Cantaloupe Crop Management
Fruit Farming in South Africa

© Louise Brodie

Cantaloupe Crop Rotation

It is always good to rotate cantaloupes with other crops like legumes or leafy crops. Try to plant cantaloupes every two years on the same area. If the area must be planted with cantaloupes every year, then more stringent pest control and fumigation of soils must be done.

Yield - Tonnes per Hectare

Conservative: 15 tonnes
Average: 30 tonnes
Good: 40+ tonnes

Cantaloupe Harvesting

Cantaloupe harvesting begins about 12 weeks after planting of seedlings or emergence of the plants when direct seeding has been done. Harvesting is done by hand and can continue for three to four weeks. Harvesting is done at various stages of “slip” most commonly “full slip” and “half slip”. This refers to how easily the melon can be removed from the stem. Melons for immediate sale and consumption are harvested at full slip when the melons are fully ripe. These have to be marketed immediately. Fruit harvested at half slip are less ripe and can be used to storage and later sale.

Cantaloupe Storage

Cantaloupe or Muskmelon are extremely perishable so storage is difficult. Storage is normally at between 2 to 4°C. Relative humidity must be about 90%+. Storage is rarely for more than 14 days. Some new varieties harvested at half slip can be stored at 0 to 2°C for up to four weeks. The best tasting melon is still the one ripened to maturity on the vine and eaten as soon after harvest as possible.


Nematodes, American Bollworm, Aphids and Leaf beetles.


Downey Mildew, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew, Fusarium wilt and rot, Mosaic virus, Bacterial wilt and Leaf spot.

By Louise Brodie

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