Charentais Melons Splitting Open

Hi, Only my second time to grow Melons once in Garland, TX in black clay. Now we have them in E.Texas, zone 8 in a sandy soil with red clay underneath. Lots of Iron, very little N, plus it's acidic; Piney woods, you know. I dug huge 4ft holes and added lime, manure, N, P and K, egg shells, water crystals a few, LOTS of stuff. They have done great and vines are covering all four of the five foot ladders, BUT... We made beautiful Cedar Ladders to grow the Melons on, have several kinds. Tried Charentais as it is supposed to be super sweet luxury type Melon. My Dad says the Melons are splitting open before they ripen. He took one off the vine after it split and said it was not sweet. Also he said the stem was still green and not dried up. He asked me how to tell if melons are ripe, I told him to use the pressure on the blossom end test. I think he is getting confused about the vines getting brown and hard with the squash. Should the vine get brown before you pick it? How do you tell when the melons are ripe. Dad mainly takes care of the 1500 sq ft garden as I can't go down every weekend any more, so I have to give him instructions. Why are the melons splitting?
Thanks Rita
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Rita Foust said:

The usual cause for melons splitting when they are nearly ripe is a heavy rain. Follow that on with bright, hot sun and the melons are prone to split.

It's winter squash that you don't pick until the vine is nearly dead. For musk melons, you look for color, smell, a little give at the blossom end. Some types you wait for them to slip right off the vine. Charentais, though, are usually picked just before they slip. (Had one from the store recently and it was very good.)

Cut back on any supplemental water as the melons get near to ripening, and hope that you don't get too much rain.
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Heavy rain, or watering them too long. When they are ripening, dont water as long, if any, and they should do well. All melons are that way.
Dwayne

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Keep an eye on them. If they look like they are going to wilt, get some water on them. Once they wilt, they wont come back.
I use a soaker hose on all my garden. I turn it on and then stick my finger in the dirt to see how far down the ground is wet. I leave it on then, every other day long enough to get the water 2 or 3 inches down.
Melons have a tap root that goes down to get water. If you bought your plants already started, the tap root may be all twisted up in the container and not do what it is supposed to do. If so, you will have to water more often. I cant prove this statement, but experience has shown me that melons that you grow after putting the seeds directly into the garden, seem to do better than the ones I've started in the house and then not plant them in the garden right away.
Then comes the real challenge, trying to tell when they are ripe. Good luck.
Dwayne

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