The Q&A Archives: Growing Melons in a Short Season

Question: I would like to grow melons (mostly types of cantelopes and watermelons) in mid-Wisconsin. I know I should buy only short period types but what else can I do to get good crops with reasonable sized melons? Is there any special way to start these plants indoors to get ahead of the season? Appreciate any help you can give. Dennis Anderson Greenwood, WI

Answer: Warm soil is the trick. First start 2 -3 seeds in peat pots 3-4 weeks before the last frost so the roots won't be disturbed when you transplant. Snip the weakest ones to leave one plant. Fortify the soil outside with composted manure and use black plastic to prewarm the outside growing area. Use a phosphorus heavy fertilizer when you transplant and side dress when fruits appear. Keep the plants growing on black plastic to retain a warm growing soil and keep them well watered throughout the growingseason.

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