Cantaloupe can be expensive to buy at the store. Growing your own can help save you money. This is a guide about growing cantaloupe.
Our first cantaloupe. That is a six inch ruler lying by the first picture.
Taken in my kitchen in Knoxville, TN
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Tennie from Sherman, TX
The state of Texas is always at the top of the pile for watermelon production in the U.S. That means that all things being equal, your chances for successful melon crops are better than that of the average gardener. There are three factors that will cause the growth of melons to come slow down (or stop): cool temperatures (below 60ºF), too much water or too little water. When melons don't get enough water they stop growing. Don't over-water them or the vines will collapse, but continue to keep them well watered like you have been doing and remember that the larger they get, the more water they will need. Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings.
Make sure you're using the right fertilizer. Use one with 4 parts phosphorus to 1 part nitrogen to promote larger vines and better fruiting. Ideally, this would have been added to the soil at planting time. Adding additional nitrogen after 1 month and again 2 months after planting will keep your vines growing.
Cool temperatures are probably not your problem. Although watermelons like heat, the extreme temperatures this summer have been hard on everything. You can help prevent any further stress to your melons by keeping the vines free of weeds. Melons don't like to compete for nutrients. Even small weeds can stunt their growth and result in smaller melons.
As long as the leaves and vines on your melon plants continue to look healthy, I suspect the slowdown in growth is probably only temporary. If you feel like you have a sufficient number of melons started, you can help to increase their size by removing any remaining flowers on the vines. This will channel all of the plant's remaining energy into expanding the fruit that is already there. Of course the final size of your melons will depend on what varieties you're growing.
I noticed that on some of my cantaloupe plants, the leaves have withered and cracked/broken (see image). Does anyone know what this might be caused by?
melon plants will die back naturally in the fall. Their job is done and the melons will continue to ripen on their own.
Hardiness Zone: 10a
Moises from Los Angeles, California
The number of melons produced by any one plant depends largely on the variety grown and the ability to grow it under optimum growing conditions. In California, recommended varieties include Ambrosia, Rocky Sweet, Fruit Punch, Sweet and Early, Marble White, Harper, Limelight, Honeyshaw, Ogen or Haogen, Pineapple, Gold King, and Venus. One of the most popular varieties, Ambrosia, is bred to produce an average of 4 to 5 fruits per plant, each weighing about 5 lbs. Other varieties may average more, but more fruits per plant can also translate into smaller fruits. To get a decent crop of good-sized fruit, pinch off the growing tip of each flowering shoot at 2 leaves beyond the flower. Once all the fruits reach grape size, remove most of the developing fruits, leaving only 4 to 5 per plant.
I have cantaloupe plants that had bloomed with yellow small flowers. Am I suppose remove the blossoms for the fruit to grow or not? I don't want to kill my fresh produce.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Trudy from PA
The flowers are what turns into fruit, just like apple blossoms turn into apples, etc.
Leave the flowers alone. It has to bloom and when the bees have pollenated the flowers they later fall off and the fruit grows on that stem.
Not every flower will produce fruit. There are both male and female flowers, and the female ones will develop fruit after the bees pollinate them.
Is there any way I can pollinate my cantaloupe flowers by hand? The bee shortage is causing all my blossoms to go untouched. Out of 50 blooms so far, only 3-4 are setting fruit. Some start then turn yellow and some do nothing at all. Help please. We love them and my little family tries every year to no avail.
By Grateful in GA
Have you thought about using a small artist paintbrush to transfer the pollen from one blossom to another? From hope your melon dream comes true!
Use a small artist's paint brush. Brush over the male flower followed by a brushing on the female flower. This will pollinate the female flower and should work to provide fruit.
Our cantaloupes are not sweet. Why?
By Robert H. from Salem, AL
Maybe the variety, the amount of rain, the temperature conditions, the minerals in your soil, the time picked, or any number of other things. Remember, vidalia onions only get their unique flavor because of the soil in Georgia; if grown any place else, they do not taste the same.
I have long beautiful vines with lots of blossoms, but no fruit. Why?
By Vickey M. from Concord, NC
Perhaps an animal is eating the blooms. I had a great watermelon growing in my yard Everyday I would go out & water it. Suddenly, there was this beautiful baby watermelon on the vine. And it grew & grew until it was the size of a soft ball and then stopped. Perplexed about this I fed it plant food and still no more growth. So I finally grabbed it and then I had the answer. The front side of the fruit which I could see was perfect. However, the backside had been eaten by a squirrel and was completely gone.
We live northeast of Spokane, Washington in zone 5. When should I put the cover on my cantaloupes? It has been hot during the days, but now it is in the high 70s and cooling off at night to in the 40s.
By Betty G.
Your local weather forecast will tell you when there is a chance of frost. 32 degrees is the freezing point. You shouldn't have to worry about covering anything until the weather forecasts say it will be that cold. Even then it will depend on how long the temperature stays that cold.
Here in southeast SD it got down to 32 degrees about 6AM this morning, but didn't stay that cold long enough to be considered a hard freeze. Today it only got up to about 60 degrees. When did you plant them? It seems to me like they should already be harvested. Here in South Dakota, the home grown melons of any type were being sold in roadside stands and stores for more than two weeks.
I have a very healthy cantaloupe plant growing in a moveable planter that is full of flowers, it has one fruit growing really well that seems to double in size every couple days. There are lots of other flowers that get a melon forming, then it turns yellow and falls off. There are 6 small green melons forming that I believe will make it. Getting back to the large growing one, do I need to prop it up or give it some sort of support? And what kind of support would be the best?
By Jim H
I used to take a furring strip or dowel rod to support the vine then use 1 leg of an old pair of pantie hose. I would stick the growing cantaloupe into the leg and tie it onto the stick or rod. Sometimes I would have to use 2 or 3 sticks to support the vine as it grew and produced fruit, but that depended on the size that my planter could hold. It worked great and we know how pantie hose stretches so it never hit the ground with its weight as it grew. It also works wonders to stake the fruit like this if you are growing it in a garden. Just support however many small green melons that you believe will make it and they ripen all the way around. It also keeps pests away.
Hope this helps!