Growing Cantaloupe Plant
In the event that this article on growing cantaloupe was written in Australia, we’d call them “rockmelons.” Or in South Africa, we’d expound on “spanspeks.”
Here in the U.S., we call them either muskmelons or cantaloupes. You’re smarter to live in a hotter atmosphere for growing cantaloupe, yet you can effectively develop a few assortments in cooler atmospheres like where we live in NE Washington.
On the off chance that you need to take in substantial income growing cantaloupe, develop and sell them in Japan. As of September 2020, they were selling for over $30USD at food markets in Japan.
Muskmelons are individuals from the cucumber family, as are squash and watermelon, and consequently are fundamentally the same as in development designs and healthful prerequisites, particularly with watermelon.
When to Plant Muskmelons/Cantaloupes
Muskmelons or cantaloupes? These terms will be conversely utilized all through this article. Short-season cantaloupes mature in roughly 65 to 75 days, while the normal cantaloupe ages in around 85 days.
Short season types mature somewhere in the range of 65 and 75 days. Full season types age around 85 days.
STOP Whether you’re planting seeds straightforwardly to your nursery or relocating your melon plants, never plant in soil temps beneath 60°F.
In Northern atmospheres, you’ll have to begin your plants around a month in front of your objective transfer date.
In Southern atmospheres, you can coordinate seed once the risk of ice is past and your dirt temps are in any event 60°F.
On the off chance that you live in a cooler atmosphere, you may have no real option except to begin the seeds early in little pots.
Where to Plant Cantaloupes/Muskmelons
Protecting these melon plants and protecting them from cold temperatures will produce better results.
The more warmth your vines get, the more fruit your plants will produce in at harvest time. Muskmelons require full sun and plenty of heat.
Give them the sunniest spot in your garden with good air circulation. You want your melon plants to dry out quickly after a rain to prevent diseases.
Cantaloupes like it hot and thrive best at temps of 70 to 95°F. They like well-draining soil that has a good amount of humus (rotted matter like manure, compost, leaves, etc.)
Preparing the Soil
Cantaloupe and Muskmelons require a pH level no lower than 6.0 up to about 7.5. These melons need a decent measure of calcium in the dirt to forestall bloom end decay.
Melons lean toward soils with a pH somewhere in the range of 6.0 and 6.8, which shows satisfactory calcium accessibility a significant protection from against bloom end decay.
While melons need the huge three supplements, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (potash), or N-P-K, they have less requirement for nitrogen than numerous foods grown from the ground.
In the event that you have not-as-great depleting soil, you can improve your waste by making 6 to 8 inch raised beds.
Rototill or spade 2 to 4 creeps of completed fertilizer or potentially all around treated the soil compost 6 to 8 inches deep into your columns before planting your melons.
On the off chance that you need more manure to cover your lines profoundly with, utilize concentrated sums where your plants will be found.
This pre-treating the soil of your dirt gives the required supplements to your melons, conveys dampness equally, and enables their underlying foundations to get adequate oxygen.
Choosing the right Seed Varieties for your Area
It’s a good practice, before ordering seeds, to find out from your county extension what seed varieties are resistant to fusarium wilt or other diseases common to cantaloupes/muskmelons.
Germinating Muskmelon/Cantaloupe Seeds
Melon seeds are typically usable for up to 4 years after you’ve purchased them initially, provided you’ve stored them in a cool, dry, and dark location.
You’ll need a soil temperature to be a minimum of 60° to 100°F, although the accepted optimal temperature would be at 85° to 90°F.
The seedling should emerge at around 3 to 5 days if the soil is at 90°F, and at about 10 to 12 days if your soil temp is 70°F. Don’t allow your soil temps to drop below 60°F or your seeds will simply rot.
Planting and growing cantaloupe Indoors
It is prescribed for planting seeds inside to utilize a sterile fertilized soil to permit your seedlings the most obvious opportunity at germination and endurance.
Plant your seeds in tightened plastic pots, soil squares, or plastic plate for simple relocating. While some planting destinations suggest utilizing peat pots, we aren’t obsessed with them.
