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Influence of Preharvest Factors in Melon Fruit Quality

C. Mendez and M. D. Orzolek
Department of Horticulture
The Pennsylvania State University

 

Crops Planted:
  •  Honeydew 'Moonshine'; Cantaloupe 'Cordele"
Bed Preparation:
  •  Flat Beds, May 10, 1995; Raised Beds, May 8, 1995
Fertilizer:
  •  300 lb/A 10-20-20; April 4, 1995 (+fertigation)
Date Planted:
  •  May 10, 1995
Date Transplanted:
  •  June 1, 1995
Plot Size:
  •  Randomized Split Plot with 3 replications
Irrigation:
  •  Five plants/ split plot; 8 feet between rows and 2 feet between plants
Pesticides:
  •  Drip irrigation
Design:
  •  Dual (I pt/A); Goal (1/3 pt/A) - May 8, 1995
  • Sevin 80S (1.25 lb/A); Asana (8 oz/A)
  • Bravo 720 (1.5 NA)


Comments:
Moonshine production was higher in blue and red plastic mulch, within the flat bed treatment, than in black plastic mulch. Blue color, in the raised bed treatment, had the highest production and was clearly superior to black and red plastic mulch (Table 1). Cordele production was higher on Blue and Red plastic mulch than in Black plastic in both bed treatments (Table 2). The combination of Blue plastic mulch color and raised bed appears to provide the best conditions for higher production with both melon crops.


Blue plastic mulch gave consistent and acceptable values for thickness, brix, and firmness in both varieties when compare to the other plastics, Table 3.


All plant nutrients were analyzed, but only those in Table 4 showed sharp differences. Raised beds tended to have higher uptake and accumulation of nutrients than flat beds. This might explain the early flowering observed on raised beds. The Boron treatment did not give clear trends in the nutritional status. Nutrients with the most sharp difference are presented in Tables 5 and 6.

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Table 1. Honeydew 'Moonshine' yields (kg/plot) graded by size for the different treatments.

Bed Color First
WgtNum
Second
Wgt Num
Total
WgtNum
Flat Black 22.9411.5 3.162.5 26.4414.2
. Blue 26.3813.3 2.211.7 28.59 15.0
. Red 29.7414.5 2.312.3 32.0516.8
Raised Black 16.199.4 2.022.0 18.2111.4
. Blue 28.1615.0 2.002.2 30.1617.2
. Red 24.1612.4 1.721.5 25.8813.8

Table 3. Values of Thickness (Tk), Brix (Bx) and Firmness (Fr) of 'Moonshine' an 'Cordelle' varieties.

Bed Color Moonshine
TkBx Fn
Cordele
TkBxFn
Flat Black 3.4013.326.85 3.08 13.735.28

Blue 3.5013.157.67 3.40 13.905.70

Red 3.6313.555.87 3.18 12.955.55
Raised Black 3.1812.004.58 3.2512.613.77

Blue 3.5513.165.80 3.11 13.165.08

Red 3.1611.835.30 3.51 14.005.75

Table 4. Nutritional status of melon plants at preflowering stage.


N
%
P
%
K
%
Ca
%
B
ppm
Zn
ppm
Moonshine 5.4 0.65 2.7 3.4 29 28.5
Cordele 4.7 0.53 2.5 4.1 30 24.5
Flat 4.9 0.5 2.6 3.4 26 25
Raised 5.2 0.7 2.5 4.1 33 28

Raised 5.2 0.7 2.5 4.1 33 28

Table 5. Values of P, K, Ca, B and Zn in 'Moonshine'.

Bed Color Boron P K Ca B Zn
Flat Black 1 0.55 3.48 2.66 37.0 36.6
. . 2 0.61 3.40 2.94 37.0 39.0
. Blue 1 0.59 3.14 2.64 38.7 38.0
. . 2 0.58 3.29 2.78 37.7 40.3
. Red 1 0.55 3.28 2.72 41.0 39.7
. . 2 0.51 3.06 3.35 40.7 37.3
Raised Black 1 0.59 3.67 2.52 34.7 44.7
. . 2 0.58 3.55 2.54 34.7 46.3
. Blue 1 0.55 3.49 2.75 38.0 39.7
. . 2 0.53 3.64 2.58 35.3 40.0
. Red 1 0.57 3.53 1.94 34.0 40.0
. . 2 0.55 3.28 2.44 30.0 38.3

Table 6. Values of P, K, Ca, B and Zn in 'Cordele'.

Bed Color Boron P K Ca B Zn
Flat Black 1 0.45 3.55 3.70 44.7 31.3
. . 2 0.42 3.50 3.57 35.7 31.0
. Blue 1 0.41 3.33 3.73 49.7 28.3
. . 2 0.4 3.25 3.95 39.3 29.0
. Red 1 0.43 3.80 3.09 38.3 30.0
. . 2 0.44 3.77 3.14 36.7 31.7
Raised Black 1 0.51 3.91 2.89 41.3 39.3
. . 2 0.39 3.33 3.93 45.3 32.3
. Blue 1 0.45 3.59 3.65 53.0 33.7
. . 2 0.44 3.79 3.91 43.0 32.0
. Red 1 0.40 3.41 3.30 46.3 31.7
. . 2 0.41 3.59 3.01 40.0 32.7