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Plant Diseases/Cantaloupe

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Question
QUESTION: This is the third year in row that we plant cantaloupe vines and all we encounter is buds just shrivel and die just few of them successfully bring up fruits.What is Your opinion.Thanks.

ANSWER: Janko, Cantaloupe vines produce male and female flowers.  The male flowers will bloom first for the first few weeks and do not make fruit.  It is only later when the female flowers start to bloom and these are the ones that turn into the fruit.  Sometimes the vines do not produce a lot of fruit, but it is often sweeter.  Be sure to fertilize your vines and make sure they have enough water, although too much water will make your fruit less tasty and sweet.  It is also very important to not spray insecticides which may prevent bees from visiting the flowers and pollinating them to make the cantaloupes.  If there are no bees, you will not have fruit.  If you are doing everything correctly, then you should be able to grow cantaloupes.  If this is the first year that you have had trouble with them, then perhaps it is because you are planting them in the same place every year, and you should plant them somewhere else next time.  If your neighbors are growing fruit better than yours, perhaps they are using a different seed or doing something else different, so you might want to check notes with them.  I hope this information helps you, and I wish you much success.  Melissa

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QUESTION: This is that still closed! flowers male and those female(connected to the tiny fruit) wilted in about 80% of them.Male flowers just got brown and female did so with their tiny fruits turned yellow and limp that consequently died.The rule is they last for about two days.Is there some possibility of fungal disease.Leaves are mostly ok.Please Your opinion.

Answer
Janko, I looked this morning in my own garden for comparison with my loofah sponges which are in the same family as cantaloupes.  I actually noticed that on my plants, most of the loofah fruits did not develop, and yet the plants are actually quite healthy and have good sized fruit developing on them.  If you believe that you are noticing this more than in the past years, then there are perhaps a few things that could be causing this.  One is the weather, and if it is too humid or hot or cool, then your pollination of the flowers will be less, and you will not have as many fruit developing.  If you don't have many bees in your area, or if something is being sprayed nearby that reduces the number of bees, then not as many fruit will develop.  If the cantaloupes are planted in the same place for the last three years, then the lack of crop rotation could reduce your fruit production quite a bit, because diseases and bugs will build up in the area waiting for the next round of food from new plants.  Also, if you have been collecting and planting your old seed, then your seed might not be as good this year for some reason, and that could account for lower production.  It is unlikely that you have a fungal disease if your leaves are all right.  It is possible that you might want to fertilize your plants and see if that helps.  I'm not sure exactly which of these reasons is causing your cantaloupes to not form, but perhaps you will have more of a clue from the explanation that I have given.  If this year turns out to be unsuccessful, then I would plant next year in different areas with fresh seed, or else plant a different crop.  I'm sorry I can't be more specific in your case, but I hope this information helps you.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston

Expertise

Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.

Experience

35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Organizations
Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

Publications
none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Education/Credentials
Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of Allexperts.com and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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