There are many great reasons for growing melons. Melons are one of the sweetest fruits you have around today. Originating from the southwest Asia region of Iran and India or hailing from Africa, these nutritious delights were brought over to Europe by the Roman Empire.
Melons exist in a wide diversity from the juicy watermelon to the cream-colored honeycomb melon to the exotic honeydew melon.
Each of these melons is commonly found in a farmer’s market or bidding platform where people will compete to get the best melon of the season.
Details for Growing Melons
|Planting Months||2 + weeks from last frost|
|Harvest Months||From planting 65 to 100 days|
|Temperature to Plant||68 to 86F|
|Planting Depth||4 inches|
|Spacing||Three on a mound – 2 feet spacing – rows 6 feet apart|
|Direction||North to south|
|Drainage||Soaker hose or drip-system|
|pH Level||6.0 – 7.0|
|Companion Plants||Marigolds, catnip, tansy, lettuce, radishes|
|Health Benefits||Vitamin C, vitamin B9, fibre, potassium, beta, carotene, antioxidants|
Seven Steps to Growing Melons
Melons grow well in various types of soil. It is best suited for loose, organic fertilize rich and well-drained loamy soil. Loamy soil has a higher pH level of 6-7 which helps it to grow easily.
Also, loamy soil provides a high concentration of calcium to ensure that the water reaches the roots of the melon plant and reduces the salt content in the soil. Loamy soil has a gritty texture that provides the draining properties needed to drain out the excess water.
Other soils like sandy soil do not retain the nutrients well. Neither will the high fertility silt soil as it gets waterlogged easily.
Soil pH Testing
You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.
After the melon seeds germinate within 8-10 days, you can use a heat map or black plastic with holes to pre-warm the bed to optimal temperatures.
Then port over the seedlings into the pots with 0.5 to 1 inch deeper than its initial setting. Keep the compost moist but not wet.
The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon.
As the melon matures, you will want to ensure the surrounding area well-watered and weed-free. If you are growing them on the ground, ensure that the mounds are spaced 4-6 feet apart.
Planting in Containers
Melons normally outgrow the containers they are in. Select a container that is minimally 18 inches wide and deep enough to support the vines. You can place other support structures around it like a trellis to save space.
Start growing them indoors during colder seasons first before shifting them outdoors when it warms up.
Marigolds repel flies and other garden pests. Catnip and Tansy repel leafhoppers, aphids and squash beetles. Lettuce and radishes have weed-suppressing attributes on the soil when grown in the melon patch.
Melons take in large amounts of water, requiring a gallon to 1 gallon of water twice a week. The increment comes in when the melons start to bear fruit. As the fruit ripens, reduce too much water can dilute the sweetness of the melon.
While ensuring the 1st two inches of the seedbed remains wet, you can use soaker hoses or drip systems for water irrigation. You will want to avoid overhead irrigation as it gets the leaves wet and brings about fungal diseases.
Flowers blossom regularly during the flowering phase. Remove to leave only four fruits to form on each vine. The lesser the number of fruits produced, the sweeter your fruits.
Avoid pruning off the leaves till just before harvesting as leaves produce the sugar for the melon’s sweetness. The common melon pests include spider mites, cucumber beetles and squash bugs.
You can invest in growing other complementary plants like marigolds and radishes to repel these pests. Other forms of protection can include nettings and insecticidal soaps.
Most melons are harvestable within a period of three to four weeks. During this time, limit the water content a week before to allow for the fruit sweetness to be concentrated.
You can tell a ripe melon just by the circular cracks observed near the stem, hollow sound when you strike and exudes a sweet aroma. Only harvest melons when they are dry.
You can keep melons for up to a week in the refrigerator. However, you can expect the sweetness to diminish over time. Other ways include freezing the slices or the melon balls.
It is advised for you to eat the melon immediately if you want to enjoy the sweetest experience. We do not advise keeping the melon out in the open as it will be subjected to the varying surrounding temperatures.
One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10-year guarantee, see it at Amazon.
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