Thursday, August 11, 2011

Harvesting Ripe Cantaloupe, I'm So Excited

Rooftop Vegetable Garden 2011

And I just can't hide it! Notice something different about the melon plants?

Voila, rooftop melon ready to eat! I was looking at this particular melon on Friday evening, when it was still attached to the vine, wondering if it was ready to harvest. By Saturday morning I had my answer. It was sitting in the pot waiting to be devoured. I was surprised by how quickly the melon changed color. On Friday evening a quarter of the melon's skin was still green.

It's good these are small fruits. You don't have to worry about them shattering on impact if they drop from the vine while the garden is unattended.

The photo above (a different melon from the preceding photo) was taken on Monday, by Tuesday it had completely changed color and it easily slipped from the vine.

No garden shears are needed to harvest cantaloupe type melons. Just place one finger at the base of the vine, where it connects with the melon, and press sideways to try to push the vine off the fruit  If the vine and fruit separate then the melon is ready to eat, if not try again the next day. I've harvested 6 fruits so far, only the tiny one is left.

The flesh is firm and the flavor is sweet, but not sickeningly so. I would definitely recommend Tasty Bites to fellow container gardeners.

I know tomatoes get all the garden glory, but I personally think homegrown melons are the ultimate summer treat.

Rooftop Vegetable Garden 2011

King Crimson peppers.

Rooftop Vegetable Garden 2011

The Lemon cucumber plant has gotten a second wind. The new leaf growth is nice and green, still no signs of powdery mildew. Hopefully it stays that way.

Yellow Perfection tomatoes have a nice tart flavor if picked soon after they turn from green to yellow. The color changing process is very quick however, so it's easy to miss that stage. Once they turn orange the tartness has faded to something less distinctive.

Also, their skin is thin so they have a tendency to crack, but the plant produces so many fruits I don't really feel the loss.

Rooftop Vegetable Garden 2011

There's currently a lull in eggplant production. I don't mind though, I need a break from eating them. Next year I'll plant just one eggplant instead of my usual two.

How's your garden doing? Any successes or disappointments you're surprised about?

Aug 4-Aug 10:

Cherry Tomato (Sungold): 7.7 ounces

Cucumber (Lemon): 8.5 ounces

Eggplant (Fairy Tale): 3.8 ounces

Melon (Tasty Bites): 8 pounds, 12.3 ounces

Pepper (Atris): 2 pounds, 3.0 ounces

Pepper (King Crimson): 14.8 ounces

Tomato (Yellow Perfection): 1 pound, 11.7 ounces

This Harvest:  14 pounds, 13.8 ounces

Running Weight Total 2011: 36 pounds, 5.6 ounces

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  1. Ooooh ahhhh, that melon looks wonderful! I tried sowing Melon seeds this year and none germinated. I must had a bad bunch of seeds!

  2. That sucks! Try again next year, they're definitely worth it.

  3. Wow - those melons DO look terrific! Mouth-watering, in fact!

    My tomatoes are doing well, and our basil plants are out of control. We've had just a few peppers so far - I think I need bigger containers for them next year.

    I have two eggplants as well - one Italian and one purple Japanese. Both have only started producing fruit in the last week, so I'm looking forward to grilling some eggplant soon, I hope! The plants look happy and have many flowers starting to form fruits.

    I had to chuck my cucumber plants - I crowded too many plants into my self-watering container from Gardeners Supply (not so sure it's doing it's job...) and they were competing. In an effort to save the yellow pear tomato, I had to pull the cucumber vines, which were spindly and not well anyway - but I got two odd-shaped cucumbers out of them first!

  4. Mixing plants in self watering containers can be tricky. Unless the plants have similar growth habits one plant will always suffer at the expense of another. The 1st year I gardened I planted a bushy roma with a tall cherry. The cherry did okay, but the roma struggled until I gave up on it and pulled it out. Once the roma was gone the cherry did much better. Now I still put mulitple plants in 1 container, they're just multiples of the same thing.

  5. Congratz on your melons! I was worried for you, this year, especially with the really nasty weather that Chicago had for a while. I was worried that the high winds might have knocked the fruits off.

    I hope you enjoy them!

  6. They were awesome! At the beginning I was worried about the wind, but later I realized the fruits hit a sweet spot. They were too heavy for wind to whip around, but also light enough that they wouldn't drop from the vine unless they were ripe.

  7. beautiful...wish i could also do that... i want the melon!!!!!! and hopefully watermelon too! i live in saudi arabia and the heat is unforgiving, but somehow i am able to grow some vegetables in Aquaponics and DIY self watering container pot made out of 6L water bottles...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!