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Growing: In cooler climates, melons may benefit from black plastic to warm the soil; Crenshaw melons especially love heat. Mulch helps to conserve necessary moisture, control weeds, and keep the melons clean. Adequate moisture is particularly crucial as the vines begin to develop. After midsummer, pinch off blossoms and smaller fruits in order to direct the full energy to the larger fruits; the smaller fruits will not have time to ripen before frost, and are no great loss.
USDA Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Height: 16 Inches
Direct-seed 1 to 2 weeks after average last frost when soil is 70 F or warmer. Plant ½ inch deep, 6 seeds per hill, hills 4 to 6 feet apart; or 1 foot apart in rows 5 feet apart. Can plant at closer spacings if trellised. Thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill.
Crenshaws were created as a viable cross between Casaba melons and muskmelons, producing creamy white or yellow late season melon. They are typically medium to large-sized melons, weighing 6-8 or more. Their shape is somewhat unique, more oblong than most other melons. Crenshaws are a late-season melon, requiring 110 or more days. They are well worth the wait though, as the sweet and somewhat ‘spicy’ taste and smooth texture make this a pleasing contrast in late summer or fall.
Plants require consistent moisture until pollination. Once fruits are about the size of a tennis ball, only water if soil is dry and leaves show signs of wilting.
Choosing a Site
Prefers warm, well-drained, soil, high in organic matter with pH 6.5 to 7.5. Consistent, plentiful moisture needed until fruit is about the size of a tennis ball. Soil temperatures below 50 F slow growth. Consider using black plastic and fabric row covers to speed soil warming. Sandy or light-textured soils that warm quickly in spring are best.
Mulch plants after soil has warmed to help maintain consistent moisture and suppress weeds.