On a hot summer day, few things are as refreshing and delightful as a crisp, juicy slice of melon right from the garden. Many gardeners are curious about the types of cantaloupe available and which cantaloupe types might work best for the home garden. A white netted rind distinguishes the cantaloupe, and the pale orange flesh is deliciously sweet.
The cantaloupe melon has grown in popularity due to its adaptability and health benefits. It is frequently found in grocery stores alongside watermelon and honeydew melons. The fruiting vine plant producing this melon is Cucumis melo.
Cantaloupe plants are planted starting in early spring or as late as October in the South. They are also grown in relatively temperate northern regions as an annual summer fruit. These plants produce a harvestable crop of cantaloupe within three months of sowing.
- Understanding the Different Varieties of Cantaloupe
- Types of Cantaloupe to Consider
- European Cantaloupe
- Crispy Asian Cantaloupe
- North American Cantaloupe
- Japanese Cantaloupe or Crown Melon
- Charentais Cantaloupe
- Galia Cantaloupe – Green or Yellow Inside
- Conomon Melon
- The Cadillac of Melons – Crenshaw Melon
- Canary Melon
- The Odorless Honeydew Melon
- Olympic Express Cantaloupe
- Aphrodite Cantaloupe Tastes Like Honey
- Planting Your Chosen Cantaloupe Types
- Cantaloupe Care
- Fertilizing Cantaloupe Plants
Understanding the Different Varieties of Cantaloupe
Many varieties of cantaloupe seeds are available to the home gardener. Learning more about different types of cantaloupe and common types of cantaloupe and their characteristics allows growers to choose the cantaloupe varieties they add to their garden.
Outside of North America, the cantaloupe is often called the muskmelon. The two best-known types of cantaloupes are European and North American. The net-like rind pattern of the North American cantaloupe distinguishes it from the European version, which has a milder flavor.
The European cantaloupe is rarely grown or sold in the US. Lesser known are many varieties of cantaloupe, all of which make unique and exciting additions to a garden.
Types of Cantaloupe to Consider
With many cantaloupe types available, there’s no shortage of options for growers looking to produce this delicious fruit. If you have honeydew compared to cantaloupe of muskmelon, it really all comes down to the taste you prefer.
Each cantaloupe variety differs in appearance, rind quality, and taste. Learning more about each type and its flavor helps gardeners decide which best fits their growing projects.
European cantaloupes, often referred to as the true cantaloupe, have green stripes with tough rinds that are usually slightly netted with no crisscross patterns. Their scent is sweet and musky.
Cucumis melo cantalupensis, as they are known scientifically, hails from Italy, Africa, and Asia. They are named European because they were harvested after they arrived from where importers originally sourced them. The European cantaloupe is sweet and flavorful with juicy flesh.
Crispy Asian Cantaloupe
Asian cantaloupes may have originated in the Persian subregion of Asia before moving to Europe. In such locations, it’s known as a Persian melon or the Hami melon.
The fruit has a sweet, musky flavor and is less heavily netted than the North American variety. It has a pale green or yellow background on the rind and a more delicate flavor. Unlike the soft and pulpy cantaloupe seen in North America, the flesh is slightly crisp.
North American Cantaloupe
Cucumis melo reticulatus is the scientific moniker for these fruits, with tough skin over their pale yellow shell. The rind, or outer shell, is not as firm as European varieties, but the flavors and aromas are comparable.
The raised netting on these cantaloupes grows more evident as the fruit ripens and the outer shell transitions from dark green skin to tan. The flesh is bright orange and delicious. The North American cantaloupe is the kind most commonly found in grocery stores.
Japanese Cantaloupe or Crown Melon
Because of their size, these cantaloupes are sometimes called the crown melon, and as they are grown in a small Japanese village of the same name, they are known locally as the Yubari King melon.
