Melon Harvesting

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated March 31, 2021)


Whether you are growing honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, or some other kind of melon in your home garden, there is going to come a time when you want to eat those melons. However, do you know the proper time to begin melon harvesting? Melon harvesting is a rather simple procedure, as long as you know what to do. Use these simple guidelines to help you pick the perfect time to harvest your melons.

  • Thumping. Thumping is one of the classic methods for checking to see if your melons are ripe. In fact you have probably seen this method used at the local grocery store, and the reason for this is that it actually does work. For most muskmelons (such as cantaloupes and honeydew) when you thump it there should be a deep, thick hollow sound is good. There should be a slight resonance to the sound though. For watermelons, if it sounds hollow (usually as a dull thump or thud) then this signifies that it is ready for harvesting. However, while this method will tell you if the melon is ripe, it will not tell you if it is overripe.
  • Smell. Another of the classic methods for checking your melons is by smelling them. When you check your muskmelons, this should be done at roughly room temperature (around 72 degrees Fahrenheit) there should be a strong sweet smell when they are ready to harvest.
  • Rinds. Many muskmelons have something on their rinds that feels like hair. When you pick your muskmelons up, and you cannot feel this hair like substance any longer, and actually feel somewhat waxy, then your melons are ready to be harvested. For watermelons, you will be able to tell they are ready for harvesting by trying to indent the rind near the ground. If it is difficult to dent, and you can scratch the surface of the rind with your fingernail and only see a greenish white color, then your watermelon is ready to harvest.
  • Time. There is actually a pretty good time indicator for when your watermelons should be ready to harvest. This will be roughly thirty-five days after the plant has fully bloomed. While this is not a perfect indicator of ripeness, you can begin checking around the thirty-third day to see if your watermelons are ripe.
  • Full slip. For most types of melons (except watermelons), when the plant has reached what is called "full-slip" then it is ready to harvest. What this means is that when you place a little pressure with your finger or thumb where the vine and the melon meet, and it slips off, it is ready to harvest.

While each of these methods are all equal in determining a rough estimate for when your melon will be ready to harvest your best bet would be to use all of them in conjunction with each other. This, and experience, will help you accurately determine when to begin melon harvesting.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is six less than 9?

2013-02-12 19:24:08

Ann Samson

This tip has been really valuable. Last summer, we had pumpkin volunteers (from disposing of jack-o-lantern seeds carelessly), and an odd vine emerged; it turned out to be a muskmelon of some kind. We harvested them, but they never seemed completely ripe. My guess is that we'll get some volunteers again in the same general location, and now I'll be able to evaluate the fruit more reliably. Thanks


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