How do you know when a cantaloupe is ready to pick? Is a watermelon ripe when the curly vine is dried up on the end?
Cantaloupes usually change color from greenish to beige as they ripen. "Full slip" varieties separate easily or may even drop from the vine when ripe. However, the slip does not develop in Crenshaw, Casaba, or some honeydew types. Most varieties soften slightly at the blossom end and become fragrant when they are ripe.
Brown or browning tendrils near the fruit are signs of ripeness in watermelons. Also look for pale yellow to golden patch where the fruit touches the ground. In the past, growers sometimes plugged watermelons (cut out tiny wedges) to check for ripeness. This is a questionable practice, because plugged melons that are not ripe may rot before they ripen.