Q: I am trying to grow cantaloupes. The plant is growing and has blooms. When can I expect the actual fruit to show. Also will it come from a bloom? Your help is appreciated.
Joe from Texas
Your cantaloupes will appear from behind the blooms. They will look like small round balls at first and then gradually grow larger similar to the way pumpkin or watermelon does. As these melons start to grow they are quite prone to rotting compared to other vine fruits and vegetables. To prevent this, you can rot-proof them by placing each melon on an overturned tin can or on top of a small plastic pail. Many people also erect a strong trellis near the vine and hang the melons in slings attached to the trellis made from old panty hose. Erecting a climbing support also saves room in the garden as these vines tend to go willy-nilly once they really get growing. The smell of cantaloupes also acts like a magnet to attract rodents, so caging the fruits with small gauge wire is also a good idea. Keep the soil moist by watering deeply, especially during dry periods. After the fruit sets, use compost tea or another organic fertilizer to give them a boost. A sweet-smelling melon that separates easily from the vine is one that is ripe for picking.
The cantaloupe will appear shortly after the bloom. Now that they have bloomed, for really sweet and big melons, apply a fish elmusion solution. Follow the manufactures instructions on the bottle. Well worth it. (05/25/2006)
By Janice M.
Dear Joe-- I also live in Texas and have found that squirrels can do a lot of damage to melons. If you can try and make a box of steel mesh-- like chicken wire. Then cover the melons with this. My dad also used these boxes for tomatoes. We had wonderful veggies without critter damage. Take care, Hannah (05/25/2006)
Yes, the cantaloupe will come from the bloom. It will take approximately 2 months from the time you see the first bloom until you can harvest. Cantaloupes, like watermelons, take LOTS of water so be prepared. Also, you will notice as time goes on that the vines are going everywhere. Just redirect their path without suckering or clipping, and wait for that first delicious melon. Be patient and let it fully mature before harvesting, but be vigilant to harvest when mature. Racoons can decimate a crop overnight, and there is nothing worse than having to pitch melons that the varmints have gorged on. The sweet perfume of the melons will attrack them, too. (05/27/2006)
When your cantaloupes start to grow you can use a plastic milk jug to lay it on so that the melon doesn't rot. Just cut a milk jug in half lengthwise, lay one half on the ground and set the ripening cantaloupe inside. This will also discourage animals from eating your melons before you do. (06/02/2006)
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