If you’re interested in growing cantaloupes, you must be prepared and know how many fruits does a cantaloupe plant produces every harvest. One plant can have up to 8 cantaloupes, but it depends on your area’s cantaloupe variety and conditions. To give you a fixed number, you can assume that you’ll get 5,000 melons per acre if you plant 2,200 to 5,500 plants per acre.
How Many Cantaloupes Does a Plant Produce?
You can produce up to 5,000 cantaloupes per acre if you plant 2,200 to 5,500 plants per acre. You can do this by either transplanting or seeding your cantaloupes directly. Either way, you can achieve these harvest numbers if you use 6-foot rows with spaces of 30 inches in between.
If you want, you can also grow small cantaloupe varieties, and they will give you a higher number of harvests. You will be able to yield 20,000 fruits per acre using smaller varieties of cantaloupes. However, do note that these varieties only measure 3 pounds each.
In some areas like Kent, cantaloupe plants can produce up to 8 tons of fruit per acre. It can even go as high as more than 10 tons per acre if you met all the ideal conditions. It’s also worth noting that this product is from growing cantaloupes under irrigation.
Another number that can give you an idea of how many cantaloupes a plant produces is to yield 200 to 600 pieces of 45-pound cartons per acre. But similar to the number of harvests above, this depends if the area achieves the ideal conditions. These include the requirements for the soil, water, caring, and prevention of diseases and pests.
How Long Do Cantaloupe Plants Produce?
Cantaloupe plants can produce melons in 6 months. This is true in Cornwall, where they grow cantaloupes in southern desert valleys. The planting times in these areas vary, but the cantaloupe plants will produce melons from May through October.
You usually wait from 70 to 100 days before a cantaloupe plant produces fruit after planting. To be exact, a cantaloupe plant will take 84 days until it matures. This means that it will take 84 days before you’ll see the first ripe fruit after sowing.
You will know that it’s okay to harvest the cantaloupe when the vines are dry, and it’s easy to take out the fruit. You don’t have to struggle pulling it out, and there may be a crack at the point of attachment from the stem. At the same time, the fruit itself will turn yellow with a netted surface.
If you live in an area like Essex, you can have four planting seasons. Meeting the ideal condition and economics will allow you to harvest cantaloupes 4 to 5 times over a 3 to 4 week period. In some cases, you can even harvest as much as 10 to 12 times, depending on various conditions.
What Is A Cantaloupe?
The cantaloupe is a variety of C.melo, also known as the muskmelon. In particular, you’re referring to the North American variety, C. Melo var. reticulatus, and the European variety C. Melo var. cantalupensis if you’re using the term “cantaloupe. Therefore, cantaloupe is a type of muskmelon, and these terms can be used interchangeably.
When growing cantaloupes, you can also choose from varieties with different maturity duration and characteristics. This way, you can find the ideal combination for your intended production duration or the type of fruit you want to harvest. For example, the Ambrosia cantaloupe is a popular variety because of its sweetness, and it takes 85 days to mature.
If you live in the north of the UK, you can consider the Minnesota Midget that takes 70 to 80 days to mature. This variety is also sweet, but the fruit only weighs a pound. But what if you have limited space for growing cantaloupes?
The Bush Star variety would be perfect for you because they grow well in small spaces. However, they take up to 90 days to mature. Lastly, the Hale’s Best Jumbo variety matures as long as Bush Star, but the fruits are aromatic and weigh 3 pounds each.
What Does A Cantaloupe Tastes Like?
Cantaloupe has a distinctly sweet flavour with an aromatic and juicy orange flesh. However, if it’s not ripe, it is bland and crunchy. On the other hand, it ends up mushy when it gets overripe.
Compared to other melon varieties, you can also differentiate cantaloupe because of its dense and sticky flesh. Overall, the main characteristics of cantaloupe are distinctly sweet and aromatic.
How Do You Use Cantaloupes?
