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Cantaloupes are a warm-season crop that requires 70 to 90 days, depending upon the variety, from seeding to marketable fruit. Their consumption has increased by 11 percent since 1958. Almost all of the increase in consumption can be credited to the installation of salad bars in fast-food restaurants. Cantaloupes are very sensitive to cool temperatures. If they are exposed to cool temperatures (50 degrees or less) for short periods of time during the growing period, growth will be severely stunted. Plants will continue to survive, but their growth rate and fruit set rate per plant decreases. About 700 acres of commercial cantaloupes are grown in Tennessee. About 300 of these are on bare-ground and the remainder is grown on plastic with trickle irrigation. Annually, they contribute about $4.1 to $4.5 million into the state’s agricultural economy.

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