Growing cantaloupe can be an exciting choice for your aquaponics. Find out how to grow cantaloupes and the differences between male and female cantaloupe flowers with this article!
All plants produce flowers in order to make fruit. In certain plants, there is male and female flower. Having both of these flowers present is necessary in order to make fruit.
With cantaloupe, pollinators like bees, ladybugs, and ants transfer pollen between the male and female flowers. You cannot get fruit without pollination. This is why it’s important to protect biodiversity in all ways possible.
In extreme cases, you can pollinate by hand. However, this will produce much smaller fruit.
Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between male and female cantaloupe flowers.
Cantaloupe is a type of sweet melon. Melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. The leaves have a rough texture, similar to a cucumber. It has a round, lobed shape leaf.
This is the same family as the cucumber. This is why you may notice a resemblance in the textures of melon and cucumber.
Cantaloupe fruits have a rough, light brown greyish skin. When you cut it open you will find a sweet, bright orange fruit. It is perfect for a snack on a hot summer day.
If grown in the right conditions, a cantaloupe fruit can be very high-producing. You will know when to harvest them based on the color of their skin and their smell.
If you want to preserve the flavor, do not harvest the biggest on your vine. Instead, leave that one on and continue to take off the other young fruits that come in.
In order to get these delicious fruits, it all starts with a flower.
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All About Melon Flowers
First, we need to understand the details of a cantaloupe flower. Cantaloupe flowers are bright yellow. They can start producing flowers within 2 months of sprouting.
According to the University of Florida, the female flower is identified by the ovary below the petals. This is the only flower that will develop fruit.
Male flowers have more of a long stem. They will never develop a full fruit. If your cantaloupes are grown in poor conditions, they may have no female flowers.
Cantaloupes like warm temperatures to grow. The ideal temperature is at least 70 degrees. This is very important when considering the temperature of your aquaponics fish tank.
You need to raise fish that like warmer climates if you want to grow cantaloupe properly.
Cantaloupes love water. It is also important that they receive water directly to their roots. You want to avoid getting the leaves wet.
This makes them a perfect choice for an aquaponics system. Make sure to choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight. They need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Cantaloupes are climbers, so they need adequate room to sprawl across their beds. If you do not have a lot of space, you can build a trellis so that they climb vertically. But, generally, you want to choose cantaloupe if you have space for it to spread.
Another good choice of a climber plant is the watermelon. It is very similar to cantaloupe.
Difference Between Male and Female Watermelon Flowers
The best way to determine the difference between male and female watermelon flowers is to observe the flowers in the morning. Melons open their flowers in the morning and close them in the afternoon.
The male watermelon flower is attached to the plant by a stem. The female watermelon flower is attached to a small watermelon. This should be easy to see.
Both flowers are bright yellow, just like cantaloupe. If your soil has too much nitrogen, the watermelon may fail to produce fruit. This is especially important for aquaponics owners to pay attention too.
If your tank has a nitrification problem, this will directly affect the health of your plants. So as always, be sure to keep a balanced ecosystem in your tank. This will solve all your problems before they start!
Watermelons also like warm temperatures and a lot of sun. Be sure to provide them with the same growing conditions as a cantaloupe.
They need a lot of space to spread as well.
Biodiversity With Your Aquaponics
Since cantaloupes need pollinators to fruit, you may consider planting flowers around your grow beds. Flowers will attract useful pollinators to your fruit. Some good flowers to use are marigolds, cosmos, and petunias.
Find whatever plants grow best in your region. You can even consider planting them in your aquaponics grow bed. Or, planting them around your whole system will be very useful.
Experiment with how much your flood and drain your aquaponics bed to see which conditions your cantaloupes respond best in. Adjust the amount of water and the rate of flooding accordingly.
You can start cantaloupe seeds outside the bed using a paper towel. Soak them in the paper towel for a few days, until you see a small sprout come out of the seed shell. Then you can transfer them into your aquaponics bed.
Cantaloupes require consistent fertilizer throughout the whole life cycle. As long as your fish are healthy you should have enough fertilizer available. If you notice a problem you can supplement the soil with organic compost.
It is important to understand the differences between male and female cantaloupe flowers so you can assess the health of your plant. If you notice that you have cantaloupe with no female flowers, you will know there is a problem with the nutrition of the plant.
This will allow you to make the proper adjustments to be successful. Make sure you follow this guide to keep the right conditions for your fruit. If you notice there are not enough pollinators around to create fruit, you will have to take action to hand pollinate.
As long as you pay attention and make changes as soon as you notice a problem, you should be fine. Enjoy the process and the fruits of your labor!
Feel free to comment and ask questions below.
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