The Q&A Archives: Rejuvenating Dying Cantaloupe Seedlings

Question: I bought several healthy cantaloupe plants and planted them, however they appear to be dying. The bottom leaves are turning yellow. What can I do to avoid this from happening again. (I had my soil tested, I water often, and it gets full sun.) Ve'Niecy Green St Louis, MO

Answer: It sounds like your young cantaloupes are suffering a bit of setback after transplanting, referred to as transplant shock. Some shock is to be expected, but you can ease the transition in the future by hardening off the plants, a process of gradually getting them used to the outdoors. If they've been in a greenhouse or under a growlight, they need to get used to strong direct sun and wind, etc. Over the course of a few days or a week, put them outside, first in filtered sun in an area sheltered from wind, gradually moving them to full sun and wind exposure. During this time, feed them dilute fertilizer (I use a seaweed/fish based liquid that works well) and ease off on the watering. At transplant time, put some compost in the planting hole, anddisturb their roots as little as possible when you remove them from the growing tray. Watering them with dilute fertilizer thoroughly first aids this process. All this should help your plants adjust to the transition better next time. Hope this helps!

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