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Cantaloupe, El Gordo hybrid

Short Description

The biggest cantaloupe we have ever seen! Sweeter-than-sweet too.

Full Description

75-85 days. Can't believe this cantaloupe! ‘El Gordo’ is the biggest cantaloupe in the garden. The colossal, sweeter-than-sweet fruits weigh in at 15 lbs. One melon will feed the whole family—and a friend or two or three. And how sweet it is, with a brix rating of 10-12 brix. Small cavity means more sweet, delicious flesh and fewer seeds. Full-vining plants.
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Item#: 51565A
Order: 1 Pkt. (20 seeds)
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$6.95
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

75-85 days

Fruit Weight The average weight of the fruit produced by this product.

12-15 pounds

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

48-60 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

15-20 inches

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Direct Sow

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How to Sow and Plant

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Direct sowing is recommended, but to get a head start you can start melons indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost in individual biodegradable pots indoors. Sow 2-3 seeds per pot.
  • Sow seeds ½  inches deep in seed-starting formula
  • Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Thin to one plant per pot.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Sowing Directly in the Garden

  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Sow in fertile, warm soil after danger of frost has passed.
  • Sow seeds 3 inches apart in groups of 4-6. Cover with ½ inch of fine soil.
  • Space groups 4-6 feet apart each way.
  • Keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
  • Thin to 3 or 4 strongest seedlings in each group when they are 1-2 inches high.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
  • Melons have a shallow root system, mulches help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • As plants grow, mulch to control weeds, keep fruits off the ground and conserve moisture.
  • Do not move the vines, they are easily injured.
  • To prevent diseases keep melons off the ground.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvest & Preserving

  • Allow your melons to ripen on the vine. In general fruits are ripe when they smell aromatic and when stems start to crack and the fruit slips off easily with light pressure from your thumb.
  • Harvest cantaloupes when the fruits change from green to yellow or tan and they break away easily from the vine.
  • Harvest winter melons when they turn the appropriate color and their blossom ends are soft.
  • Honeydew melons are ripe when the skin turns to a creamy yellow color and the blossom end is slightly soft. To avoid damage, cut the honeydew off the vine with sharp shears.
  • Watermelons are ready to harvest when their undersides turn from white to a creamy yellow. The tendrils closest to the fruit will also turn brown and dry up and the skin will become dull and hard at harvest time.
  • For best flavor eat at room temperature.
  • Melons may be stored in the refrigerator for a short time. They will lose their flavor and color if stored too long.
Days To Maturity
75-85 days
Fruit Weight
12-15 pounds
Sun
Full Sun
Spread
48-60 inches
Height
15-20 inches
Sow Method
Direct Sow
Planting Time
Summer
Sow Time
After Last Frost
Thin
36 inches
Life Cycle
Annual
Cantaloupe, El Gordo hybrid is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 2.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly El Gordo! What a Big Prize! I did not expect to harvest a 15 pound melon in my Minnesota Garden the first week of September but here it is! It was so big I had to weigh it and it is 15 pounds !The flavor is sweet and delicious. I will plant again!
Date published: 2015-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome 'lope! I grew El Gordo for the first time this year and it was the best I have ever grown. I used to grow Ambrosia but after tasting these HUGE El Gordo's I am hooked. Will definitely be buying more seed for next years crop!
Date published: 2015-08-24
  • 2016-07-26T06:36CST
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