They don’t disintegrate as fast as we can imagine, so we’re suggesting soil blocks for the individuals who like to not utilize plastic compartments.
Cantaloupe seeds need light to sprout, so plant your seeds ¼” to ½” profound so they’ll get some light.
We plant 2 or 3 seeds for each pot, and if every one of the three come up, we select the greatest one after the plants have in any event 2 genuine leaves – around 2 inches tall – and cut the others off at soil level.
Transplanting your seedlings to your garden
As with most fruits and veggies, we strongly recommend that you “harden off” your muskmelon seedlings.
This entails moving them out of doors during the daylight hours – into the evenings later in the process – for 7 to 10 days, as well as reducing their water gradually as well.
Don’t fertilize the seedlings during the hardening off process, and make sure that they are protected if the weather becomes very windy and/or rainy.
Your seedlings will be around 3 to 4 weeks old when you transplant them. They’ll have at least two true leaves and be at least 2 inches tall. Minimum air temps should be around 70° to 75°F during the daytime and 60° to 65°F in the night time.
If you live in a Northern climate, we strongly advise using a black plastic “mulch” to warm up the soil before planting. When you transplant your muskmelons, make sure you handle them carefully; don’t disturb the roots.
Transplant to your garden early in the day, or in the evening to avoid stressing them. If you’re planting to rows, space your plants 2 to 4 feet apart, and make the rows 4 to 6 feet apart.
If you’re planting hills, 4 ft apart should be fine, but check your seed packets for recommendations as to some varieties sprawl more than others.
Set your plants just a little deeper than they were in the pots so that there’s a bit of an indentation at the base of your seedlings.
Water your seedlings thoroughly – but don’t drown them!
Use row covers to protect them for the first few days from the sun and pests. You can leave them on until the plants flower if you need to protect them from various pests
Planting Seeds Directly in Your Garden
In Southern atmospheres, you have the upside of skirting the past areas and planting your seeds into the nursery. Ensure your dirt is at least 60°F.
In the event that you have to help the dirt temperatures in getting to that level, it’s a decent practice to utilize dark plastic to bring your temps up. In the case of planting in columns, we commonly space our plants around 2 feet separated and our lines 4 feet separated.
It is a smart thought, however, to plant seeds each 4 to 6 inches and diminishes your plants once they’re several inches tall. In case you’re planting slopes, space them in any event 4 feet separated, on focus, and plant 5 or 6 seeds on each slope, later diminishing them to 2 or 3 of the best seedlings.
Outside you can plant your seeds from ½ to ¾ inch in the dirt as the sun will infiltrate further than develop lights on the off chance that you plant your seeds inside. Delicately pack your dirt around the muskmelon seeds; don’t pack the dirt so close it frames a hull.
Growing Cantaloupe Plant
Column spreads might be gainful from the get-go in the season to keep your plants hotter and keep bugs out. Ensure you eliminate them when your plant’s bloom, however, or the honey bees won’t have the option to fertilize your muskmelons.
On the off chance that your dirt doesn’t deplete well, it’s a smart thought to hill your dirt either in slopes or columns. In our general vicinity, in light of the fact that our dirt is so rough, we don’t have to raise our beds and the cantaloupes do fine and dandy.
Ensure you know the assortment of the seed you’re utilizing as certain plants will spread farther than others, so your plants and columns may be divided more extensive than what we do.
Growing cantaloupe successfully until harvest time
If you’ve planted seeds in hills, thin the seedlings to the strongest two or three plants once they’ve reached 2 to 3 inches in height.
If you’ve planted in rows – we usually prefer rows, but either way works well – thin your plants to about 1 every 24 inches.
Cantaloupe needs bees for pollination. If your area is light on bees, look on Craigslist or in the classified papers to see if there are any beekeepers willing to place hives on your property.
Make sure you don’t use pesticides – they’ll wipe out the bees. Also, as this is about growing cantaloupe organically, we’ll give you other suggestions below for dealing with bad bugs.
You can trellis cantaloupe if you have a very small garden, but you may need to support your fruits with a “fruit sling” (we use old nylons).
