-[John White] Welcome back to the Southwest Yard and
Garden, I’m John White. Today we’re out at one of the university’s research centers and we’re looking at some crops that are growing out here. And one of them that’s coming into our markets right now is cantaloupe. We’re in a commercial
field here, and with me is Dr. Bob Bevacqua. Bob is the Extension Vegetable Specialist. Bob welcome to the show. -[Bob Bevacqua] Thank you John, I’m happy to be here. -[John] For cantaloupes, this is the season for cantaloupes. Tell us a little bit about the plant. As far as gardeners, what does the plant require. And then let’s see what’s going on with the plant right here. -[Bob] I’m happy to John. If you look a little bit closer here, here’s a very
important feature of the cantaloupe. Cantaloupe vines produce two kinds of
flowers. Here you see the male flowers, and here you see a female flower. And honey bees are required to transfer the pollen from the male to the female. At which time, she becomes fertilized and then this develops thirty days later into the fruit that we eat. -[John White] So don’t be spraying any insecticides when the plants in bloom. -[Bob] Yes, correct. -[John] It’s going to knock your bee population off. Usually, we get a lot
more male flowers than we do female flowers. -[Bob] Sometimes as high as ten to one. -[John] Okay, so if you have a problem with your plant blooming but not getting any fruit set, then your problem might be pushing it a little early. You got a lot of male flowers and the female will come along. -[Bob] That’s correct. -[John] Okay. Bob, as far as a mound here or a hill, how many plants are in this? -[Bob] I’d like to show
you right here in the soil. Using my five fingers, we plant five seeds: one, two, three, four, five. And then, we come back two weeks later, and we keep the two strongest plants, and we thin out the others. So the resulting population here
is two plants per hill. -[John] Okay, is that because the two plants like to be together or is it for better impollination? -[Bob] To avoid unnecessary
competition from the plants. Some plants will become dominant over others, and we
try to avoid that. -[John] Okay. Well let’s go take a look at how to pick a ripe melon. -[Bob] Okay. -[John] Bob, it looks like we’ve got a good set here. -[Bob] Yes we do. -[John] Now, how do we go about picking a ripe melon? -[Bob] John, you look for two
things. One, when the fruit turns the color of straw like this, especially the background color. And secondly, where the stem slips or easily separates from the
vine. -[John] Okay. Now in terminology, that would be called full slip. If it’s ready to come right off easily. -[Bob] If you can just gently touch it with your finger and it slips off, that’s full slip. If you have to tug a little, that’s half slip, and those fruit are usually used as shippers. -[John] So this one broke off easily, so that was in full slip. Now a commercial grower is going to take this, and also, check for sugars. -[Bob] Yes. We take a sample of the fruit juice, and we put it on our refractometer, and it measures soluble solids or how sweet the fruit is. -[John] This is a kind of specialized piece of equipment that a commercial person uses, not a homeowner. -[Bob] Right, homeowners should just look for the color of the straw, and that the stem easily separates or slips off the vine. -[John] Okay. Well Bob, thank you very much for being on Southwest Yard and Garden. We’re going to go look at some consumer tips now on melons. -[Bob] Thank you John. -[John] Thank you. With me now is Gayla Weaver. Gayla is an extension home economists in the Dona Ana County office. Gayla, welcome to the show. -[Gayla Weaver] Thank you, John. -[John] We’re starting to see a lot of cantaloupes in farmers markets and in the grocery stores. How do
we go about picking a good one? -[Gayla] I’m glad you asked that question. The first thing to look for, is at the stem. And you want to make sure that it’s free of any pieces of stem ,and that it’s a shallow rounded indentation, such as this
cantaloupe. The second thing you would like to look for is, the netting is pronounced on the cantaloupe. And the third thing is, the light yellow color under the netting which is about the color of straw. So those are the
three major things to look for at the supermarket. -[John] Okay. and on our green one
here? Even though it’s larger. -[Gayla] Even though it’s larger and it’s heavy, you can see that there’s still some of stem attached, and it’s a darker green color under the netting. So this wouldn’t be as good a
buy as this smaller cantaloupe. -[John] What about the old sniff test? -[Gayla] Sniff test, and that’s
also a good one. It will have a slight cantaloupe fragrance, this one does. And also, the blossom end should give slightly under pressure from the thumbs, and this one also does that. -[John] Okay. Now nutritionally on cantaloupes, what are we looking at as far as nutrition? -[Gayla] Cantaloupes are one of the most nutritious fruits you can buy because of their dark yellow color. They’re high in vitamin A, they’re
also high in vitamin C, good source of fiber, they’re low in calories, they’re sixty
calories per cup of cut-up fruit. So this would be a good addition to any meal. Either as a snack or dessert, even as a main dish. -[John] Okay. Well Gayla, thank you very
much for being with us. And remember, enjoy your cantaloupes because this is
the season for them. -[Announcer] A Southwest Yard and Garden reminder. To avoid possible E. coli and Salmonella, always wash cantaloupes and all produce before eating or cooking. Use a soft brush on thick-skinned fruits and vegetables. Avoid any produce with
breaks, cuts, or cracks on the outer skin. (soft music)