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WSU researchers say squash could be the key to growing more cantaloupes in cold NW areas

Courtesy of Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center
In many cooler parts of the Northwest, the growing season isn't long enough for melons, including cantaloupes.

The secret is grafting branches from the two plants.

Growing cantaloupes in the northwest’s coldest areas is tough enough.

Plant diseases like fungi and sudden wilt can cause growers to lose their crops before harvest.

Carol Miles, a horticulture researcher for Washington State University, says she and her team grafted the fruiting part of the plant onto heartier squash rootstocks.

After two years of study, Miles says, get ready to see more melons this summer.

“We can grow melons in the Northwest. So with our relatively cool growing season, the melons will mature in a reasonable amount of time,” she said. “So we get them to the market in August, which is the prime time, you know, people want melons in August.“

This is good news for Northwest growers because they’ll have a high value rotational crop. And it’s great news for consumers who can look forward to markets being filled with a greater variety of melons than ever before.