If you’ve properly prepared your soil using plenty of compost/composted manure, you shouldn’t really need to add fertilizer during the season, but you can side-dress with composted manure mid-season if your plants need more nutrients.
Mulching and Weeding
We’ve just examined dark plastic as a mulch when growing cantaloupes. It warms the dirt and it smothers weeds.
Nonetheless, you should utilize a trickle water system with dark plastic as overhead watering essentially won’t work.
It’s ideal to format your trickle lines before setting out the plastic, at that point ensure you lay the plastic down in the warmth of the day and stretch it as close as possible over the lines.
Natural mulches like woodchips or straw can likewise be utilized when growing cantaloupes, however, don’t make a difference natural mulches until soils are hotter than 75°F.
Applying natural mulches too soon keeps the dirt cool, bringing about moderate development and shallow establishing.
In case you’re not mulching and need to utilize manual weed control techniques, be mindful so as to not pull weeds around the base of your growing muskmelons or you may hurt the shallow roots.
We remove the weeds near the plants with scissors to permit the cantaloupe plants to pick up the high ground over weeds without hurting the plants.
Right off the bat in the season, I think that its anything but difficult to control the greater part of the weeds by rototilling between the lines, and later in the season you can simply pull the enormous weeds that will jab up between the plants.
In the wake of planting, ensure you splash your seed region well, however, don’t suffocate the seeds or seedlings. While trickle water system is alluring, not every person can manage the cost of it.
On the off chance that you need to utilize overhead watering as we do, ensure you do it promptly in the day so the plants dry out totally by early afternoon. We haven’t attempted it, however, we’ve heard that the wrinkle water system is additionally viable.
Watering early or utilizing dribble frameworks will help forestall foliage illnesses that are very regular in cucurbit (squash) family plants.
As it gets late in the season, and the growing muskmelons are about the size of balls, decline watering; this causes the natural products to develop and keeps the natural product from parting. Partner Planting and Rotation Considerations.
Good companions for growing cantaloupe include:
Beans that supplement your garden with nitrogen that it absorbs from the air.
Radishes are reputed to protect your muskmelons from squash borers, carrot flies, cucumber beetles, and leaf miners – these pests like radish leave best, but don’t really harm radish plants. Mint is said to help control ants, aphids, flea beetles, and rodents.
Onions ward off fruit tree borers, weevils, aphids, rust flies, moles, and some root nematodes. Marigolds and Nasturtiums repel bugs and beetles away from your muskmelons.
They also attract bees which help to pollinate your squash flowers. Oregano is also said to benefit squash in keeping away many pests.
Friends, Corn is a great companion for squash family plants including muskmelons/cantaloupes. Corn produces lots of pollen and attracts beneficial pollinating insects.
Corn also provides shade to the melons in the afternoon heat, and the melon vines and leaves lessen weeds and preserve soil moisture. A bad companion for melons is potatoes.
Potatoes inhibit the growth in melon plants. You don’t necessarily need to rotate melons annually unless you’re having issues with verticillium wilt, fusarium rot, or mosaic virus.
Because summer and winter squash, cucumbers, and melons are of the same family, though, it’s a best practice to rotate your plants out of an area next year.
When to Harvest
Cantaloupes/Muskmelons separate from the vine when ripened, unlike watermelons and other cucurbits.
If you note that your melons have changed to yellowish or tannish color from their normal greenish color and that the skin has gotten rougher and duller in appearance, your melons are close to ripe.
When the base of the stem appears to be cracked, lift the melon up and if the vine separates easily, the melon is ripe. The underside will also usually have a pale yellow appearance.
If your weather is hot, harvest the melons daily; if temperate, every other day should be fine. Take care when harvesting not to damage the cantaloupe vines.
Saving cantaloupe/muskmelon Seeds
Once your melons are fully mature and separate from the vine on their own, the seeds will be ready to harvest. Note that you cannot save seeds from hybrid varieties – not to be confused with GMO seeds.
These seeds are cross-pollinated with other varieties to create disease resistance but cannot be used for any further cropping.
So, if you’re growing what is now termed a “heritage” seed, you’re good to go. Just scrape the seeds out of the muskmelon, wash them in a bowl of warm water, and scoop the clean seeds onto a dry towel and let them sit in a warm, dry area for about 3 days.
