[ Pics] Crenshaw Issue [Pics]

gltrap54July 22, 2012

I have several nice sized crenshaw melons that aren't showing any sign of ripening, some are even getting sun burned..... These were planted (in late April) as transplants. This is my first year of growing them & my search hasn't produced any info on this ripening issue......

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Well, they take much longer than muskmelons. Burpee Early Hybrid is rated at 90 days, and traditional crenshaws are rated at around 110 days.

Sunburn is a distinct possibility during the hottest year in decades for anyone east of the Continental Divide. Also, the melons in the photos aren't nearly big enough to ripen, they have more growing to do. Have they had adequate moisture?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 6:41AM
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Thanks denninmi! Prolly haven't given them enough time.... NE Kansas is very much east of the Continental Divide & we're very warm! My drip system runs 4 hours every other day in soil that's well balanced river bottom black dirt & compost. Everything else in the garden seems moist enough. I think I'll put a low tunnel over my melons using Agribon 15 to avoid some of this sunburn..... Watermelons look fine..

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:03PM
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My galias have gotten sunburn, too, if they stick up out of the foliage. Covering them is a good idea.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:53PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Crenshaws DO get sunscald very easily. You can drape a piece of cheap fabric over the melons and secure the corners against wind using the stems of the vines if you don't have another means of covering them.

Crenshaws also rot easily if resting on damp ground. They should be elevated if the ground where they are sitting has any degree of moisture in it. If you get some hot weather as they are ripening and if you restrict water when they start to ripen, flavor should be excellent. "Boom and bust" watering may lead to splitting.

These challenges are why traditional Crenshaws are best suited to the Southwest. The Burpee hybrid is a bit more adaptable, but still has skin softer than the typical melon. I wish Early Sugarshaw hadn't been dropped from the market.

Lily is firmer, sweet but not as flavorful, probably better in the East. It is bright yellow when ripe, and here can sit on the vine for quite a while after it turns yellow. Traditional Crenshaw and the Burpee Hybrid should be checked for softening at the blossom end when a melon STARTS to turn yellow.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Thanks carolync1! Insightful info here. Never knew Crenshaw posed so many challenges! Being land locked here in Kansas, I might think twice before planting them again! Now that I'm committed this season, here's my solution to sunburn......

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:10PM
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By this time of year, it doesn't matter if your cover excludes the pollinators.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Correct, and the Agribon is very loosely attached (in addition to having several rips, LOL)so hopefully it won't generate heat..... I can always raise the sides if necessary.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:58PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Crenshaws are grown in the desert (or in hot-summer climates like mine), so some heat might improve flavor. But don't overdo it. I haven't tried translucent fabric with high light transmission like Agribon over entire plants. I use rather opaque fabric just over the melons themselves. If you use a color other than green, it is easier not to "forget" where your melons are.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:14AM
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I'm about to go out with stakes to mark all the melons I can spot so they don't go overripe on me undercover.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 1:21PM
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So now I'm wondering.......... Will crenshaw melons continue to produce into fall as a cantaloupe would? They're still putting on blooms, so my experience (with other melons) tells me they will....

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:55PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Quality of fall Crenshaws may be inferior even if they ripen, Handsome. The first melons to set on the vine are usually the largest and sweetest. Though I usually get a few "second wave" melons on early-planted vines during my hot, long summer. When I lived in the shorter-season Intermountain West, we grew Burpee Hybrid Crenshaws which ripened in fall and had good quality, but they had sized up during the hottest part of summer.

Charentais types are known for maintaining quality in cool weather better than most similar melons. They're a challenge here. You need to be very careful to restrict water as they ripen to avoid splitting. They need to be harvested before they slip, and eaten right away. There's also an heirloom called "Northern Arizona" that's supposed to maintain quality in cooler weather, though I haven't been successful growing it.

If you grow Piel de Sapo types (including earlier hybrids like Lambkin) or perhaps Honeydews, you can use fall-harvested melons that didn't have time to ripen as a sort of extra-sweet cucumber substitute. They need to be peeled and seeded. An unripe Piel de Sapo can sit on a counter for quite a long time and maintain good eating quality (the ripe melons are also "storage melons").

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:01PM
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