How to Grow Melons
Direct sow in garden 2 weeks after last frost date or start indoors 3 weeks before last frost date. Melons prefer rich, fertile soil with good amounts of organic matter and moisture. They require full sun and soil temperatures of 75-85° for germination. Planting Depth: ½ -1″ Plant Spacing: 36″ apart Row Spacing: 6′ apart. Allow 5-10 days for germination. Water melons in the morning to help prevent fungal diseases. Provide plenty of air circulation between plants. Also be sure to fertilize plants every few weeks and mulch to retain moisture and keep weeds down.
One way to tell if the melon is ripe for picking is to check to see if the stem separates easily from where the vine is attached to the fruit. The melon will also “smell” very sweet and ripe. Cut melons from the vine. They will ripen quickly at room temperature. The sweetest ones will be the ones that you pick and eat right away. Ripe melons will keep for about 3 weeks in cold storage.
Saving Melon Seeds
Suggested Isolation distance is ¼ mile to prevent cross pollination. Tree lines or buildings can allow for shorter distances. Harvest melons when they are ripe. Remove the seeds and rinse under water until the seeds are clean. Allow seeds to dry on a paper plate. Seed should be viable for 5-10 years if kept cool and dry.
- Cucumber Beetle
This yellow striped, ¼” elongated beetle has a black head and 3 wide black stripes on its wing covers. Treat by planting Nasturtiums, Tansy, or radishes which repel the beetles. Also, consider using floating row covers for protection. Mulch with deep straw around plants.
- Leaf Blight
Spots will appear on the leaves, eventually turning the leaves to yellow. Severely diseased plants will have a “scorched” look to them. Prevention methods can include crop rotation, clearing of crop debris, and better air circulation.