HELP We are trying to grow melons this year and it said to pick when it slips?? What in the world does that mean and how do you tell when it slips. It is a cantalope type melon if that makes a difference. As always, thanks for your input.
it means the stem separates from the fruit easily...kind of slips off.
What Randy said - it takes a little practice to figure it out but it's pretty simple. Remember that lopes continue to ripen after harvest (unlike watermelon) so if you pick them at dead ripe (full slip) they are pretty delicate. We usually like to harvest them slightly before that (half slip) as they transport much better - wind up with better looking fruit at market. They ripen up in a day or so.
Is half slip the same as forced slip?
I would assume that they are - we use just a little pressure to pop off the tendril before it would naturally release.
I pull them off hopefully just as they will slip with pressure and then put in cold water. The dang things are very perishable. Charentais do not slip so I cut them when they smell fragrant but the first ones always split.
With watermelons, the only thing to pay attention to is the tendril nearest the melon's point of attachment. When it is thoroughly brown and dry, the melon is ready. Thumping and every other test is pretty much meaningless. I'm with everyone w/ forced slip being the opportune time to harvest lopes.
Minnie, I've been too cowardly to raise Charentais. However, I raise many, many other varieties. Canary melons and toadskins are two of my favorites. These guys keep well into December.
Looking my 3 varieties of small watermelons. if the plant is just extremely vibrant the fruit can be ripe before the tendril shrivels. By the time I got to picking by the first brown tendrils those were verging on over ripe. I picked the rest by finding good ones by the color of the dirt side spot. Bright yellow for some kinds, creamy white for others, yellowish white for another variety. After a while I just cleared the whole lot , since I juiced them , I know only a few were under ripe ...more were over ripe and most perfect and there were not so many brown tendrils.
I have grown watermelons of many kinds for 5 years , the best thing to do is find a ripe one by educated trial and error and then look for similar melons.
thumping is the way to go with watermelons.
I stand by the straw method for watermelons. Balance a wheat straw on the top of the melon perpendicular to the stem. If it's not ripe, the straw just sits there. If it's ripe, the straw will slowly rotate until it's in line with the stem direction. It's weird, but I've seen it work so many times, it's what I go with now. I'm trying Charentais for the first time this year, so I'll see if it works for them too. NB: don't do it on a breezy day, the wind will make the straw spin, or fly up and bop you in the snoot.
Charentais are beyond delicious! Once you eat one you can hardly go back. I let the tendril on watermelon turn completely brown and even wait a day after that. if you thump it should sound like hitting your chest. Also I always shut off the water lines to my crops as they finish fruiting. They taste better and have less splitting.
It was my first year growing melons last year and I sure did have a headache figuring out when they were ripe - especially Sugarbaby as the spot doesn't always change colour. I did find the tendril pretty reliable and only had a couple of overripe melons.
Cantelopes were easy by comparison.. forced slip for sure.
I'm wondering about this cutting the water off thing. It would work for cantelopes that seem to set all their fruit in one go but how does it work with watermelon? I always have more melons coming on and I've read that they need a lot of water when first setting fruit. Aren't your later harvests affected Minnie?
Withdrawing water for cantelopes allows the sugars to develop. We pick when they slip.