Country Living Series

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ripe and riper

After reading everyone's suggestions on how to determine whether or not a watermelon is ripe, I waited a few days and gave it another try.

This time I gauged things by the pigtail, the tiny tendril closest to the watermelon's stem. Rumor has it that when the pigtail is dried up, the watermelon is ripe.

So I took it into the house, and Don sliced into it.

At first it didn't seem much riper than before, until (duh) we realized he'd cut close enough to the rind to get a lot of white.

But once we sliced through the center, we realized we had... success!

The watermelon was wonderful, and it was an ego boost to realize it came from our own garden. That said, I could have left it on the vine a day or two longer for additional sweetness. Still very good, though. And it was fun to wade through the watermelon seeds (remember those?), the way a watermelon is supposed to be.

And the chickens certainly appreciated the leftovers.

Then a day or two later, I was mindlessly watering the garden when I became aware of a distinctive smell, the smell of RIPE cantaloup. And I mean ripe. In the photo below, can you see how the two lower cantaloups are yellower than the one on the upper left?

So I picked two and brought them into the house.

Yes! Ripe ripe ripe!!

We all took spoonfuls and agreed it was the best durn cantaloup we've had in years.

There are dozens of cantaloup ripening in the garden, enough to hand out to friends and neighbors. I also want to bring some in to the folks where I've been getting the billboard tarps, by way of saying thanks.

Sadly these fruits are hybrids, so I won't be able to save their seeds for next year. I have one heirloom watermelon that has a nice-sized fruit on it, and I'm guarding it like a hawk in order to harvest its seeds.


  1. Hello, I'm your newest follower. I found you by Googling how to can refried beans. I'm looking forward to pouring over your site. Have a great weekend.

    1. Thank you, and welcome!

      Regarding refried beans, remember to can them as whole beans. See this post:

      - Patrice

  2. Your garden looks beautiful this year! I'm so happy that you and your family are reaping the success!

  3. Your cantaloupe looks wonderful. I wish that I had planted some this year. I really like the idea of using the billboard tarps for your ground under the garden and want to try this next year. I have called a couple places in Spokane with no luck. Would you let the cat out of the bag with your info on the company? I would greatly appreciate it. Hubby might have a Drs. appt. at the VA soon and this would be a good time for us to go since we live down on the Palouse and the drive is long.
    Thanks so much

    If you need my e-mail I can give that to you.

    1. It's LaMar Advertising in Spokane.

      - Patrice

  4. Hvae you considered making watermelon rind pickles

  5. And watermelon rind preserves.
    Your garden looks great, all my vine crops got too much rain this year, squash,cucumbers,cantelopes, pumpkin. Killed the roots.

  6. Patrice-
    We live pretty close as the crow flies (NW Montana) and I've had terrible luck with melons. Your's look so good, could you share the name of your melons and where you got the seed? Maybe next year we can have our own melons, too.


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