When To Harvest Cantaloupe?

If you harvest your cantaloupe too early, the fruit will not have its time to build the best taste, sweetness and aroma, but if your cantaloupe overripe, it can be soft and watery, in worst case, the fruit will go bad and you lost your time and effort to grow it in a long time.

This article will give you 4 signals to identify when it is ready to harvest your cantaloupe so that you can harvest it with confidence!

4 Signals to Tell If Cantaloupe Is Ready to Harvest

Cantaloupe will usually be harvested between 70 – 90 days depending on varieties, about 40 – 50 days after successful pollination. But sometimes you don’t remember the day or don’t need to remember it if you’re an experienced grower.

With my experience of growing and harvesting a lot of this awesome fruit, below are some signals to tell if my cantaloupe is ripened, I sort them from high to low so you can easily follow up:

1. Connect between the stem and the fruit

When you see the connection between the stem and cantaloupe begins to loosen and there are some cracks from the melon toward the stem, the stem is easy to pull off from the cantaloupe with very little effort.

2. Tendrils closest to the melon.

When you check the tendrils closest to the melon, you see they turned brown, and the fruit is usually ripe and ready to harvest

3. Color & Smell

Color and smell are depending different cantaloupe varieties, which is why I put these signals to the 3rd, most cantaloupes are ready when the gray-green color begins to change to buff-yellow and you can smell the slight sweetness of it.

4. Dead leaves near the stem of the fruit

When you see dead leaves (s) on the lateral branch where the cantaloupe belongs to, that signal tells you your cantaloupe is ripened.

Just Give It A Try

Don’t stress too much about picking your cantaloupe at exactly the right time, growing and harvesting is an experiment, just give it a try and harvest the one you think it should. If it’s unripe, let the others on the plant for the next few days, after a few time with experiences, you will know exactly what is the right time to harvest your beautiful cantaloupe.

Do Cantaloupes Ripen After Being Picked?

Yes, your cantaloupe still ripens and builds its sweetness after being picked, so you can harvest it earlier and let it ripen on the kitchen counter or fridge.

Picked cantaloupe when it’s ripened can be refrigerated for 5 to 15 days, depending on the varieties, so make sure to use it before that for the best flavor. In my experience, I usually pick it and left to ripen for 2 days before eating it, I found that the cantaloupe is sweeter and has a pleasant aroma when doing this.

Photo of author

Ana Harned

With over a decade of experience in gardening and horticulture, Ana Harned is a passionate botanist dedicated to promoting sustainable gardening practices. She holds a degree in botany and currently serves as the editor for Backyard Gardeners Network. Ana's love for gardening extends beyond her personal garden, as she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others about the joys and benefits of cultivating plants.

Leave a Comment