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Crop Profile

Cantaloupe

There are dozens of cantaloupe varieties on today’s market. Choose a variety best suited to your climate. Urban growers may want to choose a fast-maturing variety like Fastbreak or Lil Loupe, which also take a little less space.

Size: Vines grow up to 10 feet long.

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (A minimum of six hours of direct sunlight is ideal.)

Water requirements: About 1 inch per week

Soil requirements: Average, well-drained garden soil high in organic matter. Melons prefer soil that is consistently moist and temperatures that are hot. Mulching with black plastic keeps the ground warm and moist, especially helpful in northern climates.

When to plant: Direct-seed when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees F at minimum. For better results, start seeds indoors in peat pots three to four weeks before planting outside.

Where to plant: Garden (Trellis vines to encourage growth and saves garden space.)

When to harvest: 60 to 80 days from seed, depending on the variety. Harvest when fruits easily slip from the vine and the skin areas between the netting have turned from green to tan.

Product storage: Store ripe on the counter for two to three days or in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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