NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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August 27, 2012 Horticulture Column


The time is right, the garden season is really upon us and the goodies are really hitting the spot.  The tomatoes are really good this year and my harvest is in full swing.  I have been buying a few tomatoes called Big Mama Roma’s and wow are they really good.  They are a little bigger than the normal roma tomaotes and sure eat good on the road.  I had also purchased some sweeter yet hybrid cucumbers that are really good.  This particular cucumber has tendrils and grows on fences and other materials making for easier picking, however my take on the cucumber is they grow very rapidly and a good eating size, without seeds, is approximately a foot long with this skin.  They are very good tasting and seem to keep in the fridge well.  A question came in as I was preparing this article about the best time to pick muskmelons and the answer is tough.  Just kidding.  The best indicator is not like watermelons however there is some similarities, but in muskmelons the best indicator is how well is the vine attached to the melon.  Upon inspection you should look at the melon and if the veins that appear to quarter the melon are still a bright green color they are not usually ready.  The other indicator is look at the melon where the vine attaches and if you are seeing some separation around edges the melon is likely ready to pick.  Try removing the vine very gently and if it continues to come off without a tussle it is likely to pick.  Keep in mind these are not full proof methods but do work quite well.

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