The Q&A Archives: Rodent Damage

Question: A gopher ate the roots and killed one of my muskmelon plants that need a week or two more for the fruit to fully ripen. Since they won't be receiving anymore nourishment from the dead vines would there be any advantage to leaving the fruit on the vine for a while in hopes of their further ripening? P.S. One of my cats "The Huntress" got the perpertrator, unfortunately, after the damage was done.

Answer: Melons will ripen slightly after being picked but they really pack in the sugar during the last few days of growth and subsequent maturity on the vine. This is what gives homegrown melons that wonderful sweetness that store-bought melons just don't have. Go ahead and pick your melons; there's no advantage to leaving them attached to dead vines. Hope the Huntress hones her skills before next gardening season!

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