growing melons - Knowledgebase Question

Brownstown, In
Question by db1992003
May 31, 2010
What is the best procedure for growing cantaloupe and honeydew melons, and how can you tell when they are ripe?

Answer from NGA
May 31, 2010


To improve your soil, incorporate plenty of compost. In sandy soils, compost improves soil fertility, water and nutrient retention. Add a 4-6 inch layer of compost and incorporate it about 12-18 inches deep. You can use manure if it is well-aged (6 months). You may want to incorporate a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 10-10-10) or add organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bone meal, and seaweed/kelp. Follow package instructions. After planting, add a 1-2 inch layer of mulch. Mulch is great to help retain soil moisture, reduce weeds, and as it breaks down it provides nutrients to the soil. Any organic matter can be used as mulch. Try compost, bark, wood chips, straw, or pine needles. As it breaks down, dig it into your soil and add more. Melons like a consistent supply of soil moisture. Water slowly and deeply, increasing the depth to about 10-12 inches as the plant matures. It can be difficult to judge when melons are ripe: cantaloupes will have a golden color under the netting and a nice, fragrant smell; honeydew melons are really difficult to judge! The best way to tell when honeydew melons are perfectly ripe is to feel the melons. Ripe melons have some very fine veining that you can only detect by touch. The melon should not be soft or scarred in any areas and should be somewhat fragrant. Harvest when the blossom end softens and the stem end is slightly springy and the skin begins to take on a creamy yellow/cream appearance. I hope this info helps.

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