Cantaloupe (also known as muskmelon or melon) is a long trailing annual plant. The melon has a rough, round, yellow-tan netted rind with salmon, white, or green flesh weighing about 2 to 3 pounds (0.9-1.3 kg). Very sweet taste and aromatically perfumed flesh. Cantaloupe is a good source of dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B6, A, C, folate, and potassium.
Scientific Name: Cucumis melo var. cantalupo
Common Names: Cantaloupe, Muskmelon, Mushmelon, Rockmelon, Sweet melon, or Spanspek.
How to grow and maintain Cantaloupe:
It grows best in full sun. Keep your plant at least 6 hours each day in full sun.
It grows best in sandy, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Ideal soil pH level is around 6 – 6.8.
It grows best in normal air temperatures between 65 and 75°F. It is best to plant when the soil temperature is no less than 60 to 65 °F. If temperatures exceed 90°F for several days, flowers will drop without setting fruit. These melons are very tender and should be planted after the last chance of frost.
Water the melon plant, whenever the soil feels dry to the touch 1 inch below the surface. Water your melon plants thoroughly until water runs freely through the bottom of the pot. Do not forget to keep watering your plants particularly when the plants are in flower. When it begins creating fruit, you can reduce a little on watering.
Feed your plants every 2 weeks with an organic 3.1.5 fertilizer or even a liquid fertilizer to enhance the quality of the fruit and flowers. Liquid fertilizers should not be applied to leaves but around the base of the plant.
It can be propagated by seed, sow melon seed early to mid spring in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on quick and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first couple of weeks if you are trying them outside.
Melons are ready to harvest when the stem easily separates from the fruit. To avoid over-ripening, harvest melons before they naturally separate from the vine. The best way to check maturity is to place your thumb beside the stem and gently apply pressure to the side. If the stem separates easily, the melon is ripe. Ripe melons also develop a sweet aroma and an ivory-yellow coloring.
Pests and Diseases:
Aphids and cucumber beetles will attack melons. They are susceptible to wilt, blight, mildew, and root rot.
Advantages of Cantaloupes:
- Cantaloupes are high in potassium, which can help when suffering from stress. Potassium helps regulate a proper heartbeat and increases the flow of oxygen to the brain.
- Vitamin A, found in high levels in cantaloupe, is an antioxidant known for promoting healthy vision and skin, boosting immunity, and reducing inflammation. Together with antioxidant vitamin C, which is also present in cantaloupe in high amounts, these vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, cellular heal.
- Cantaloupes are also a good source of water and fiber which may help to prevent both constipation and dehydration in the summertime.