Raised bed, square foot, or backyard planter, learn how to grow cantaloupe right now!
Cantaloupe is a delicate, summer grown vegetable. Cantaloupes takes three months to harvest at maturity.
Cantaloupe also goes by the name muskmelon, due to its aroma.
You can start cantaloupes from seeds, directly in your garden soil, or you can use transplants with equal success.
You must plant the melons after any chance of frost has passed. The fruit does not tolerate cold, so be cautious when trying to get a head start on your transplants.
To get a head start, use black plastic or floating row covers to retain the Sun’s heat.
If starting from seeds indoors, do not transplant your seedlings more than once, and do not allow the plants to become too large, as they will have their growth stunted.
Growing cantaloupes from seed is simple. It is a fairly large seed, so sow it a bit deeper in the soil, say one inch.
Growing melons in containers is only feasible if you have a trellis for the vine to attach to.
That’s the same philosophy used in square foot gardening, where the cantaloupe is planted in the end of the bed, attached to netting and a frame.
In the wild, the vines grow up the sides of hills, growing the fruits on the ground, much like a pumpkin.
You can grow as much cantaloupe as you want with your hills, or one per trellis for your raised bed gardens.
When the plant begins to send vine shoots out, you can give it a boost with some nitrogen rich fertilizer.
Cantaloupe likes the hot, so it should not be a stretch of the imagination that they don’t do well in over watered gardens, or where drainage is not ideal.
That being said, they do not tolerate drought well, either.
When the green disappears from inside the webbing on the rind, the melon is ripe, and ready to be harvested.
If the stem does not easily release, you are too eager, the removal should be very easy.
The sweet flavour occurs as a result of the starches changing to sugars in the afternoon sun, and cannot be rushed. Cantaloupes do not continue to ripen after they are picked.
Harvest in the morning, this will help the plants recover better.
Harvest as soon as the plants have ripe fruit, or you will find that your raccoon population will be eating your bounty instead of you.
Harvesting the cantaloupes also encourages further cantaloupe production.
Don’t forget to keep some melon seeds for next year. The seeds are inside the fruit, so wash and strain them, and store in a paper envelope in a cool dry place until next year.
Learning to grow cantaloupe in your own backyard is just that simple.