Cantaloupe ​

This is modified from the Midwest VegetableProduction Guide for Commercial Growers​ (ID-56) as an introduction to the production practices of cantaloupe. For more information, see the ID-56 or contact a SWPAP specialist.   ​

 

 

Cucurbit Vegetables — Cucumber, Muskmelon, and Watermelon

 

MUSKMELON Varieties

Season

Quality

Remarks

Aphrodite

early-mid

excellent

Good shipper, 6-9 lbs.

Athena

early-mid

excellent

Medium net, oval very firm flesh

Crescent Moon

early-mid

good

Heavy net, oval, deep sutures

Eclipse

mid-late

excellent

Heavy net, round, very firm flesh

Odyssey

early-mid

excellent

Round to oval, firm, local market only

Saticoy

late

very good

Good eating quality for direct sales

Starfire (HM 2608)

mid-late

very good

Very large fruit, good netting

Starship

early-mid

very good

Excellent size and net, uniform fruit

Superstar

early

good

Very large fruit, excellent netting

Vienna

early-mid

excellent

Oblong, shallow sutures, holds well

 

Green-fleshed muskmelons: Galileo, Levigal, Passport

 

Honeydew melons for trial: Daybreak, Early Dew, Moonshine.

 

WATERMELON varieties

Maturity (days)

Ring Color and Pattern

Shape

Approx. wt. (lb.)

Large, Red-Fleshed, Seeded

 

 

 

 

Crimson Sweet (open pollinated)

88

green, striped

blocky round

20-30

Denver

85

green, striped

round to oval

20-24

Fiesta

88

dark green, striped

blocky

22-26

Jamboree

88

dark green, broken light green stripes

long blocky

23-27

Olé

85

dark green, striped

oblong/blocky

22-25

Raspa

83

medium green, dark green stripes

blocky

22-24

Regency

82

dark green, striped

blocky oblong

18-22

Royal Majesty

90

green, thin stripes

long oval

30

Royal Sweet

85

light green, striped

blocky oval

20-25

Sangria

85

dark green, striped

long blocky oval

20-26

Stars and Stripes

88

dark green, striped

long, blocky, oval

20-26

Summer Flavor 500

88

medium green, striped

blocky oblong

25-35

Summer Flavor 790

88

dark green, light green stripes

oblong blocky

24-28

Summer Flavor 800

88

dark green, striped

blocky oval

22-26

Top Gun

83

medium green, dark green stripes

globe

21-24

Large, Red-Fleshed, Seedless1

 

 

 

 

Afternoon Delight

87

mottled stripe

Round

16-20

Crunchy Red

88

medium green stripes, light background

round to oval

15-18

Cooperstown

85

medium green stripes, green background

round to oval

16-22

Fresh Cut

83

dark green, no stripes

round to blocky

18-20

Genesis

85

dark green, striped

round

15-18

Gypsy

85

light green, striped

round to globe

13-17

Imagination

80

Solid dark green

round

12-15

Indiana

76

Jubilee stripe/dark background

round-oval

13-15

Millionaire

90

light green, striped

oblong

13-20

Revolution

84

wide dark stripes on medium background

blocky

18-22

SummerSweet 5244

90

light green, striped

round oval

16-20

SummerSweet 7167

90

light green, striped

oval

15-17

SummerSweet 7197

86

dark green stripes, medium background

oval

16-20

SW 4502

84

allsweet type

oval

16-20

Sweet Delight

88

light green with dark green stripes

oval

17-19

Trillion

95

light green, striped

oval

16-18

Tri-X-313

90

light green, striped

round oval

16-20

Tri-X-Palomar

86

medium green, striped

round

14-17

Troubador

80

dark green stripes, medium green background

blocky

14-17

Wrigley

90

light green with dark green stripes

oval

16-20

Small (“Ice-Box” Size), Red-Fleshed, Seeded

 

 

 

 

Jade Star

72

dark green

round

10-12

Sweet Beauty

77

dark green, striped

oblong

5-7

Tiger Baby

80

light green, striped

round

7-10

Small (‘Personal’ Size), Red-Fleshed, Seedless   — For Trial

 

 

 

 

Bibo

77

medium green, striped

round

5-7

Miniput

80

dark green

round

6-10

Petite Perfection

77

medium green, striped

round

5-7

Yellow-Fleshed Seeded

 

 

 

 

AU-Golden Producer

88

light green, striped

blocky round

20-30

Yellow Baby

68

light green, striped

round

9-12

Yellow-Fleshed, Seedless

 

 

 

 

Amarillo

80

medium green, striped

round

12-14

Butterball

90

light green, striped

round

15-18

Treasure Chest

80

light green with narrow dark stripes

round

10-15

 

Pollenizers must be planted with seedless varieties. Use a long watermelon, such as Royal Jubilee, Royal Sweet, Sangria, or SF 500 as the pollinating variety. Crimson Sweet works well as a pollenizer, but its fruit will be seeded and have a similar appearance to most seedless varieties. Fruitless pollenizer varieties are available. Check with Extension specialists or seed company representatives for more information.