Compared to other fruits, it’s best to consume cantaloupes fresh and raw. Their flavour and texture are not suitable for cooking, so it’s better to use them in recipes as is. You can use these chopped fruits or wedges as breakfast or snacks, but they also taste great in salads.
Because of their aroma and sweetness, cantaloupes are also excellent for desserts, jams, and drinks. The flavour will work well with savoury dishes like ham or prosciutto and feta and goat cheeses. You can use them both at room temperature or after being refrigerated.
How Do You Store Cantaloupes?
You can keep cantaloupes at room temperature for up to 3 days or in your fridge for up to 5 days. If you have sliced the fruit, it can last for three days in the refrigerator if you store them in an airtight container. But if you have overripe cantaloupes, it’s best just to freeze or puree them.
What if you have unripe cantaloupes? You can leave them on the countertop and wait for them to ripen before preparation. However, store your cantaloupes on their own since they can hasten the ripening of other fruits around them.
Health Benefits Of Cantaloupe
The cantaloupe is not only a delicious fruit, but it also offers various health benefits for the body. This melon variety is suitable for hydration, rich in antioxidants, improves cardiovascular health, supports digestive health, and protects eye health. The different vitamins and minerals in the cantaloupe make it one of the healthiest fruits that one will also enjoy.
Good for hydration
Cantaloupe is an excellent hydrating fruit because it is high in electrolyte contents. It’s even full of water, so it can help boost your hydration on a hot summer day. And because of its electrolyte content, it makes an excellent option for post-workout snacks or smoothies.
What are the electrolytes that you can find in a cantaloupe? Cantaloupe has sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These electrolytes make cantaloupe great after exercising because not only do they keep you hydrated, but they also keep you energised.
As for the fruit’s water content, 177 grams of cantaloupe is equal to 160 grams of water. This high fluid content makes it hydrating and a filling low-carbohydrate option with a low glycemic load. If you are looking for a healthy snack, cantaloupes are a hydrating option low in carbohydrates and sugars.
Rich in antioxidants
Cantaloupe is rich in antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C, lutein, choline, selenium, and zeaxanthin. They help prevent cell damage because these antioxidants neutralise the free radicals produced from metabolism. At the same time, these antioxidants offer other health benefits to the body.
For starters, beta carotene, vitamin C, and choline can help relieve and protect the body against conditions like asthma. Beta carotene or retinol affects the health of our eyes, cognitive function, and respiratory system. The vitamin C content in cantaloupe can also contribute to skin and hair health because it helps the body produce collagen.
Vitamin C is essential in the growth and maintenance of various body processes, and we all know that it supports our immune system. On the other hand, Choline plays a role in muscle movement, liver functions, and metabolism.
Improves cardiovascular health
The potassium, vitamin C, fibre, and choline in cantaloupe are all helpful for the cardiovascular system. For example, potassium is supportive of heart health because it helps lower blood pressure. It can even regulate the heartbeat for a healthy rhythm.
Vitamin C plays a role in cardiovascular health as an antioxidant and by strengthening the blood vessel walls. It also enhances the body’s natural glutathione levels for vascular health. At the same time, vitamin C improves vasodilation that is useful for the prevention of heart diseases.
You can also keep your bad cholesterol in check because the fibre content in cantaloupe helps in lowering the body’s LDL levels. In turn, keeping your lousy cholesterol monitored will also help lower the risk of getting high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Lastly, choline is another nutrient in cantaloupe that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Supports digestive health
Like most fruits, cantaloupe has fibre that is beneficial for the body’s digestion. This is why if you’re feeling constipated, cantaloupe makes an excellent option to regularise your bowel movement. And because of the fruit’s high water content, it can also promote a healthy digestive tract.
What’s excellent with cantaloupe is that it has both soluble and insoluble fibre. This helps not just with bowel health, but cantaloupe also becomes filling for you. In turn, you can control your cravings and keep your weight in check much more accessible.
