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keith_boden

Best Overall Variety of Cantaloupe for Central Texas?

I'm attempting to grow cantaloupe for the first time. Any feedback from experienced muskmelon growers in this area would be most appreciated.

Comments (23)

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    I've been regularly growing Sierra Gold, and that works well for me. Mine were planted out two weeks ago. Charentais is delicious, but a bit trickier. You should understand that netted melons don't like to be sitting on the moist ground. They will rot. So you need to prop them up. Many do so with a tuna-fish can. Non-netted melons, like honeydews, do fine sitting on the soil, though, and those grow just as well as canteloupes. That's why I like to suggest to new muskmelon growers that they do non-netted melons first. I grow both. I enjoyed Orangeflesh Honeydew last year, and have already seeded it for this year. Be aware that melons do especially well sweetness-wise when they have high potassium in the soil. So you might want to get a soil test to check on that.

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)
  • Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b)

    Thanks, Dan. I have plenty of remesh and vertical space, so these melons won't be on the ground. Now all I need is panty hose (DW doesn't wear them). The plan is to grow them in a raised bed with designer soil, so Austin's poor soil is not a concern.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    That sounds smart. I have trellises, but none that will support large melons. I've found melons around here to be largely pest- and disease-free. Well, except rodents love them. But if they are up off the ground you'll have less to worry about that - except for squirrels, maybe.

    I should add that our growing season for these is very long, and in the past few years my melons have (after producing magnificently) grown a bit tired by August. So this year I'm going to stagger their planting, putting in new ones in June.

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)
  • mxk3

    "Charentais is delicious, but a bit trickier. "


    Can you expound on this? I'm trying Charentais this year.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    It's prone to splitting and, productivity- and size-wise, it doesn't come close to regular cantaloupes. If it splits, you pretty much have to pick it, and hope that it's reasonably ripe inside. So you'll just want to check on them a lot. Even just cracking on the flower end. I've never had trouble with splitting in other melons. Allegedly, that's correlated with heavy rain followed by heat, but I never saw that. Also, you harvest by smell.

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)
  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    If you have pine trees nearby I find that a small mattress of pine needles placed under each young loupe does quite well keeping the bottoms high & dry. My fav variety is Ambrosia but this is Va climate. Ambrosia doesn't mind the heat and humidity here. Happy Harvest

    eta, I've tried the Med type melons but they seemed more trouble than they're worth, could be soil / climate related. I prefer the overnite orange color change varieties that signal me the melon is at it's peak.

  • Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b)

    Largely pest- and disease-free is wonderful news. I've never lost a tomato to a rodent thanks to the rat snakes that are encouraged to live here. They actually lie in wait on the trellises. Since this species of rat snake is an adept climber, I'm assuming they won't have any trouble finding the cantaloupe remesh. Squirrel-chasing dogs also contribute.

    Thanks for the tip re staggered planting. I'll definitely try Sierra Gold.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    I like Willhite's Sugar Queen....developed and sold from Poolvile, Texas.

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana
  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    That's interesting about pine needles as a melon bed, but at least in my part of Central Texas, there ain't no pines, sad to say. Alkaline soil. I've tried piling leaf mulch underneath the cantaloupes, but that doesn't work very well. As far as I know, all melons LOVE heat and humidity, and ours is worse than yours in VA. Gosh, I need to attract some rat snakes. I have them down by the creek, but they never come up to my beds. The worst melon pest was a possum, but I captured and displaced him.

    I'm frankly astounded that tomatoes get so much attention. I prefer melons, and my melon season is a lot longer than my tomato season. But you need more light and heat for melons than for tomatoes.

    I've been surprised that my local nurseries don't even carry honeydew seeds, and few cantaloupes. Gotta get the former by mail order, in a climate that is perfect for them.

  • mxk3

    "It's prone to splitting and, productivity- and size-wise, it doesn't come close to regular cantaloupes.."


    I grew Crenshaw last year, and they split like crazy. Glorified cantaloupe if you ask me, I really don't see what the big whoopdeedo is about them, but DH wanted me to grow them again this year, so I'll have those too.

  • Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b)

    I'm frankly astounded that tomatoes get so much attention.

    Tomatoes have developed a reputation for being easy in an urban setting where space is at a premium. These days it seems everyone in Austin has a tomato grow bag on the patio. Considering the narrow spring window for slicing tomatoes, it does make you wonder why they're so popular. Then again, have you ever added sliced melon to a cheeseburger?

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    That's a good point that available space is an incentive for tomatoes instead of melons.

    As to melon on cheeseburger, I might want to try that!

    https://food52.com/recipes/5788-vidalia-onion-burger-with-honeydew-melon-caramelized-onions-and-goat-cheese

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)
  • Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b)

    Well I'll be danged! Once again truth is stranger than fiction. Vidalia, goat cheese and honeydew on a burger. I'd definitely give that combination a try.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    mxk3, I have raised Burpee's Early Hybrid Crenshaw. I had a 22 pounder. If you get one that weighs 14 or so, you have got a gooood one. Yes, a bit of splitting when fully ripe, but a gooood one...superb.

  • mxk3

    They were alright. Just not the best melon to ever grace planet Earth, as some write-ups seem to make them out to be. Meh.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    But in the spirit of Central Texas, we need to be aware of this.

    https://www.foodlion.com/recipes/cantaloupe-bbq-sauce/

    I need to tell Aaron at Franklin's about this! Tomatoes? Who needs 'em?! Ribs n' brisket n' melon. Ahhhh.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    mxk3, What variety crenshaw did you raise? I've raised a couple other varieties that were lesser.

  • farmerdill

    Crenshaws. The Burpees Early Hybrid is big and delicious. It does love to crack, split, develop rot. I go with Lily which is productive and has thick enough skin to avoid those problems. Not as good tasting, but I don't have to put with lots of culls.


    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked farmerdill
  • rayrose SC 8

    Sugar Queen and Super 45, both from Willhite's are the best..

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked rayrose SC 8
  • Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b)

    Update: Since panty hose is not available in this house, I'm considering mesh produce bags. Does anyone here have experience using these bags as melon supports?

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    You want the melons to dry quickly. That would suggest to me that (coarse) mesh bags would be better than (fine mesh) panty hose. My only concern would be ultraviolet damage. Those bags are going to be hanging in full sun.

    Irving Ragweed (Austin 8b) thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)
  • mxk3

    Re: Crenshaws: Lily is what I grew.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    Lily crenshaw is a nice grower, but not as tasty as the Burpee one.

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