Cantaloupes are some of the tastiest melons around. The best part is that they continue to ripen after they are harvested, which tends to make them sweeter. If you think you might be interested in growing these types of melons, then check out the information below. Here are 7 tips on growing cantaloupe for you to use.
7. Plant in Well-drained Soil
Sand or copious amounts of organic matter can be added to soil to allow it to drain better. The pH level of the soil should also be around 6.5 to 7.5. The addition of sand or compost will also help the ground to warm up quicker, which is beneficial to giving cantaloupes the warmth they need to germinate. There should only be 4 to 5 seeds planted per mound of dirt.
6. Add Lots of Organic Matter
Organic matter will add nutrients to the soil. This can include one or more of the following; grass clippings, dried leaves, shredded newspaper, or kitchen scraps. If using kitchen scraps to enrich the soil for your melon plants, be sure to omit any meat or dairy products.
5. Keep Soil Moist until Fruit is Tennis Ball Size
Cantaloupe plants need lots of water until the flowers have been pollinated. After the fruit is as large as a tennis ball, you may reduce the amount of watering. Watch for wilting leaves and check for dry soil; both of these are indicators that the plants need to be watered.
4. Cover Young Plants with Fabric Row Covers
Rows can be covered with black plastic before the seeds begin to emerge. You can cut a slit in the plastic to give the seedling a place to emerge if you wish to leave the plastic around the plants for additional warmth. Fabric covers will keep young plants warm, but they allow more air to circulate around the seedlings.
3. Mulch around Newly Emerged Plants
Fighting weeds is going to be a chore at first, but they will become less persistent once the large leaves begin to grow on the cantaloupe vines. As the leaves increase in size, they will block sunlight from penetrating the soil below, which will prevent weeds from emerging as well.
2. Keep Melons out of the Dirt to Prevent Damage to Them
Placing young cantaloupes on top of a piece of wood will prevent them from setting on the ground and being damaged by insects. Cantaloupe vines can also be grown on a trellis to allow for more air circulation. This will also prevent pests from damaging the fruit.
1. Don’t Plant Cantaloupes in the Same Place Two Years in a Row
Not only should you avoid consistently planting cantaloupes in the same location of your garden each year, but you should also avoid planting pumpkins, squash, and any other member of the cucumber family in the same location each year.
I hope these tips help you to grow as many cantaloupe plants as you want. I find that planting a couple of hills of these marvelous melons are all that I need to provide my small family with the perfect amount of fresh fruit during the summer. What types of melons have you grown before?
Top Photo Credit: yan-san