QUESTION: I am growing melons — watermelon and cantaloupe – for the first time. How can you tell when the fruit is ready to pick?
Turn the watermelon over. The ground spot (where the watermelon rests on the ground) should be creamy yellow. If the spot is white, the melon is not ready.
On a watermelon, there is a tendril growing at the end of the fruit. If it is still green, give the melon a few more days to ripen. If it is half-dead, it’s likely the melon is ripe or nearly so.
Give it a thump. A ripe watermelon sounds hollow (though some say it’s difficult to really hear this).
Cantaloupes and other small melons don’t have the tendril or a significant soil spot, like watermelons, but there are other clues. Cantaloupes, which have netted rinds, develop a golden color under the netting when the melon is ripe. They also soften at the end opposite the stem when they ripen, which you can feel if you press gently. Ripe cantaloupes also have a sweet fragrance. It will also separate easily from the vine
Events in Middle Tennessee
Aug. 11 (and every Saturday this month): Guided garden tours at Cheekwood, 11 a.m. – noon.Tours are free with Cheekwood admission, and no reservation is required. Garden Tours meet at Botanic Hall.
Aug. 11: Celebrate the tomato at the annual Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville’s Five Points area, hosted by Art and Invention Gallery. Events include a Tomato 5K, a Fun Run, costumes, parades, games, art, entertainment, contests, competitions and more family fun. Look here to learn more.
Aug. 12: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at Cheekwood at the Frist Learning Center at 2 p.m. The program will be a pollinaton/hybridization workshop. For more info contact Julie at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org (or 615-364-8459).
Aug. 16: Lunch and Lecture: New & Unique Plants for your Garden, noon – 1 p.m. at Cheekwood. Learn how to add color throughout the season and other helpful tips from Cheekwood’s garden staff. $15 for members, $25 for non-members (includes lunch). Call 615-353-9827 to register.
Aug. 21: Two meetings at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall:
- The Perennial Plant Society meets at 6:30, beginning with refreshments and plant swap. Program begins at 7 p.m., and the speaker is Audubon naturalist Sherra Owens, presenting “Gardenening On The Wild Side With Nature’s Most Important Plant.”
- The Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at 7 p.m. Michael Wenzel of the AtlanticBotanical Garden will speak on Phalaenopsis species.
Both meetings are open to the public.
Aug. 23: The Middle Tennessee Hosta Society meets at Cheekwood, 6:30 p.m., in the Potter Room. Guest speaker is landscape designer, photographer and writer Troy Marden; his topic: In a Southern Garden: Lessons from 20 Years of Gardening in the South.” To learn more about MTHS, visit http://www.mths-hosta.com.