Growth of `Earligold' muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.), expressed as plant dry weight from transplanting to anthesis, could be predicted using a multiple linear regression based on air and soil temperatures for 11 mulch and rowcover combinations. The two independent variables of the regression model consisted of a heat unit formula for air temperatures, with a base temperature of 14C and a maximum reduced threshold of 40C, and a standard growing-degree day formula for soil temperatures with a base temperature of 12C. Based on 2 years of data, 86.5% of the variation in the dry weight (on a log scale) could be predicted with this model. The base temperature for predicting developmental time to anthesis of perfect flowers was established at 6.8C and the thermal time ranged between 335 and 391 degree days in the 2 years of the experiment.
Sylvie Jenni, Daniel C. Cloutier, Gaétan Bourgeois, and Katrine A. Stewart
Sylvie Jenni, Katrine A. Stewart, Gaétan Bourgeois, and Daniel C. Cloutier
A simple method to predict time from anthesis of perfect flowers to fruit maturity (full slip) and yield is presented here for muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) grown in a northern climate. Developmental time for individual muskmelons from anthesis to full slip could be predicted from several heat unit formulas, depending on the temperature data set used. When temperature at 7.5 cm above soil level was used, the heat unit formula resulting in the lowest coefficient of variation (cv=6.9%) accumulated daily average temperatures with a base temperature of 11 °C and an upper threshold of 25 °C. With temperatures recorded at a meteorological station located 2 km from the experimental field, the method showing the lowest cv (8.9%) accumulated daily maximum temperatures with a base temperature of 15 °C. This latter method was improved by including a 60-degree-day lag for second cycle fruit. The proportion of fruit volume at full slip of 22 fruit from the first cycle could be described by a common Richards function (R 2=0.99). Although 65% of the plants produced two fruit cycles, fruit from the first cycle represented 72% of total yield in terms of number and mass. The blooming period of productive flowers lasted 34 days, each cycle overlapping and covering an equal period of 19 days. Counting the number of developing fruit >4 cm after 225 degree days from the start of anthesis (when 90% of the plants have at least one blooming perfect flower) could rapidly estimate the number of fruit that will reach maturity.
Perry E. Nugent
Robert J. Dufault, Ahmet Korkmaz, Brian K. Ward, and Richard L. Hassell
Extending the production season of melons (Cucumis melo L.) by using very early and late planting dates outside the range that is commercially recommended will increase the likelihood of developing a stronger melon industry in South Carolina. The objective of this study was to determine if early (February) transplanted melons or later (June through July) planting dates are effective in extending the production season of acceptable yields with good internal quality of the melon cultivars: Athena, Eclipse, and Sugar Bowl and Tesoro Dulce (a honeydew melon). Melons were transplanted in Charleston, S.C., in 1998, 1999, and 2000 on 12 and 26 Feb., 12 and 26 Mar., 9 and 23 Apr., 7 and 21 May, 4 and 18 June, and 2 July and required 130, 113, 105, 88, 79, 70, 64, 60, 60, 59, and 56 days from field transplanting to reach mean melon harvest date, respectively. Stands were reduced 67%, 41%, and 22% in the 12 and 26 Feb. and 12 Mar. planting dates, respectively, in contrast to the 26 Mar. planting date but ≤15% in all other planting dates. Planting in February had no earliness advantage because the 12 and 26 Feb. and 12 and 26 Mar. planting dates, all reached mean melon harvest from 19 to 23 June. Comparing the marketable number of melons produced per plot (averaged over cultivar) of the standard planting dates of 12 and 26 Mar. indicated decreases of 21%, 32%, 36%, 36%, 57%, 57%, and 54%, respectively with the planting dates of 9 and 23 Apr., 7 and 21 May, 4 and 18 June, and 2 July. The most productive cultivar of all was `Eclipse', which yielded significantly more melons per plot in all 11 planting dates followed by `Athena' (in 8 of 11 planting dates), `Tesoro Dulce' (7 of 11 planting dates), and `Sugar Bowl' (2 of 11 planting dates). In our study, any planting date with melon quality less than the USDA standard of “good internal quality” or better (Brix ≥9.0) was considered unacceptable because of potential market rejection. Therefore, the earliest recommended planting date with acceptable yield and “good internal quality” was 12 Mar. for all cultivars; the latest planting dates for `Athena', `Eclipse', `Tesoro Dulce', and `Sugar Bowl' were 4 June, 18 June, 7 May, and 9 Apr., respectively. With these recommendations, the harvest season of melons lasted 40 days from 24 June to 3 Aug. for these four cultivars, which extended the production season an additional 2 weeks longer than the harvest date of last recommended 21 May planting date.
