CUCUMIS melo 'Hale's Best Jumbo'
Plant Common Name
Cantaloupe, Hales Best Jumbo Cantaloupe
The heirloom cantaloupe, 'Hale's Best Jumbo', has greenish tan, netted skin and super sweet, salmon-orange flesh within. This early-producing variety produces oval fruit that reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. This variety takes 86 days to produce harvestable fruits, and summer warmth needs to last for at least ten weeks for fruit production.
Melons are tropical annual vines with long, spreading stems that cling via springy tendrils. Their big lobed leaves are coarse, fuzzy and medium to deep green. Bright yellow, funnel-shaped flowers are produced when the vines reach maturity. The flowers are monoecious, meaning separate male and female yellow flowers appear on each vine. The pollen producing male flowers open first, followed by the female flowers, which have distinctive bulbous ovaries at their bases. Only the female flowers produce melons and each must be pollinated by bees for fruit set, so be sure to encourage these productive garden insects.
For best performance, plant melons in full sun and friable, fertile, deep soil with good drainage. A neutral pH is best. Vines should be planted after the danger of frost has passed. It is common practice to create mounds of soil to grow melons in. The seed can be directly sown in ground. Melons need space to grow and should be surrounded by a layer of straw to protect the fruits from rot and keep weeds at bay. If space is limited, they can be grown on a trellis and fruits supported with cloth slings. Heavy rains can cause ripe fruits on the vine to split and lose sweetness.
Cantaloupes are best harvested when the skin becomes fragrant and the melon can be easily removed from the vine. Mature fruits also become yellower at the base and emit a hollow sound if knocked.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 4
2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
8"-14" / 20.3cm - 35.6cm
5'-12' / 1.5m - 3.7m