The Q&A Archives: Creating Ideal Conditions for Melons

Question: I've planted your Sweet Bush' hybrid cantaloupes before without a lot of success. I get one or two melons the size of a softball. They were in a mostly sunny area with a short (3') fence to grow on. What am I doing wrong? I've planted some that you sent me free so I'd like better results this season. Christopher Law Bear, DE

Answer: Melons demand a site that gets full sun to be really sucessful. Increasing soil warmth with black plastic mulch will also help to encourage growth, and will help keep down competition from weeds. Melons like a rich soil; you may want to till in some compost before you plant. (You may want to check your soil pH to see if it is too low or too high.) Plan to side dress the plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer once they have begun to set fruits. And melons need a good, consistent supply of wateronce they have begun fruiting. Poor pollination could be limiting the number of melons you are getting. You might want to try hand-pollinating--just use a small paintbrush to gently transfer pollen from male to female flowers.

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