 

Watermelon Variety Resistance to Fusarium Wilt1

 

Variety

Company

Type

Resistance2

Afternoon Delight

Dwayne Palmer

triploid

+1/2

Fascination

Syngenta Seeds

triploid

++++

Fiesta

Syngenta Seeds

diploid

++1/2

Indiana

Seedway

triploid

++

Liberty

 

triploid

++

Palomar

Syngenta Seeds

triploid

+

Matrix

 

triploid

+++1/2

Melody

 

triploid

+++

Regency

Seminis

diploid

++++

Revolution

 

triploid

+

Royal Sweet

Seminis

diploid

++

Summer Sweet 5244

Abbott & Cobb

triploid

++

Summer Sweet 7167

Abbott & Cobb

triploid

+

SW 4502

Seedway

triploid

+1/2

Trillion

Abbott & Cobb

triploid

+1/2

Triple Threat

 

triploid

+++

Tri-X-313

Syngenta Seeds

triploid

+1/2

Vagabond

 

triploid

+++1/2

 

Inclusion of these varieties does not imply endorsement or criticism of any variety or company. Refer to company literature for information on host resistance claims.

The resistance ratings provided here are averages based on several years of greenhouse research. In that research, each watermelon variety was observed after receiving an artificial inoculation with a race 1 strain of the disease. ++++ = good resistance; +++ = moderate resistance; ++ = some resistance; + = little or no resistance.

 

OP=open pollinated variety included for comparison.

 

Pollenizer Watermelon Resistance to Fusarium Wilt

 

Variety

Type

Resistance1

Ace

pollenizer

+

Companion

pollenizer

+++1/2

Jenny

pollenizer/edible

++1/2

Mickey Lee

pollenizer/edible

++1/2

Pinnacle

pollenizer

+1/2

Polimax 6017

pollenizer

++

Sidekick

pollenizer

+++1/2

SP-5

pollenizer

++++

Regency

diploid

++++

 

1 The resistance ratings provided here are averages based on several years of greenhouse research. In that research, each watermelon variety was observed after receiving an artificial inoculation with a race 1 strain of the disease. ++++ = good resistance; +++ = moderate resistance; ++ = some resistance; + = little or no resistance.

 

A. CUCUMBER — Slicing Varieties

Season

Disease Resistance1

Dasher II

early

1-2-3-4-5-6

General Lee

main

3-4-5-6

Lightning

very early

3-4-6

Speedway

very early

1-2-3-4-5-6

Thunder

very early

3-4-6-7

 

Beit alpha type (for trial): Socrates

 

Burpless (for trial): Tasty Green, Burpless 26. Staking recommended. Tasty Green has tolerance to powdery mildew.

 

Degree of resistance varies according to variety. Disease resistance codes are: 1=angular leaf spot, 2=anthracnose, 3=cucumber mosaic virus, 4=scab, 5=downy mildew, 6=powdery mildew, 7=zucchini yellow mosaic virus.

 

B. CUCUMBER — Pickling Varieties

Season

Spine Color

Disease Resistance1

Calypso

early-mid

white

1-2-3-4-5-6

Carolina

mid

white

1-2-3-4-5-6

Fancipak M

early-mid

white

1-2-3-4-5-6

Green Spear 14

mid

white

1-3-4-5-6

Score2

early

white

1-2-3-4-5

 

Degree of resistance varies according to variety. Disease resistance codes are: 1=angular leaf spot, 2=anthracnose, 3=cucumber mosaic virus, 4=scab, 5=downy mildew, 6=powdery mildew, 7=zucchini yellow mosaic virus.

 

Machine harvest only.

 

Muskmelons: Rows 5 to 7 feet apart. Plants 3 to 5 feet apart in row. 1 to 2 plants per hill. Plastic mulch is recommended. Clear mulch is suggested only for earliest plantings in northern areas.

 

Watermelons: Rows 6 to 12 feet apart. Plants 3 to 6 feet apart in row. One plant per hill. Plastic mulch is recommended for all transplanted watermelons.

 

Mini- or “personal” watermelons: Rows 6 to 10 feet apart. Plants 1.5 to 2 feet apart in row to allow 12 to 15 square feet per plant.

 

Cucumbers for fresh market: Rows 4 to 6 feet apart. Plants 15 to 18 inches apart in row.

 

Pickles (machine harvest): Rows 18 to 20 inches apart. Plants 5 to 7 inches apart in row.