This distinct type of cantaloupe, scientifically titled Cucumis melo L. var. reticulatus, is quite pricey. Because these fruits are considered luxury commodities, they are frequently given as gifts by the wealthy. They’re not only delicious, but they’re also attractive.
Japanese cantaloupes are grown with the utmost care, and it is a time-consuming process. The stems are all cut to the same length, the plants are pollinated by hand, and the fruit is hand massaged to encourage growth and tenderness.
A traditional French heirloom melon originating in the western French province of Poitou-Charentes, the Charantais cantaloupe is sometimes considered one of the best cantaloupe types ever produced, outperforming all varieties in flavor, smell, and texture.
It’s around the size of a grapefruit and weighs approximately two pounds, making it significantly smaller than other melons. It’s smooth on the outside, with light green ribs and a stony gray-green tint. The flesh is thick and brightly colored orange. This variety of cantaloupe has a lot of sugar and is highly aromatic.
Cucumis melo cantalupensis is the scientific name for these cantaloupes, and they are primarily grown in North Africa. They are accessible during the summer and are popular with the public because they are high in beta-carotene, folic acid, and dietary fiber.
Galia Cantaloupe – Green or Yellow Inside
Galia cantaloupes are native to Israel. Sarda is their indigenous name, and they are quite popular in Southeast Asia. The Galia cantaloupe has a pale yellow or green flesh and tastes sweet.
Their classification as a cantaloupe variety is somewhat controversial as they’re a cross between a cantaloupe and melon. On the outside, they resemble a cantaloupe, and on the inside, they look like a honeydew melon. They are smaller than cantaloupes grown in Europe and North America.
The Conomon melon, known as the Korean melon by some, is bright yellow with pale yellow stripes running down from stem to bottom in equal spacing and white flesh.
These melons have a less sweet flavor than other cantaloupe varieties, and they taste almost like a cucumber-melon hybrid. The Conomon melon is suitable for growers who prefer a less sweet flavor.
The Cadillac of Melons – Crenshaw Melon
These hybrid melons are a cross between Persian cantaloupes and the casaba melon. Because of their exceptional flavor, they are commonly referred to as the Cadillac of melons. Crenshaw melons look a lot like their parent, Casaba melons, though they have a longer shelf life and a more fabulous flavor palette than both parents.
These melons are relatively large, weighing between eight and ten pounds. The shell is a buttercup yellow color with a waxy feel and a smattering of linear ridges and furrows. They are a sweet melon with peachy, juicy flesh. This cantaloupe is high in vitamin A and C, making it a great addition to fruit salads.
The Inodorus melon or Canary melon is strikingly similar to the cantaloupe inside and out. They even have a similar flavor, perhaps a little more acidic and sweet. The outside is brilliant yellow or orange, with white flesh on the interior. The meat is similar to a pear in color and texture, but it is more tender and sweeter.
The Odorless Honeydew Melon
In Algeria and France, Honeydew melons are called the White Antibes cultivar. They are a close relative of cantaloupe and are grown in semi-arid climates. The oblong shell of these cantaloupes is white or yellow and has a waxy texture.
The flesh is light green and has slight green linear ridges. They belong to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, as does the gourd. Honeydew is a type of melon with no odor and is nutritionally equivalent to cantaloupes. They contain 90% water, making them an excellent source of hydration and a good source of vitamin C.
Olympic Express Cantaloupe
The aptly named Olympic Express is one of the faster-maturing melons. It is a popular choice for growers with a shorter growing season or those eager to see the fruit sooner.
This early-maturing Western cultivar yields melons ready to pick in approximately 75 days and weighs six to seven pounds. The orange flesh of the Olympic Express is sweet, crisp, and firm. Powdery mildew and fusarium wilt resistance are features of this plant, making it a popular growing choice.
Aphrodite Cantaloupe Tastes Like Honey
The Aphrodite hybrid is an Eastern kind famed for its sweet, succulent fruit and is thought to be named after the goddess of love and beauty. The vines still prefer to sprawl, though they are shorter and have a more controlled growth pattern than other varieties of cantaloupe.