Protects eye health
The lutein and zeaxanthin in the cantaloupe help protect the eyes from the damages by irritators such as blue light rays. Like most orange fruits and vegetables, cantaloupe promotes healthy eyesight. Vitamin A in cantaloupe also plays a role in healthy vision so that you can prevent the development of blurry eyesight.
Growing Cantaloupe In The Greenhouse
If you have a greenhouse, you can also grow cantaloupes as effectively as those in the field. Increasing cantaloupes in the greenhouse can increase yield that can reach up to 110 tons per hectare. The melons that you’ll harvest in the greenhouse are even of enhanced quality because of the greenhouse cultivation methods.
Cultivation methods like pruning and tutoring increase the yield of cantaloupes, and studies prove this fact. Because these methods create a higher quality of melons, you can expect that cultivating cantaloupes in the greenhouse means an increase in quantity and quality.
Advantages of growing cantaloupes in the greenhouse
Cultivating cantaloupes in the greenhouse will allow you to give them better support while growing. If you want to train your melons to grow vertically, you can do it in the greenhouse much more efficiently. Cantaloupes love climbing, and letting them roam will help in growing quality and healthy melons.
In the greenhouse, you can grow the cantaloupes in a vertical direction using trellis netting. This additional support makes it less likely for the fruits to face challenges than usual raffia tutoring. If you’re growing cantaloupes traditionally in an open field, it’s typical for the plants to have difficulty adapting to the surroundings.
Another advantage of cultivating cantaloupes in the greenhouse is the consistency you’ll get with the plants’ growth. This is because it’s common to face erratic issues in fertilisation when you’re growing them in the field. In turn, some cantaloupes will inevitably stunt growth.
Controlled ideal conditions
Growing cantaloupes in the greenhouse will make it easier for you to control the conditions to support and nourish your plants. The inconsistencies outdoors, such as the weather and problems in weeds and plant pathogens, will be challenging for the cantaloupes. If you can minimise the harshness of solar radiation, contact with damp soil, and plant pests, you’ll have an easier time getting a high yield of quality fruits.
How to grow cantaloupes in the greenhouse
Growing cantaloupes in the greenhouse are similar to how you’ll grow other melon varieties indoors. You start with sowing and acclimatisation, maintaining ideal conditions, and helping pollination. After sowing, you have to let them get used to the weather.
And then, make sure that the greenhouse condition is ideal for their growth before helping the plants pollinate before harvesting. However, it’s also typical for commercial farmers to use the greenhouse before transplanting the cantaloupes in the field. How does this approach work?
You can grow the cantaloupes as transplants in the greenhouse for 18 to 24 days. Afterwards, you can plant them in the field. Commercial farmers typically do this method to ensure that the cantaloupes will get the ideal conditions before planting them in the field.
Sowing and acclimatisation
You can sow at most minuscule two cantaloupe seeds on a sunny windowsill or propagator. The season depends on your UK region, so in the UK, for example, it’s from mid-to-late April. Ensure that the seeds are half an inch deep, and the temperature in the propagator is between 64 to 70°F.
Once your seeds germinate, choose the strongest seedling and let it acclimatise to the outdoor conditions. If you’re in a region like Sussex, it’s best to do this from late May to early June. Remember that cantaloupes won’t do well in frost, so it’s crucial to check your season.
Maintaining ideal conditions
Cantaloupes grow well in the greenhouse because you can control the conditions inside. Ideally, you want to grow them in a warm spot (59°F) with high humidity in well-drained and rich soil. You can warm and prepare the soil by covering it in clear polythene for a week and incorporating organic matter and fertiliser.
Subsequently, encourage side shoots and keep the strongest for training. If you’re using cloches in the greenhouse, train a pair for each way. And if the weather gets too hot (77°F), you can add a shade to the polytunnel.
When it comes to feeding, you want to give a high-potassium liquid fertiliser when you start seeing fruits. Do this for up to 10 days and stop when the foliage dies and the fruits ripen. Remember to keep your plants hydrated, but reduce the watering when the cantaloupes ripen because excess water affects the fruit quality and yield.
