If you know when to plant cantaloupes, you can enjoy a good harvest of sweet, and juicy cantaloupe fruits that grow without a fuss.
Nothing screams summer like a good supply of fresh cantaloupes from your garden to enjoy during those hot afternoons. This colorful and bright-netted fruit is one of the perfect addition to your garden
You can grow this sweet member of the melon family at home with proper care and a few tips. Let’s see how you can do this.
When To Plant Cantaloupes
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Cantaloupe plants do well under full sun in well-drained soil. This crop needs about 85 days to mature but you must plant them at the right time.
Sow your seeds in spring after the frost is gone and the temperatures consistently stay above 50 to 60 degrees F. Be sure to plant in groups of 2 or 3 seeds spaced at 2 feet apart. When the seedlings germinate and get several leaves select only the strongest individual plant in each group and pull out the rest.
Did you know you can start cantaloupe seeds in pots indoors a few weeks before the last frost date? However, as you sow these seeds, remember melons seedlings are sensitive to root disturbance so use organic transplants that you will move the seedling with.
The vine growth could get stunted if you are not careful when transplanting them outdoors if the roots are disturbed. With stunted growth, the produce will not be as good.
How To Grow Cantaloupe
If you have ever grown cucurbits – pumpkin, squash, cucumber, etc., you can grow cantaloupes.
When you decide to grow cantaloupe, you will need to wait until the threat of frost has passed. Make sure your soil is warm enough during spring.
You can choose to either sow seeds directly in your garden or germinate the seeds indoors before moving them outdoors. Remember to use transplants from grocery or gardening stores that will help transplant gently.
Plant your cantaloupes in an area that received plenty of sun with warm, well-draining soil. Your soil should have good pH levels of between 6.0 and 6.5.
How To Plant Cantaloupes
Planting cantaloupes is easy; it only requires you to follow planting instructions to acquire the best harvest.
Plant your seeds from ½ to 1 inch deep and in groups of 3. Although not required, you can plant them in a small hill or mounds as you do with other cucurbit members. Space them about 2 feet apart with rows about 5 to 6 feet apart.
Transplant your seedlings once the temperatures have warmed up and they have developed at least as a set of a second or third set of leaves.
If you purchase your plants, they are ready for planting right away.
Where To Plant Cantaloupes
The best place to plant your melons is an area that has full sun. Use well-drained soils. Loamy soil is the best and its rich in organic matter.
Before planting, add several inches of aged manure and aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to the planting bed. Once you put in the manure, turn the soil to 12 inches deep.
Your soil’s pH value should be at least 6.0 to 6.8.
You can grow on mounds, raised beds, in flat planting beds, or up a trellis. You can re-warm the soil by placing black plastic or permeable black garden fabric across the planting area at least 2 weeks before planting. During planting, cut x-shaped slits in the covering.
You can also plant your cantaloupes along the fence or allow them to climb a trellis or small stepladder. If you grow your plant in this design, be sure to add something that will hold the fruits as they grow. You can use a sling made from pantyhose or set the fruits on the steps of the ladder.
Growing Cantaloupes On Vertical Support
All melons can grow on trellis or fences and you can also train melon vines up an A-frame to allow them to grow freely. Take two trellises, lean them together to form an A, and tie them together at the top.
If you set your trellis against a solid fence or a wall, it will benefit from the reflected heat that adds the necessary heat requirements to this fruit.
Be sure to anchor the vertical support tightly so they are able to hold the heavy fruits. You can use elastic horticultural tape or other support material to train vines up a trellis.
The cantaloupes can grow up to 8 feet tall and wide or more. Most vines can support the weight of a melon but you can use garden netting to support these fruits.
Growing these melons vertically ensures that they receive full sun exposure and plenty of air circulation that prevents any fungal disease from forming.
Growing Cantaloupes In Containers
It is not easy to grow these fruits in containers because they are too large for that unless you choose a dwarf or bush variety.
Choose a container that is at least 18 inches deep and wide to help support this vining plant. Use a trellis or other support placing it next to the container to save space and increase yields.
You can start the seeds in containers indoors then move the pots outdoors when the weather warms up.
This sweet fruit does well in zones3 to 10 and is one of the most popular fruits grown in the United States. It matures within 80 to 90 days and weighs in at 2 to 3 pounds. The vines will spread up to 72 inches and grow 15to 18 inches tall.
So do you know how a true cantaloupe looks like? It is oval or globe-shaped with a rough, hard, scaled, or warted skin. It flesh can be grey-green, yellow-tan and orange, or salmon-orange. A true cantaloupe when mature weighs about 2 pounds; it tastes sweet and aromatic.
Once your cantaloupe is ripe, it is ready for harvesting. A ripe cantaloupe is known by how it separates from the skin easily. If you are unsure if your fruit is ripe, simply check the stem where it is attached and see if the cantaloupe comes off. If it doesn’t don’t force it rather leave it to grow a little longer.