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Are you growing cantaloupes in your garden this summer? I am and they are growing like weeds these days. If things keep going the way they are now, we may be up to our ears in cantaloupe soon (fingers crossed)!
I normally try to grow some more obscure types of melons, but I completely forgot to order cantaloupe seeds from my favorite mail order seed supplier this year, and ended up getting whatever heirloom seeds I could find at a local garden supply company. This is the first year I've tried Hale's Best Jumbo, but I must say, so far it seems to be a really good heirloom cantaloupe for our Virginia garden.
Hale's Best Jumbo is an heirloom cantaloupe with fruit that get to be up to 5 pounds in size. The plant gets to be about 18 inches tall and can spread 3-6 feet. Hale's Best Jumbo produces fruit with a deep green skin and golden netting. It also has sweet, aromatic, salmon colored flesh.
That's the $64 thousand dollar question, isn't it? Luckily, cantaloupes will continue to ripen a bit after you pick them, so it isn't absolutely critical that they ripen completely on the vine. However, it's better to let them ripen on the vine as close to maturity as you can -- it allows the fruit to become as sweet as possible. And the sweeter, the better! Just don't wait too long -- cantaloupe can become mushy and watery if left to over-ripen too long on the vine.