Crenshaw melons are related more closely to the cantaloupe family and have similar flesh coloration and flavor. They are however much sweeter than cantaloupe when permitted to fully mature. To be considered fully mature they should have been left on the vine long enough to acquire a yellow tinge and softer texture than many of those commonly found for sale. Even though crenshaw tends to be softer in texture when mature, unlike other melons it can withstand light cooking and still retain much of its succulent flavor.
USDA Zones 3 - 9
Seed Depth: 1/2 Inch
Soil Temperature: 60-95 F
Germination 3-5 Days
Maturity: 100-105 Days
Soil pH 6.0 - 7.0
Spacing After Thinning: 2 ft.
Growth Habit - Vines
Planting Time Spring, Early Summer
Harvest - Late Summer, Early Fall
Fruit Weight 6 - 10 pounds
Crenshaw is a hybrid cross between Casaba and Persian melons. Grows best in warm, dry climates. Melons are oblong / green and yellow exterior with salmon pink flesh. It grows in warm regions and fares well in USDA zones 3 - 9. It needs less water than other melons and has even been grown in deserts with proper care.
Even though they grow in dry regions and require full sun, shading the melons themselves, not the plant is advisable as they are susceptible to sunscald.
Soil should have ample amounts of phosphorous and potassium and a suitable pH to facilitate uptake of these nutrients. Fertilizer is not a major issue with these melons so long as you have a reasonably fertile soil to begin with. Avoid excessive nitrogen.
Water moderately as seedlings, cut down on water just a tad for a few days prior to transplanting. Water moderately again during growth period and once again cut down just a tad during fruit development.
Overhead watering is what is most commonly used, but that doesn't make it the best method. Drip irrigation systems are best. If you choose not to invest in drip irrigation overhead watering will suffice. Water early in the day so as the plants do not remain too wet at night which is conducive to fungal diseases.
Start from seed indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost date or direct seed after the last expected frost in your region.
Plants grown from seed started indoors should be hardened off before transplanting to the garden soil. Hardening off is a simple process of gradually acclimating tender young plants to the ravages of Mother Nature, in order to ensure their survival in the grown up plant world. The seedlings are accustomed to a steady temperature, light supply, gentle or very little breeze and basically no environmental stress or disturbances that they will experience in the real world.
Temperature extremes, rain, wind and so forth are to be expected in the outdoor realm. Hardening off allows the plants to toughen up and hone their natural defenses. See: Hardening Off Seedlings
They are heat loving plants that need a fairly long warm growing season to develop correctly. Cold frames or row covers are helpful but not always easily implemented, plastic mulch will help retain heat.
Crenshaws are considered ripe when the skin morphs from green to golden streaks.
Crenshaw Melons require pollination in order to bear fruit. Avoid insecticides when pollinators are present. If you must spray do so in the evening.