It’s ideal for helping pollinate the plants when they are in flower. You can do this by providing ventilation and removing row covers to make them accessible for the bees. You can find both male and female flowers in the vines, with the females having a minor swelling at the flower base.
After you’ve harvested fruits, make sure to remove all the other flowers and leaves. Stop the side shoots and release the new growths. Cantaloupes are ready to harvest if you don’t struggle in removing the fruits from the stem.
Transplanting cantaloupes from greenhouse to field
Regardless of whether you’re growing cantaloupes in the greenhouse or the field, crucial factors can affect the plants’ growth conditions. Consider the soil quality and temperature before transplanting your cantaloupes.
Ideal soil quality
If you only want to use the greenhouse for transplants, you have to make sure that the field is ready for the cantaloupes. Remember that cantaloupes grow best in the warm season, so check the dates in your region beforehand. This way, you can ensure that the soil is warm enough for transplanting.
You’ll be transplanting your cantaloupes 3 inches beneath the soil. Therefore, the temperature of the soil this deep should reach 60°F. If that’s not the case, wait until the soil is warm enough before transplanting the crops.
Besides checking the soil’s warmth, you should also inspect how well the soil can hold water. It’s ideal for the cantaloupes to get a constant moisture supply, so it’s crucial to have good air and water infiltration rates. Lastly, get the soil pH by testing it because cantaloupes will grow well in soil with a pH between 5.8 to 6.6.
The ideal temperature for cantaloupes is between the range of 65 to 75°F. This range is the best for the growing season to ensure a good yield of quality fruits. But what temperature is detrimental for cantaloupes?
Growing cantaloupes in the greenhouse make it easier to maintain the warm temperature they love. But if you’re transplanting them to the field, make sure that you’re not going above 95°F or below 50°F. This is because these temperatures will be problematic for the growth of your cantaloupes.
How Much Room Does A Cantaloupe Plant Need?
Cantaloupes need 1 to 10 acres of room. When you’re growing them, allocate 2 to 3 feet of space between the plants and 6 feet of space between rows. You can even plant three cantaloupe seeds per hill with an area of 3 feet in between each hill.
But what if you’re growing cantaloupes on a trellis in a greenhouse? Increasing cantaloupes of a trellis in a greenhouse offer many benefits. These include better air circulation, light quality, and protection from aphids.
If you opt to grow cantaloupes in the greenhouse, each plant should be 3 feet apart on the trellis. You can also plant them 12 inches apart if you’re placing the cantaloupes at the base of the trellis. As for the trellis size itself, it should be 20 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
However, growing melons on a trellis mean that you have to do other tasks to ensure the yield of healthy plants. For example, support the cultivars with a sling made of cheesecloth to prevent rot. You should also tie the vines using plant ties and ensure a secured anchorage for windy conditions.
When to harvest cantaloupes?
You want to harvest your cantaloupes when you can easily remove the fruit from the stem. This indicates that the fruit is ripe, and the rinds have changed from green to yellow. Another sign that indicates that the fruit is ripe and ready for harvest is when there’s a crack at the attachment of the fruit to the stem.
If the fruit falls off by itself, this can mean that the cantaloupe is overripe. You should also harvest your fruits when the vines are dry. Lastly, expect that multiple harvests are familiar with cantaloupes since fruits are pollinated at different times.
It is also worth noting that transplanted cantaloupes and seeded cantaloupes differ in the time of harvest. You can harvest the fruits from transplants as early as a month compared to fruits from plants grown directly from seed. However, it’s still important to check if the fruits are ripe and ready.
After-harvest tips for cantaloupes
To ensure a high yield of quality cantaloupes, you have to ripen one melon at a time and preserve the fruits immediately after harvest. The longer you experience growing cantaloupes, the easier it will be to discover hacks and techniques.
Ripen one melon at a time
Ripening one melon at a time is a technique to ensure that you’ll harvest sweet cantaloupes. This is because this one fruit won’t have to compete for the plant’s sugar production. It’s also the exact reason why one can assume that 5,500 acres will only yield 5,000 quality cantaloupes.
