I just picked my 3rd, 4th, and 5th cantaloupe. They seem to be coming loose when they are too green .Is there something I am doing wrong. They have been sweet and taste, but a little firm
Did you let them completely slip off the vine on their own or did you remove them with a gentle tug? My answer to your question hinges on knowing if they had completely come loose on their own with no help.
I do think the odds are that if you leave them sitting on a flat surface indoors out of direct sunlight that they will ripen up over the next few days.
Dawn, I did not let them fall completely off, I would just move thee stem slightly with my finger and it would pop loose. They are still very sweet and tasty, and do seem to soften when sitting a day or two.
I think that if you don't move the stem slightly, they will stay attached for another 1-2 days and that could make a difference in how green they are.
When they are at full slip (you know---the rind has a yellowish-orange undertone and the melons slips off the vine without you even touching the melon or the vine), their color usually is correct and they are ripe and have an incredible aroma that perfumes the entire garden area.
About two days before they are at full slip, they'll be forming the abscission layer but the rind's undertone is more green--like that shown in your photo. That is known as being at half-slip. Or, at our house we just refer to it as being "almost ready". When they are at half-slip, they can be knocked off the vine pretty easily. Like you, I have done it a few times by trying to rearrange a vine, or I've had an armadillo do it by working his way through a bed and shaking things up. Or, I've had them fall off a vine on a trellis at half-slip either during a thunderstorm or when we have had very strong wind.
Dropping melons at half-slip must be more common in some varieties than others or in some conditions more than in others because it doesn't happen every year. In a year when it happens, though, it seems like it happens a lot.
Usually, once the melons on the trellis are half-grown, I attach a sling to the trellis with the fruit sitting in the sling. That way if the melon wants to fall off the vine when I'm not around, it won't hit the ground and crack....it will stay in its sling. My favorite slings are knee high stockings, but I've also used cheesecloth. I don't have to worry about muskmelons that are just a couple of feet above the ground if they fall, but once they are 4 or 5 or 6' above ground on the trellis and fall, they tend to split open.
I don't know any way to keep them from slipping off the plant at half-slip other than not touching the plants or, if they are trellised, not touching even the trellis. There have been times I have suspected coons or possums have "helped" melons slip off the vines early so they can carry them off a short distance and eat them.
Dawn, thanks. I think I am getting a little better with my melons. I think I will try slipping an asphalt single under a few of them next year and see if that will cut down on the rot and insect damage. Of course next year may be as dry as a bone, I don't ever remember a year when I have gone into the middle of August with almost no watering.
I have picked about 45 cantaloupes and about half that many melons from one large hill of each.
Larry, You're getting great yields. That is a lot of melons.
Have you ever had a year when it was dry as a bone?
We are in pretty good shape now, and as green in August as I can remember......but it doesn't totally make up for being so dry for the first half of the year. Still, we rolled back from Extreme Drought to Severe Drought last week, and that put a smile on my face. I hope the rain keeps falling because August isn't quite half over yet.
I'm buried under an avalanche of peppers, pickling cukes, southern peas, okra and melons.....but I am not complaining. When we went into June with only 6" of rainfall for the whole year, I never would have dreamed we'd get enough rain in June and July to be as green as we are right now, and with bountiful harvests too.
About the only thing we know for sure about the weather is that we seldom get the weather we were expecting or hoping for.....and there's nothing we can do about it either.