Introduction of Cantaloupe: – Cantaloupe/Musk melon/Kharbooj is a popular fruit crop grown throughout. India. This fruit is being used as desert fruit and also eaten fresh. This fruit belongs to “Cucurbitaceous” family and its botanical name is “Cucumus Mela L”.
• Cantaloupe helps in controlling the blood pressure.
• Cantaloupe may help in weight loss.
• Cantaloupe has low or no cholesterol.
• Cantaloupe is good for eye health.
• Cantaloupe may help in regulating the blood sugar levels.
• Cantaloupe may boot immunity.
• Cantaloupe may prevent kidney stones.
• Cantaloupe may help during pregnancy.
• Cantaloupe may help in preventing cancer.
• Cantaloupe may help in relieving constipation.
Major Cantaloupe Grown states in India: – Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh.
Local Names of cantaloupe in India: – Cantaloupe/Musk melon/Honey dew (English), Kharbooj (Hindi), Kharbuj (Marathi). Kharbooja (Telugu), Keerini pazham (Tamil), Thalkumbalam (Malayalam), Kharbuja/kekkarikke hannu (Kannada), Teti (Gujarati), Kharamuja (Bengali).
High yielding Improved Varieties of Cantaloupe in India: – Hara Madhu, Annamalai, Lanow safed, Haribhari, Pusa Asaarbati, Punjab sunahari, Arka rajhans, Durgapura Madhu and Arka Jest.
Climate Required for Cantaloupe farming: – The Cantaloupe/Muskmelon crop grows best in hot and dry climatic conditions and this fruit is cultivated as summer crop. Good sunshine and high heat make the melon to have good sugar content. This fruit crop is highly susceptible to frost conditions.
Soil Requirement for Cantaloupe Farming: – Musk melon/Kharbooj can be cultivated on wide range of soils. However, its cultivation is best suited on sandy loam/light-textured, warm, well drained soils with high in organic matter. High yield with good flavor can be expected with soil ph 6.0 to 7.0 soil temperature below 15ᵒC slows the seed germination and growth.
Land Preparation in Cantaloupe farming: – 2 to 3 sloughing are required to bring to bring the soil to fine tilth and wed free. This can be done tractor or local/country plough.
Propagation sand Sowing Method in Cantaloupe Farming: – Propagation is done by seeds. Make sure soil has good warmth condition for better germination. These fruit seeds take 3 to 5 days for germination.
Deep Pit Method: – This method is best for river bed sowing. With 60 to 70 cm diameter & 1.0 to 1.5m depth of circular pits should be dug at a distance 1.6 to 2.5 meter distance in both ways.
Shallow Pit Method: – In this sowing method, dig the pits of 60cm X 60cm X 5cm at a distance of 1.5 meter to 3m. Should fill the each pit with mixture of farm yard manure (5 kg) and soil, 40 grams of Urea, 50 grams of phosphate & 100 grams of Potash. Once pits area filled make the circular basins for sowing the 6 seeds/basin at the depth of 3cm. cover the seeds with soil with little Farm Yard Manure or any other well rotten compost.
Mound Method: – In this method of planting, musk melon seeds are shown on the mounds. In this method an average seed rate per acre is 1.5 kg row to row spacing is 300 to 325cm and plant to plant spacing is 90 to 100 cm for better seed germination; treat the seeds with 2 percent of HCL.
Ridge Method: – In this method, the musk melon seeds are shown on sides of raised beds.
Sowing season in Cantaloupe Farming: – The cantaloupe seeds are sown from November to December in south India, Bihar & West. In plains, seeds are sown from November to March and in hills, seeds are shown from April to May.
Seed Rate in Cantaloupe Farming: – Seed rate depends on the size and shape of the seed. An average seed rate in muskmelon farming is about 3 kg/hectare.
Manures and Fertilizers in Cantaloupe farming: – Spread about 60 car loads of farm yard manure (FMY) or any other compost as part of soil/land preparation. Other fertilizers, NPK ration should be 80:40:40 kg/hectare should be applied. Half dose o Nitrogen and full does of Potash & Phosphorus should be applied at the time of seed sowing. Remaining ½ dose of nitrogen should be applied after 30 days of sowing.
Irrigation in Cantaloupe Farming: – Irrigation should be given immediately after sowing the seeds in the field. Subsequent irrigations may be given @ 10 days interval to maintain the good soil moisture. Crops cultivated on river beds or in rainy conditions, may not need irrigation. Avoid water logging in the field b make soil with good internal drainage.
Weed control in Cantaloupe farming: – During the early stage of musk melon crop, give 3 to 4 hoeing to control the weeds and retain the soil moisture.
Pests and Diseases in cantaloupe farming: – Most common pests and disease in Musk melon farming are Aphida, Cucumber Beetles, Cultwaorms, Root Knot nematode, Southern blight (Stem and Fruit rot), Fusarium wilt, Gummy stem blight, Anthraconse (Leaf spot, Fruit rot), Alternaria leaf spot, Charcol rot, Downy mildew, Powdery Mildew, Angular leaf spot, Bacterial wilt, Mosaic, Cabbage looper, Thrips, Squash bug. To control this appropriate this appropriate action should be taken at various levels it also depends on the area/region cultivated. For more information on pests and diseases control in Cantaloupe farming, contact your nearest agriculture department.
Harvesting of Cantaloupe: – To get good quality of fruits, they should be harvested in right time. Cantaloupe of musk fruits are ready for harvesting when the fruit external color is changed. Clear sign of maturity in most melon varieties is when the rind changes color from grey or green to yellow. Normally these fruits mature in 85 days to 115 days depending on the variety and climatic condition.
Yield of cantaloupe: – Yield depends mainly on crop management practices and variety cultivated. An average yield of 125 to 150 quintals per hectare can be obtained in musk melon cultivation.
Bottom line of cantaloupe farming: – Growing cantaloupe/musk melon fruit as precision crop is highly profitable.