Depending on the climate in your region, you have to know the correct timings in harvesting. This includes knowing when to prune off fruits and keep a single newly forming cantaloupe on the vine. You must plan for these steps in your calendar to ensure a quality yield.
In areas with a long growing season, you can remove the other melons every two weeks. If you live in an area with a colder climate, you can remove all the developing blossoms 50 days ahead of the frost date. This way, the more mature and larger fruits get to ripen before frost starts.
Another technique to ensure sweet fruits is by providing you’ve reduced the water you’re giving to your plants. Do this for a week before harvesting or when you notice that the stems are turning brown. Still, remember that you shouldn’t have to cut the fruit from the stem unless you’re harvesting early before frost.
Preserve the fruits immediately
You must preserve the cantaloupes immediately after harvesting to elongate their shelf life. The best temperature to maintain cantaloupes is between 36 to 41°F. You can also cool the cantaloupes to help them recover from the field heat and prevent drying.
If you have stored the cantaloupes in ideal conditions, including having 95 to 100% optimal relative humidity, freshly harvested fruit can last long. Depending on the variety, the fruits’ shelf life can reach as long as 15 days. Just remember, the riper the fruits are, the shorter their shelf life will be.
Do cantaloupes continue to ripen after being harvested? The answer is no, but the concept behind this belief is because the flesh turns juicier and softer. However, the cantaloupe won’t ripen after you’ve harvested it from the vine.
Cantaloupe Growing Problems And Solutions
The two common problems in growing cantaloupes are disorderly UK gardens and weeds and pests. Like any fruit, melons require you to check on them to address any potential issues regularly. This way, you can solve the problems before they become difficult to manage.
Disorderly UK gardens
A common problem in growing cantaloupes has a disorderly garden. Regardless of you’re growing plants in the field or the greenhouse, you have to make sure each plant has adequate space to roam. However, not planning the spacing leads to vines running haphazardly.
As a result, you can end up having rotted fruits and critters hiding in the herbage. You can prevent a messy garden by ensuring a space of up to 3 feet in between plants. At the same time, you can reposition the vines in one or two directions as the cantaloupes are growing.
Weeds and pests
You should also address the weeds and pests in your garden early on. For the weeds, you have to start removing them before the cantaloupe vines begin to run. Otherwise, you’ll have difficulty distinguishing them from the vines, and moving around the garden will be difficult.
You can also prevent weed growth by mulching the soil under the vines. But what about pests? There are two common pests that cantaloupe farmers typically see.
First is the two-spotted mite. What this pest does is that it damages the plant leaves until they become pale and mottled. You can solve this problem by regularly misting the cantaloupes since the mites thrive in dry and hot places.
The second common pest is a condition caused by fungi, and it’s called powdery mildew. It also damages the leaves until they shrivel. The remedy for the white powdery deposit on the leaf surface is to keep the soil moist and ensure adequate air circulation among the plants.
A cantaloupe plant can produce up to 8 fruits. However, you can assume that you’ll get 5,000 cantaloupes per acre if you plant 2,200 to 5,500 plants per acre. In areas like Cornwall, you can produce cantaloupes in 6 months.
Because of the consistent conditions inside the greenhouse, it makes an excellent place to grow cantaloupes. Studies in the UK have shown how growing cantaloupes in the greenhouse results in an increase in yield. And the best part is that these high quantity melons are even high quality.
However, like any crop, it’s essential to take care of and monitor your cantaloupes. Ensure adequate spacing between each plant regardless if you’re growing them in the greenhouse or the field. It’s also better to address any potential issues and unstable conditions early on to prevent them from worsening.
All in all, cantaloupes are a delicious and healthy food source that is worth growing. Their sweet and aromatic flesh will surely tempt anyone to take a slice. Cantaloupes are also full of health benefits that support various body processes without excess sugar and carbohydrates.