Greenhouse production of ‘Charentais’-type cantaloupes (Cucumis melo L. var. cantalupensis)

Daniel J. Cantliffe, Jeanmarie M. Harty, Nicole L. Shaw, Steven A. Sargent, Peter J. Stoffella

Abstract


Popular in France, ‘Charentais’ cantaloupes boast an extremely fragrant and sweet, orange flesh. In the U.S., ‘Charentais’ melons are not widely grown due to their short shelf-life and susceptibility to powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii). The objective of this study was to evaluate ‘Charentais’-type cantaloupes (bred for a longer shelf-life and improved disease resistance) for fruit yield, quality, and powdery mildew coverage (% PM) at harvest. During Spring and Fall 2008, seven lines of ‘Charentais’-type cantaloupes were produced in a passively-ventilated greenhouse at the University of Florida, Citra, FL. Mean fruit number per plant was greater in spring (4 fruits) as compared with the fall (2 fruits) season. Fruit yield and weight per square meter and fruit size (kg/fruit) were also greater in the spring; however, mean soluble solids content (SSC) was higher in fall (14 °Brix) than in spring (12 °Brix). Percent PM ranged from 8% to 63% in the spring and 7% to 100% in the fall. Flesh fi rmness [Newtons (N)] was higher in the spring for five lines, while two lines (WS5019 and WS5022) had similar fi rmness in both seasons. Mean fruit number per plant ranged from 2.2 fruits (WS5016) to 3.8 fruits (WS5031) over both seasons. Line WS5031 had the smallest fruits (0.6 kg/fruit), while all other lines weighed greater than 0.8 kg/fruit, with the largest fruits from WS5016 and WS5019 (1.2 kg/fruit). Fruit yield was greatest for WS5031 (mean 9.5 kg·m–2) and lowest for WS5016 and WS5033 (mean 5.5 kg·m–2). Mean SSC was 11.5 °Brix or greater for all lines. Therefore, ‘Charentais’ melons would be an excellent high-value crop for greenhouse producers in the U.S. because of their excellent fl avor, sweetness, and ability to produce economic yields even in the presence of PM.


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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283