Can cantaloupes cross-pollinate with other crops such as cucumbers, watermelons, squash or pumpkins?
A. Crossing between members of the curcurbit family is rare. If crossing occurs, it will not show up in this year’s fruit but will be evident if seed is saved from these fruits to plant in next year’s garden. Many people rate off-flavored or strange- colored fruit with cross-pollination, but it is usually caused by environmental conditions or disease. Q. What is the best way to determine when a cantaloupe is ready for harvest? A. The cantaloupe is ready to harvest when the stem easily separates from the fruit. To avoid over-ripening, harvest cantaloupes before they naturally separate from the vine. The best way to check maturity of cantaloupes is to place your thumb beside the stem and gently apply pressure to the side. If the stem separates easily, the cantaloupe is ripe. Q. Some years my cantaloupe are sweet and tasty and other years they have no flavor at all. What is wrong? A. Cantaloupe flavor depends upon environmental conditions. High rainfall or excessive irrigation as the cant