P. E. Nugent, F. P. Cuthbert Jr., and J. C. Hoffman
In the early 1970s, a study was begun to find resistance to feeding in muskmelon, Cucumis melo L., by banded cucumber beetles, Diabrotica balteata LeConte. Bitter seedlings were observed to be more susceptible to feeding than nonbitter seedlings. We noticed reduced damage levels in both bitter and nonbitter seedlings in 1974. Genetic study of resistant materials showed that in addition to the recessive form of the bitter gene, bibi, a 2nd recessive gene, cbl cbl, conditioned reduced seedling susceptibility. Subsequent tests involving spotted (Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi Barber), striped [Acalymma vittata (Fabricius)], and banded beetles on leaf disks of several C. melo cultivare showed that homozygous double recessive, bibi cblcbl, plants were more resistant to all 3 species of cucumber beetles than nonbitter, bibi Cbl — and bitter Bi—Cbl— plants. This double-recessive resistance provides muskmelon breeders with germplasm which can be incorporated into breeding lines and hybrids.
Vito V. Bianco and Harlan K. Pratt
Fruits of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L., cv. Honey Dew and Powdery Mildew Resistant No. 45) were harvested at weekly intervals after anthesis, and weight, shape, flesh firmness, flesh color, and the content of total solids, alcohol insoluble solids, total sugars, reducing sugars, glucose, fructose, and sucrose were measured. Total sugars (mainly sucrose) increased rapidly between the 28th and 42nd days; hence early harvest must inevitably lead to loss in quality. Ethylene treatments of fruits harvested less than fully mature did not alter sugar content since melons have no starch reserve.
Perry E. Nugent and H. S. Bhella
A mutant seedling with retarded growth and interveinal chlorosis of leaves characteristic of iron deficiency was discovered in a group of ‘Edisto’ muskmelon transplants. The seedling responded to supplemental Fe, suggesting that the mutant affects Fe uptake or use. The F1 phenotypes from crosses of the mutant with ‘Edisto’ and ‘Mainstream’ were normal. F2, F3, and testcross data indicate that the chlorotic phenotype is controlled by a single recessive gene, which is not allelic or linked to virescent.
H. S. Bhella
Responses of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. ‘Classic’), with respect to root development, stem and leaf growth, petiole mineral concentration and yield, to trickle irrigation and planting method (direct-seeded vs. transplanted) were evaluted. Field studies were conducted on a southwestern Indiana Lyles silt loam or fine sandy loam soil during 2 successive years using black plastic mulch. Trickle irrigation decreased depth of penetration of muskmelon roots as compared with no irrigation. Trickle irrigation significantly increased the stem length and diameter, leaf area, mean fruit weight and yield, but decreased soluble solids in fruit. Direct-seeded muskmelon plants produced deep, taproots exhibiting positive geotropism, whereas transplants produced more extensive lateral, plagiotropic or geotropically insensitive roots. Direct-seeded muskmelons had significantly larger stem length and diameter, leaf area, soluble solids, and petiole Mn concentration, and lower petiole Fe and Na concentration than transplants. Significant correlations were established between various components of muskmelon growth and development.
Barbara D. Webster and Mary E. Craig
The surface meshwork of tissue, commonly referred to as the “net,” of fruit of Cucumis melo L. cv. PMR-45 is an elaborate system of lenticels. Lenticellar tissue is derived from a subepidermal periderm. Cork cells, which comprise the complementary tissue of lenticels, protrude through the surface fissures which develop as the fruit enlarges. It is suggested that cork cells of the net and of the periderm contribute to resistance to mechanical injury of the fruit; that gaseous exchange is facilitated by lenticellar net development; and that resistance to disease is enhanced by the presence of a surface cuticle and by the development of cork cells with suberized walls.
Gene E. Lester, John L. Jifon, and Gordon Rogers
Muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group)] fruit sugar content is directly related to potassium (K)-mediated phloem transport of sucrose into the fruit. However, during fruit growth and maturation, soil fertilization alone is often inadequate (due to poor root uptake and competitive uptake inhibition from calcium and magnesium) to satisfy the numerous K-dependent processes, such as photosynthesis, phloem transport, and fruit growth. Experiments were conducted during Spring 2003 and 2004 to determine if supplemental foliar K applications during the fruit growth and maturation period would alleviate this apparent inadequate K availability in orange-flesh muskmelon `Cruiser'. Plants were grown in a greenhouse and fertilized throughout the study with a soil-applied N-P-K fertilizer. Flowers were hand pollinated and only one fruit per plant was allowed to develop. Starting at 3 to 5 days after fruit set, and up to 3 to 5 days prior to fruit maturity (full slip), entire plants, including the fruit, were sprayed with a glycine amino acid-complexed potassium (potassium metalosate, 24% K) solution, diluted to 4.0 mL·L-1. Three sets of plants were sprayed either weekly (once per week), biweekly (once every 2 weeks) or not sprayed (control). Fruit from plants receiving supplemental foliar K matured on average 2 days earlier than those from control plants. In general, there were no differences in fruit maturity or quality aspects between the weekly and biweekly treatments except for fruit sugar and beta-carotene concentrations, which were significantly higher in the weekly compared to the biweekly or control treatments. Supplemental foliar K applications also resulted in significantly firmer fruit with higher K, soluble solids, total sugars, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and beta-carotene concentrations than fruit from control plants. These results demonstrate that carefully timed foliar K nutrition can alleviate the developmentally induced K deficiency effects on fruit quality and marketability.