Cantaloupe is a variety of melon which belongs to the muskmelon species. In the United States, the name cantaloupe generally refers to any kind of melon that has a juicy orange flesh along with netted skins. This fruit is also called Persian melons, and they are one of the perfect nuts to eat during the summer. In this article, we are going to know more about planting and growing cantaloupes so that you won’t have to buy these delicious fruits in your supermarket ever again.
Types of Cantaloupes
- North American Cantaloupe – This type of cantaloupe has a rough and netted skins over a pale yellow background. They have soft rinds that have a sweet, fragrant, and juicy orange flesh. North American cantaloupes may or may not have ribbing.
- European Cantaloupe – This type of cantaloupe has a light green to tan skin, which can be netted or completely smooth. It has a harder rind and a pronounced ribbing. European cantaloupes have an orange, sweet, aromatic, and juicy flesh along with a slightly musky flavor and odor.
- Asian Cantaloupe – This type of cantaloupe has netted skin. Still, it is not as perceptible compared to the North American cantaloupe. Asian cantaloupe has an oblong shape along with an aromatic and pale orange flesh. They have a somewhat crispy flesh compared to the other types of cantaloupe. Their rinds can be pale green to yellow.
How to Grow Cantaloupe From Seed
Cantaloupe is a warm-season crop that is why you should never plant them until all of the frosts have passed. The most ideal environment when it comes to planting and growing cantaloupes should be frost-free and with plenty of heat and sunshine along with relatively low humidity.
We suggest that you plant your cantaloupes during spring when the temperature of the soil is between 65 to 85 Fahrenheit. You should turn the ground using previous crop residues, which are buried at least two to three weeks before you plant your cantaloupes. This is to allow the crop residue to decompose appropriately before planting.
You should plant the cantaloupe seeds at about 1 inch deep from the soil’s surface, and you should sow about three to four seeds per foot. Keep in mind that your rows should be approximately fifty to seventy inches apart. After the seeds have grown, we suggest that you should thin down to one plant per foot. Remember to remove any weeds as they become and hoe the soil lightly for you to avoid disturbing the cantaloupe’s shallow root system. After that, you should layer the ground around the plants to increase soil moisture and keep the soil relatively warm.
Watering Your Cantaloupe Plants
You should do irrigation for your cantaloupes before and after planting them so that you can make sure that seed germination happens appropriately. Drip irrigation gives your cantaloupes a more equal application of water, giving the root zone an ample amount of water every time you water them. Drip irrigation also lessens the amount of vegetation and fruit disease compared to overhead irrigation. Drip irrigation also gives subsequent fertilization and pollination, which means that they do not interfere with honeybees when it comes to harvesting, honey.
Harvesting Your Cantaloupe
You can determine if your cantaloupes are ready for harvesting by testing their strength while they are still attached to the vine. All you have to do is to press your thumb firmly on the cantaloupe’s stem. If you see the fruit starting to dislodge from its stem, then it is ready to harvest. For you to avoid your cantaloupes from over-ripening, always collect them before the naturally separate from their vine. Keep in mind that this fruit may also ripen even after they are off the vine. However, they will not get any sweeter once they are off the vine because cantaloupes can no longer concentrate their sugars. You should pinch of smaller cantaloupes from their stem as the spring season closes so that you can make room for the ripening of larger cantaloupes.
Cantaloupes can turn mature in 80 to 110 days, depending on their growing conditions and variety. Their sugar content is one of the important things that you should look for if you want to know their maturity and quality.