by Carol Ames
(Winnemucca, Nevada, USA)
What causes watermelons and cantaloupe to break open, split, or develop cracks before they reach maturity and are ready for harvest?
Watermelon or cantaloupe splitting is usually caused by sudden or too much watering in the last few weeks before harvest.
Uneven watering of melons can cause cracks to form before the melons reach maturity, especially on thin-skinned varieties of melons.
Sometimes melon-splitting cannot be prevented, as it can be caused when a heavy rain occurs in the final weeks before harvest.
Watermelon and Cantaloupe melon plants are deep-rooted, and regular deep-watering during the first few weeks of growth is essential to establish a healthy root system.
After the watermelon plant is well-established, watering should be regular, deep and less frequent.
Also, adding a layer of mulch around your watermelon and cantaloupe plants will help maintain even levels of moisture for your growing plants.
Avoid frequent shallow watering, mixed with irregular hit-or-miss heavy watering in order to prevent most melon splitting problems in your watermelon and cantaloupe patch.
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