Why I No Longer Plan to Grow Cantaloupe: Thieves, Bugs, and Disease

By Julie Sews - 1:55:00 PM

Our garden Sept 2016: Our only cantaloupe that survived was stolen before I could harvest it.
The only time I had grown cantalopue before was when I accidentally grew a cantaloupe years ago when one self seeded from our compost in our garden.  The cantaloupe did fine it grew just one but I caught someone in the act of stealing it from our garden.  Our garden is in our front yard and we have a side walk with occasional foot traffic only a few feet away.  I usually don't have many problems with people stealing from it but on a rare occasion it happens I've found it best to have decorative plants that are less likely to attract  garden thieves in front.  Plants like kale, broccoli, beans, and small peppers. 
Sept 2016: Our diseased cantalopue
I decided to try growing cantaloupe last year after getting horribly sick (from a virus form of food poisoning) for a whole month from a cantaloupe I got at our local grocery store the prior year.   I love cantaloupe so I was hoping I could grow my own and not have to worry about getting food poisoning again.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like this will work, since our cantaloupe was a total flop due to disease, pests, and theft.

 At first our cantaloupe was thriving.  It was growing so big I had to trim it back just to fit on our trellises.  But then one day I saw a bug in one of the cantaloupes just starting to grow.  I took the picture above and looked up what bug it was.  Turns out it was a spotted cucumber beetle.  Not only does this beetle eat melon and cucumber plants, but they also spread bacterial wilt.  Which explains why shortly after my melons and the whole plant started to look diseased after spotting the cucumber beetle feasting on my plants (pictured below). 
Our garden Sept 2016: cantaloupe with bacterial wilt

The only cantaloupe that survived last year from the attack of the cucumber beetles was stolen.  I can only imagine that it was a person who came into our garden and took it, since it's too big for a squirrel to takeThis time (unlike yrs ago) I didn't catch the thief in the act.  As you can imagine the fact that the only two cantaloupes I've ever grown we're both stolen has been rather discouraging.  So while I know it's possible to try to prevent pests and thefts in your garden, it's frankly not worth the work to me.  I like to try to grow low maintenance high reward veggies, and apparently cantaloupe doesn't quite make the cut.   So I'm throwing in the towel this year and plan to buy from our local farmers market instead this year. 

Have you ever grown cantaloupe or had cucumber beetles or problems with garden thieves?  If so I'd love to hear about it. 

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