The Q&A Archives: Flowers Bloom, But No Vegetable Appears

Question: The past few years I've had trouble gardening. When I planted a fruit, a vine grew and flowers budded, but no fruit ever appeared. As I'm preparing to try once more this year, I'd like to know what I could do to make the chances for planting cantaloupes successful, so that I might actually see a piece of fruit this year.

Answer: There ae several possible explanantions. Melons of all kinds grow best in warm weather with full sun, rich and light or sandy soil and ample water. Stress or even cold nighttime temperatures can cause failure, as can lack of pollination. Since your plants bloomed I would suspect a pollination problem.

Cantaloupes, like other melons, need to be pollinated by insects in order to set fruit. They will also set male flowers prior to setting female flowers in order to arrange a good ratio for pollination. You might try pollinating using a paintbrush to ensure better results. Female flowers can be identified by the swelling at the base of the petals -- almost like a mini melon.

Finally, if you are planting a fruit or home saved seed from a hybrid, it is possible the resulting plants are simply inferior to the parents. You should take care to use seed for a variety well suited to your area, as well. Burpee (800-888-1447) offers several in the current catalog.

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