 

All cucumbers should be planted after the danger of frost is past since they are not frost tolerant. For proper germination, soil temperature must be above 60°F. Planting too early (when the soil is too cold and wet) will result in poor seedling emergence.

 

Fertilizing

 

Lime: To maintain a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Muskmelon is particularly sensitive to low soil pH and should be limed to 6.3 to 6.8. If your soil test indicates less than 70 ppm magnesium, use dolomitic limestone, or apply 50 pounds/acre Mg broadcast preplant incorporated.

 

Preplant: N: 40 to 60 pounds per acre. P2O5: 0 to 150 pounds per acre. K2O: 0 to 200 pounds per acre. Adjust according to soil type, previous management, and soil test results for your state. For transplants, a starter solution at the rate of 1 cup (8 ounces) per plant is recommended. See page 8 for fertilizer type suggestions. If the transplant flat receives a heavy fertilizer feeding just prior to setting, the starter solution can be eliminated.

 

Sidedress N: Apply 45 pounds N per acre in a band to either side of the row when plants are rapidly vining. For direct seeded watermelon, the preplant N application can be replaced by an early sidedressing of 40 pounds N per acre when plants show the first set of true leaves followed by the 45 pounds N rate at the rapid vining stage of growth. If heavy rains occur in June, 30 pounds N per acre should be applied through the irrigation system at fruit set (late June to early July).

 

For muskmelons and cucumbers grown on plastic mulch, the N rate can be reduced because N losses from leaching are greatly reduced. For this culture system, apply 50 pounds N per acre broadcast preplant over the row just prior to laying the plastic. Sidedress 30 pounds N per acre on either side of the plastic at vining when plant roots have reached the edge of the plastic (mid-June). If you are using trickle irrigation, apply the 50 pounds N per acre preplant and apply 0.5 to 1 pound N per acre daily, or 3 to 6 pounds N weekly through the trickle system until fruit are about 2 inches in diameter.

 

Irrigation

 

Cucumbers: Maximum yields and fruit quality will result only if plants receive adequate and timely moisture. Depending on your soil type, obtaining high quality cucumbers requires approximately 1 to 2 inches of water per week. An irregular water supply, particularly during blossoming and fruit development, can affect fruit quality detrimentally and result in increased nubbins or hooked fruit.

 

Muskmelons: Muskmelons are moderately deep rooted and require adequate soil moisture with good drainage. Natural rainfall may not be adequate, so supplemental irrigation may be required, particularly in the early stages of growth. When irrigating, irrigate the soil in the effective root zone to field capacity. A good, steady moisture supply is critical for good melon production. After melons have attained a good size, it is best to reduce irrigation. Reduced irrigation at this time can, in some cases, increase the mature fruit’s sugar content. Excessive moisture during fruit ripening can result in poor quality.

 

Watermelons: Watermelons are deep-rooted plants, so natural rainfall often is adequate, and irrigation may not be cost effective on heavier soils. Adequate soil moisture in the early growth stages will help ensure vigorous growth. Soil moisture also is critical during blossoming and fruit development.

 

Harvesting

 

Cucumbers: Unless a once-over mechanical harvester is being used, cucumbers should be harvested at 2 to 4 day intervals to prevent losses from oversized and over mature fruit. Desired harvest sizes range from 5 to 8 inches long and 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter for fresh market. If growing for processors, be sure to understand the specific terms of their contracts at the beginning of the growing season. Prices received are related to the quantity of fruit within specific size ranges as established by either USDA guidelines or by the processor.

 

Muskmelons: Harvesting is done manually, and great care must be exercised at picking to harvest only the physiologically mature plants. Fruits must be in the half or full slip state. Fruit harvested prior to the half slip stage will be too green and will not ripen properly. Shipping under mature fruit has been a problem and should be avoided.

 

Watermelons: Harvesting watermelons at the correct stage of maturity is critical and difficult. While each cultivar is different, maturity can be determined in several ways, including ground spots changing from white to yellow, browning of tendrils nearest the fruit, ridges appearing on the rind surface, and a hollow or dull sound when “thumped.” Melons should be cut from the plant to avoid vine damage and prevent stem-end rot. Leave 1 to 2 inches of stem attached.

 

Disease Management with the MELCAST System

MELCAST is a disease warning system that can help Indiana farmers schedule their fungicide applications for control of certain diseases of watermelons and muskmelons. The system was developed by researchers in the Purdue University Department of Botany and Plant Pathology.

 

MELCAST is available throughout the summer at: btny.agriculture.purdue.edu/melcast and (800) 939-1604

 

Each winter, Purdue Extension plant pathology specialists conduct educational programs that address the system. For more information about MELCAST, contact Dan Egel (Southwest Purdue Agricultural Research Program) at (812) 886-0198 or egel@purdue.edu.

 

 ​

 
​​