This type, which has a honey-like flavor, is distinguished by heavy netting, mild sutures, and orange flesh. In 72 days, these 6-8 pound melons reach maturity. If you have a limited growing season or want to be the first in your gardening community to enjoy homegrown cantaloupe, the Aphrodite is the variety to choose.
Planting Your Chosen Cantaloupe Types
In cooler zones, start seeds inside three weeks before the predicted last frost date to assure germination. When the local soil temperature reaches 65°F and nighttime temperatures remain above 50°F, transplant outside, taking care not to damage the roots.
Gardeners in areas with a long growing season and moderate climates sow seeds directly in the garden. Mulch and row covers help protect young cantaloupe plants in unexpectedly cool weather. Choose one of the smaller varieties so you can plant cantaloupe in a pot or container to put on the patio.
Planting any cucurbit such as melon, squash, or pumpkins in a row of mounds is a terrific technique for producing them. Because cantaloupes require heavy watering and don’t enjoy sitting in moist soil, mounding is an excellent way to ensure proper drainage. Any cantaloupe cultivar may be grown in a raised bed with success.
Climbing and spreading out is a favorite growing pattern of cantaloupe plants. Plant cantaloupe seeds approximately 12 inches apart when each plant has a trellis. If you’re not going to utilize a trellis, leave a 24-36-inch gap between them to provide space for spreading and air circulation for these climbing fruit plants.
Like the rest of the Cucurbitaceae family, cantaloupe plants require full sunlight to thrive. Cantaloupe grows best in well-draining loamy soil and neutral or mildly acidic pH; soil testing before planting aids in producing a high-quality crop.
Whether you are using the garden or a pot or are growing melons in raised beds, making sure your cantaloupe plants get enough water at the right time is one of the most important parts of generating a juicy, robust yield.
To develop, flower, and set fruit, cantaloupe takes two gallons of water each week. Watering in the early morning allows the cantaloupe leaves to dry in the afternoon, preventing powdery mildew and other fungal and bacterial illnesses.
As the fruit matures, decrease the amount of watering. The sweetest and ripest melons are cultivated under dry, hot conditions at the end of the growing season.
Temperatures from 70-90 ℉ are ideal for cantaloupe. The plant isn’t hardy to frost, and temperatures over 90°F cause the blossoms to drop and the fruit to ripen slowly. Inspect your plants every day for pests and treat them as soon as possible if necessary.
Fertilizing Cantaloupe Plants
Most gardeners wait until after soil testing before feeding cantaloupe plants. If you fertilize when it’s not required, too much nitrogen might encourage the leafy vines to spread instead of producing the best fruit.
Use organic matter like compost at planting, followed by a rich organic fertilizer if soil tests show compatibility every few weeks. Manure tea is a straightforward and practical option.
Mix and pour the solution onto the soil at the base of cantaloupe plants to nourish them.
Note that cantaloupe blossoms require pollination to bear fruit and that male flowers appear before the female flowers on the vine. Snip off fresh blooms on the vine end as fruit production begins. Pruning reduces yield, increasing the size and quality of the fruit, so it’s worthwhile in the long run.
After harvesting the fruit, cantaloupe and watermelon storage are important. The fridge is the best place for the short-term.
One of the best parts of growing varieties of cantaloupe in your home garden is getting to sample new products not commonly available in grocery stores. Whether you call it cantaloupe, muskmelon, or cantalupo, have fun picking out the types of cantaloupe for your goals.
Try something new with an exotic cultivar like the Asian cantaloupe or see fruit fast with the Olympic Express. Understand the varying cantaloupe types to plant your garden confidently. Cantaloupe growing time is a consideration when you grow these plants. Add Cucumis melo cantalupensis to your garden, and enjoy fruit in as little as 72 days.
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