The Q&A Archives: Removing Melon Blossoms

Question: Is it true that you can take off some of the cantalope blossoms in order to give more energy in producing fewer but quicker growing cantalope?

Our summer here in Oregon has not had as many hot days as expected. I have mulched my cantalope plants with black plastic and they are doing fine. I have large plants with many vines and blossoms. I noticed today that my first melon is around the size of a baseball with many other melons coming on that are around the size of a walnut. Should I cut some of the excess vines and/or flowers in order to produce less melons and give the ones that are now producing, a chance to get bigger before the weather really starts to cool too much?

Answer: It's really difficult to grow melons in the Pacific Northwest, so anything you can do to hasten the ripening process will be to your benefit. The black plastic mulch will help absorb and radiate heat, so that's a very good move! You can, and should, pinch out the tips of the vines once they have set a fruit or two. This will channel the plants' energy into ripening the fruit instead of growing additional vine and developing additional flowers. You can remove some of the immature fruit, as well. Try to do minimal damage to the vines when pinching off the tips and fruits. Lopping off unwanted vines will leave an opening for insects and diseases, but pinching just the tip of the growing vine will enable the plant to seal the wound in a quick and natural way. When removing unwanted fruit, try twisting it off rather than cutting. Again, this should leave as small a wound as possible - one that the plant is capable of sealing off without too much trouble. Hope you have a tasty harvest!

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