Poor Cantaloupes

kcineyJuly 19, 2012

I am relatively new to gardening, and I decided a SFG would be easier for me to maintain. I decided to planted cantaloupe that I received as a transplant from a friend. I have several grapefruit sized cantaloupes that are growing beautifully along with several small ones. However, I went out to the garden this evening and noticed a couple of wilted small cantaloupes. Can anyone tell me what is causing this? I have not noticed any insects, and the vines still look extremely healthy except for a couple of wilted fruit. The only thing I have added to the garden is Diatomaceous Earth for sow bugs that are devouring my strawberries and Neem Oil to the leaves of my okra (located on the opposite end of my 8x4 SFG).

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Here is another pic. Sorry they are so large.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:27PM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

Did the flower only just come off in the last couple days ? Could be that they were not fertilized. Melons, cantaloupe, cucumber, squash, pumpkin have male flowers and female flowers. If the females are not pollinated, the little fruit will wilt and fall off.

Google for directions on how to pollinate the flowers yourself if the bees are not doing the job for you.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:58AM
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That makes sense, and it's good to know I can pollinate them myself also. I'm not for sure when the actually flower fell off. I have quite a few on the vine which makes it difficult to remember which is which. How big are they when they begin to wilt? These are about the size of a fig. I have a smaller one close to the one on the first pic, but it seems to be thriving at this point along with several larger ones. I thought about the water issue, but my watering has been consistent even with the heat.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Bryan Scott

Not trying to sound "dirty" or anything, but you can give them a "helping hand" by gently rubbing a male flower's pollen into a female flower's pollen. I've done this with my watermelons (most take, some do not). I've also heard of using a Q-Tip to do the same. You will know if yours takes in that within a day or two the little melon will start swelling up.

If you do not have pollinators flying around, such as bees, then hand pollination is definitely something to try.

Just for reference, the flowers with the little baby melons are the females, the one without are the males.

Good luck and keep posting pictures!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 5:01PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Those are definetly just un pollinated females, completely normal. They will fall off on their own, and as others have mentioned, you can hand pollinate the blooms to help ensure melons. If you have any bee activity though it will happen on its own, you don't want too many fruits set on one vine anyway as you wont get as nice melons as you would with less. Usually between 4 and 8 melons per plant.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:29AM
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