Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber
Vine Crops in Mississippi
Watermelons were once grown on more acres than any other vegetable crop in Mississippi. The decline in production is due to three factors: the conservation reserve program has taken many fields out of the production cycle, the invasion of other areas into the market window due to improved varieties and growing techniques, and the cool, wet spring weather has hampered crop establishment for the last several years.
Mississippi is known as a Jubilee type watermelon area, but Allsweet types are being grown more with improved varieties. Watermelons are shipped out of state on a regular basis.
Cantaloupes are grown on 400 to 500 acres in Mississippi, primarily for local sales. Both eastern and western types are grown to meet local demand.
Cucumber production is also done to meet local demand. Both pickling and slicing types are grown.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do you tell the difference between pickling and slicing cucumbers?
- What is the difference between eastern and western cantaloupe?
- Why are my young watermelon leaves crinkled and pale?
- What plant spacing is recommended for watermelon, cantaloupe or cucumber?
- Can you transplant cucumbers and watermelon?
- Do cantaloupe and cucumber cross?
- How do I control sicklepod in watermelon?
- What is this watermelon seed agreement I have to sign to buy seed?
- Should I trellis cucumbers?
Some Mississippi watermelon producers lost crops or got a late start because of wet spring weather. But consumers should find the sweet, summer treats on shelves in time for the July 4 holiday.
Choosing a ripe watermelon at the market is easy if you know what to look for. (Photo credit: Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)
LUCEDALE, Miss. -- Mississippi watermelon growers battled frequent rains to get their crops planted and ready in time for the Fourth of July and other summer celebrations.
David Nagel, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the crop is smaller and later than normal.
“If the sun doesn’t shine, the leaves don’t make sugar, plants don’t grow and we have smaller watermelons,” Nagel said. “Recent sunny days are allowing some of the crop to catch up. Melons may still be small, but they will be sweet and firm, or crisp.”
JACKSON – Party planners may have a hard time finding Mississippi-grown watermelons and blueberries for July 4th celebrations this year.
Unfavorable weather slowed maturity and increased disease pressure for both crops. Much of the state’s blueberry crop is grown in south Mississippi, and most of its watermelons are grown in the southeast quarter of the state. Acreage for both crops remains steady. Blueberry producers grow about 2,700 acres, and watermelon growers have about 2,400 acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippians love Fourth of July watermelons, and the 2013 melon crop should be worth the wait after weather delays.
David Nagel, horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the biggest challenge has been the slow growth rate that caused some concern that the first melons might miss the holiday celebrations. The good news is that clear, sunny days with plenty of rain along the way have combined to produce large, tasty melons.