Store the seeds in a cool, dry place for next year’s garden. Placing the seeds in a zip lock-style plastic bag and freezing is a great way to preserve these seeds as well.
We’ve had very good results in placing our harvested cantaloupes in the fridge for up to 2 weeks at about 40° to 45°F.
You can freeze cantaloupe after scraping the seeds, removing the skin, and cubing it. I like it fresh though so I don’t do this myself.
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Preventive and Natural Solutions to Common Pests
Aphids are additionally normal vermin that can be found on the undersides of your muskmelon leaves. You’ll know they’re there on the off chance that you see leaves turning yellow and crinkling or twisting.
Aphids suck the juice from your plant leaves and abandon a clingy substance. The main recipient of this cycle is ants, who gather the clingy sweet stuff.
The best answer for aphids is to import ladybugs to your nursery. They feed on aphids and are exceptionally viable in freeing your plants of these little green, dim, or earthy colored bugs.
Another arrangement is to “wash” them off with a hose and high-pressure splash spout or a bar of natural insecticidal cleanser.
Cucumber Beetles are a striped insect that is around 3/16″ long, greenish-yellow, with three dark stripes running down it’s back. The spotted cucumber insects are practically the equivalent however with twelve spots on it’s back.
Notwithstanding what these scarabs resemble, they’re quite dreadful vermin that eat your cantaloupe/muskmelon plants and spread bacterial or verticillium shrink to your plants.
To keep these scarabs from getting to your plants, you can utilize line covers before blooming to get them far from your plants. On the off chance that the issues get excessively genuine, you can utilize natural pyrethrins or natural rotenone to manage these critters.
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Growing Cantaloupe Plant
Pickleworms are frightful little worms that originate from terrible moths. These folks don’t meddle with the leaves; they go straight for the natural product.
Column covers right off the bat in the season are powerful at keeping pickle worm moths from your cucurbits – squash, melons, and cucumbers. One compelling solution for pickle worms is powdering your plants with diatomaceous earth.
Food grade diatomaceous earth, which is made out of powdered fossilized green growth, has dangerously sharp edges that are harmless to most creatures however deadly to bugs.
At the point when creepy crawlies, for example, slugs, thrips, fly worms, aphids, grubs, caterpillars, or parasites ingest diatomaceous earth, it penetrates their guts and they pass on from lack of hydration.
You do need to keep the powder dry however or it doesn’t work. You’ll need to re-apply in the wake of watering or downpour.
Growing Cantaloupe Plant
Squash Bugs are likely another pervasive nuisance. They suck the sap from your cantaloupe plant leaves, leaving them at first spotted; at that point, the leaves shrink and pass on.
Controlling squash bugs is simpler if your dirt has loads of supplements and your plants are sound. Dispose of anything around your nurseries, for example, old sheets or anything they can stow away under throughout the winter.
It additionally serves to rototill or turn under your nursery in the tumble to dispose of spots these bugs like to stow away in.
To dispose of the bugs, hand-picking typically works in a nursery as it’s not all that huge as to take over an hour or two every week for half a month in the late spring.
At the point when you pick these bugs and sprites, have a bucket of foamy water to drop them into…the cleanser breaks the slender activity of water so the bugs quickly sink and suffocate in the water.
On the off chance that you discover eggs joined to the underside of leaves or stems, basically squash the eggs. Lay a board or two in your muskmelon fix overnight…the bugs will assemble under the sheets around evening time.
Toward the beginning of the day, lift the board and catch the bugs and drop them into the lathery water bucket. Natural mixes, for example, rotenone and pyrethrins are additionally powerful on the off chance that you have a hefty pervasion of these varmints.
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Muskmelons/Cantaloupe will some of the time be flavorless. This can be brought about by cool climate or helpless soil supplements. Or on the other hand, picking the melons before they’re ready (this is truly normal in the event that you buy cantaloupe at the store).
Smooth skins regularly are brought about by a cool climate. These melons will regularly have helpless flavor too. To forestall the absence of soil supplements to cause junky seasoned organic product, give close consideration particularly to the potassium in your dirt, yet additionally the magnesium and the boron.
