ripe will have a hollow sound when you tap on the outside of the fruit with your knuckle.
- Raised webbing – if the webbing on the cantaloupe is not raised enough to be able to feel a distinct difference from the rest of the skin, then the cantaloupe is not quite ready to be harvested.