Characteristics of muskmelon fruits in relation to temporary row cover and the number of fruits

<div><p>ABSTRACT The muskmelon plants allow several ways to manipulate sources/drains ratio. The objective of this work was to evaluate characteristics of the productivity and quality of Cantaloupe melon fruits due to the temporary use of row cover and the number of fruits per plant. The experiment was carried out from August to December 2014, at Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (UFCG), Paraiba State, Brazil. The experimental design was randomized blocks with treatments allocated in split plots 5x3, with four replicates. The authors reported permanence time of the row cover at different times in the plot {20, 24, 28, 32, and 36 days after transplanting (DAT)} and, in the subplots, the number of fruits per plant (plants with one fruit, plants with two fruits and fruit-free setting plants). The authors evaluated traits of production and quality of fruits. The permanence time of row cover and number of fruits per plant promoted changes in the productivity and quality of the muskmelon fruits. The permanence of the row cover from 20 to 36 DAT provided reduction in the total soluble solids. The average fruit mass and fruit yield reached the maximum value with the permanence of the row cover up to 26.6 and 25.1 DAT, respectively. Plants with one and two fruits presented higher average fruit mass, but with lower productivity compared to the plant with fruit-free setting.</p></div>