Another difficulty we addressed before was a helpless natural product setting. This is brought about by an absence of pollinating bugs in your general vicinity.
As I composed above, you might have the option to locate a neighborhood beekeeper to put a hive or 2 on your property, or you can hand fertilize. Wet climate or plant swarming can likewise negatively affect fertilization.
Growing Cantaloupe Plant
Fusarium shrink is soil conveyed ailment that influences cantaloupes. It brings about the breakdown of your plants when the climate is excessively cold and wet.
The fine buildup is another mold that can influence your melon plants. It’s whitish and fine and develops on cucurbit leaves and stems.
It is likewise brought about by wetness, yet warmth and mugginess as opposed to cool climate and downpour. On the off chance that the leaves are contaminated, they’ll typically pass on.
Companions, If the contaminations are extreme, it can execute the entire plant. On the off chance that you can, maintain a strategic distance from overhead watering.
If not, water promptly in the first part of the day so the plants can dry out by early afternoon or somewhere in the vicinity.
Growing Cantaloupe Plant 2020
In the event that you monitor bugs bugs and shower your plants and leaves with a fertilizer tea arrangement or a preparing soft drink arrangement, you in all likelihood won’t object to this infection.
Different arrangements incorporate natural sulfur splashes or a feeble arrangement of milk and water (9:1). On the off chance that you detect any of this buildup, demolish your plants toward the finish of the period and pivot your cantaloupes to another region next cultivating season.
The best avoidance is to plant safe assortments of muskmelons/cantaloupes. Fleece buildup is a leaf sickness and is brought about by an organism with a long Latin name.
On the off chance that you truly need to know the name, told me and I’ll reorder it in an answer. This mold ordinarily is certifiably not an issue except if you have a virus spell in the 45° to 55°F territory for a month or more.
The mold shows up at first as yellow patches on your squash plant’s leaves, at that point turns earthy colored or tan with dark or white wool fluff beneath it. At that point, it advances to dark patches and the leaves and some of the time the plants wilt up and bite the dust.
Growing Cantaloupe Plant
To forestall wool buildup, develop squash assortments that are impervious to it. Likewise, permit space between your plants so they don’t remain wet excessively long.
What’s more, if the conditions seem ideal for the illness to show up (for example a long cool and blustery spell), shower your leaves with a fertilizer tea.
To make the tea, placed fertilizer in a can and fill it with water; when it settles out, fill your sprayer with the earthy water and splash your plants leaves with it.
Muskmelon seedlings might be influenced by a gathering of parasites that cause “damping off.”
Damping-off organisms will assault the seeds, seedlings, or exceptionally youthful plants and cause a sort of decay to contaminate the roots or base of the plant causing unexpected development and breakdown in ordinarily (in our experience) under a day.
Growing Cantaloupe Plant
In case you’re planting in the plate, utilize sterile fertilized soil, sterile plate, and abstain from utilizing your nursery’s dirt.
You can sanitize gardening soil by getting it wet and setting it in a metal holder in a broiler and warming it to around 160°F for around 30 minutes; the stove ought to be warmed to around 200°F.
Utilize a meat thermometer to check the temperature, and turn the broiler down a piece if the temperature surpasses 165°F. Cool the dirt too in any event 90°F before planting your seeds in it.
Likewise, know that an excessive amount of dampness is regularly essential for the reason for seedlings damping off.
Water your plants with warm water as cool temps will in general empower damping-off parasites. What’s more, the last ones we’ll manage is Leaf Spots and Fruit Rot.
These are brought about by parasitic illness and incorporate spoiling organic products, injuries on the plants, openings in the leaves, and earthy colored hued spot on the leaves.
Turning your harvests to new territories on a 3 to 4-year pivot will help reduce these issues. Lessening dampness can help additionally – utilizing a dribble water system or watering early is useful.
Try not to swarm your plants. Keep the melon fix sans weed. To stay away from these illnesses don’t develop melons in a region where any individual from the squash family has been developed for 3-4 years.
Growing Organic Muskmelons And Cantaloupe
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