Harvesting Squash and Melons
All your hard work and effort is paying off with a bountiful harvest. Get the most production and best flavor from your garden by harvesting your squash and melons at their peak.
Pick vegetables regularly for a bigger harvest and better flavor. Pick zucchini when the fruit is 6-8 inches long, not the size of a baseball bat. They taste better and can be used fresh, fried or for baking. Pick scalloped squash, like patti pans, when they are 3 to 6 inches in diameter.
Winter squash need more time on the plant. Wait until the fruit is full sized and the rinds are firm. The fruit should be glossy and the portion touching the ground turns from cream to orange.
Watermelons are always a bit tricky. Harvest these when they are full size, dull in color and the portion touching the ground will change from greenish white to cream. The tendrils near the fruit will start to curl and dry.
Muskmelons are ready when the fruit actually begins to separate from the vine. Watch for the formation of a crack between the stem and fruit. Once the crack encircles the stem, the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked.
A bit more information: Watermelons stored at room temperature will retain their quality and flavor for about a week. Or, store them in a cooler location of 45 to 50 degrees for 2 to 3 weeks. You can store ripe muskmelons in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to ten days. Or, try freezing a few containers of melon balls to extend your enjoyment.