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  • Author or Editor: E.T. Maynard x
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Muskmelons (Cucumis melo L. cv. Superstar) were grown at two between-row spacings (1.5 m or 2.1 m) and four in-row spacings (0.6, 0.9, 1.2, or 1.5 m), corresponding to populations from 3074 to 10763 plants ha-1, to determine the influence of row spacing and population on melon growth and yield. The study was conducted at two sites in 1993, one in northern and one in southern Indiana. Numbers of flowers and early season vine growth were not significantly different between treatments. In southern Indiana, the number of fruit harvested per plot increased as in-row spacing decreased; means ranged from 5.2 fruit plot-1 for 0.6 m in-row spacing, to 4.7 fruit for 0.9 m in-row spacing, 3.9 fruit for 1.2 m in-row spacing, and 3.3 fruit for 1.5 m in-row spacing. Harvests were significantly earlier for the 0.6 m in-row spacing. Mean melon weight was significantly greater for 1.5 m in-row spacing, averaging 4.1 kg, compared to 3.8, 3.7, and 3.7 kg for 0.6, 0.9, and 1.2 m in-row spacings, respectively. Between-row spacing did not affect number or weight of melons. There were no significant interactions between in-row and between-row spacings.

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Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. cvs. Superstar and Mission) transplants were grown in seedling flats with individual cells ranging in volume from 7 to 100 cm3. The smallest cells were in a 338-cell polystyrene flat 33 cm wide × 66 cm long × 4.75 cm deep; the largest cells were in a 32-cell plastic flat 30.5 × 50.8 × 6.5 cm. The study was conducted in Florida and Indiana during the 1993 and 1994 growing seasons. Seedlings of uniform age were transplanted to the field and grown to maturity using standard cultural practices. Early yield of `Superstar' muskmelon, measured as number of fruit per plot or percentage of total yield, increased as transplant cell volume increased. In one trial, plants from 7-cm3 cells produced no early yield, while plants from 100-cm3 cells produced 40% of the total yield in the first three harvests. In three of the four trials, total yield of `Superstar' increased as cell volume increased. Marketable early yield of `Mission' muskmelon, measured as number or weight per plot, increased as cell volume increased in three of four trials. In Florida, total yield of `Mission' also increased as cell volume increased. Size of `Superstar' fruit was not influenced by cell volume. In Florida, size of early `Mission' fruit increased as cell volume increased.

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Bacterial wilt of cucurbits, incited by Erwinia tracheiphila (E. F. Smith) and vectored by the striped cucumber beetle [Acalymma vittatum (F.)] (SCB), is a serious disease of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.). Cultivars differ in attractiveness to SCB and susceptibility to bacterial wilt, but no cultivar resistant to bacterial wilt has been introduced. In 2015 and 2016, replicated field plots of eight cultivars were grown at Lafayette, Wanatah, and Vincennes, IN, to identify differences in attractiveness to SCB and susceptibility to bacterial wilt. ‘Savor’ had significantly more beetle activity than ‘Hales Best’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘Aphrodite’ in three of six site-years, and more than ‘Diplomat’, ‘Dream Dew’, ‘Athena’, and ‘Wrangler’ in two site-years. Beetle activity for ‘Athena’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘Wrangler’ did not differ significantly from ‘Aphrodite’ for any site-year. Bacterial wilt severity was significantly greater for ‘Diplomat’ and ‘Dream Dew’ than for other cultivars in four site-years. ‘Superstar’ had the least disease in five site-years, but significantly less than ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Athena’, and ‘Hales Best’ in only one site-year. At one site, additional plots of each cultivar were populated with five SCBs per plant, and rowcovers were applied to keep the SCBs near the plants for 3 weeks. This resulted in similar beetle activity on all cultivars, but most disease in ‘Dream Dew’ and least in ‘Superstar’ and ‘Athena’. Marketable yield was generally highest for ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘Athena’ when plants were exposed to natural beetle populations. Overall, ‘Savor’ and ‘Diplomat’ were the most attractive to beetles, and ‘Diplomat’ and ‘Dream Dew’ were the most susceptible to bacterial wilt. ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Athena’, and ‘Superstar’ were less attractive to beetles and showed more tolerance to bacterial wilt in both 2015 and 2016.

Open Access