Answer: Your plants should be transplanted into the garden about 3 weeks after germination. Choose the sunniest spot available and work lots of organic matter into the soil prior to planting. Aged-manure or compost will loosen the soil and help it retain moisture. Like most vine crops, melons require even moisture levels to keep from rotting. (The soil should be barely moist to the touch.)After setting your transplants 3' to 4' apart, mulch the soil to help suppress weeds and keep moisture evaporation to a minimum. Male flowers will appear first, followed by female, or fruit bearing flowers. Fertilize with manure tea when the fruits set and again two weeks later. After mid-summer remove the flowers and smaller fruits from the vines. They won't have time to mature and removing them will direct the plant's energy into ripening the remaining fruit. Cantaloupes slip off the vine when they're mature and should be left on the vine until fully ripened.
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