Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 75-90 days
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Spacing: 2 to 4 feet apart, 6 to 10 feet between rows
A warm season garden crop that requires hot, relatively dry weather conditions and steady heat for at least 2-4 months. Growing melons in colder climates can be rewarding but will require short-season varieties, plenty of attention and frost protection.
Fun Fact: These delicious fruits, which include cantaloupe and honeydew, are members of the Cucurbitaceae family that also includes pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and gourds.
Melons, with their unusual shapes and colors, are a sweet change from the ordinary.View all
All heirloom melon seeds offered by Planet Natural are non-treated, non-GMO and NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!
- Start seeds indoors about 2 weeks before the last frost date
- Plant in rich soil in full sun when soil and night temperatures are warmer
- In colder climates, warm soil with black plastic
- Fertilize and water regularly
- Harvest by watching fruits closely — they should pull off the vine easily when ripe
- Pests and diseases include cucumber beetle, squash bug, powdery mildew and Fusarium wilt
Choose a warm site that gets plenty of sun, such as along a south-facing building or wall. Make sure that the area is protected from strong winds because melons struggle in cool temperatures. The planting area should be well drained and loose textured with lots of organic matter. Each spring, work plenty of organic compost into your garden. Learn how to prepare garden soil here.
Tip: Use black plastic to warm the soil 2-3 weeks prior to planting heat-loving crops. After all risk of frost has passed, simply cut holes in the plastic sheet and plant seeds or seedlings through the holes.
How to Plant
Seed should be sown 2 weeks after the last frost date. Space plants 2-4 feet apart in rows 6-10 feet apart. Melons may also be planted in hills, two plants per hill, with the hills spaced 2-3 feet apart. Black plastic mulch placed under the plants will warm the soil and speed harvest. It will also keep the developing fruit off the soil and prevent melons from rotting.
Apply a balanced organic fertilizer at half strength every three weeks once plants become established. Foliar applications of Maxicrop Seaweed, especially during peak flowering, will “top-off” fertilization. To make melons sweeter, hold back water for a week or so before harvest.
Melons do well in moist, not wet, soils. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses can be used to direct water right to the plants’ roots. This will also keep the leaves dry, which helps prevent many fungal diseases.
After planting, cover the area with floating row cover to provide additional warmth and protection from insect pests.
Melons must be allowed to ripen fully on the vine as they will not mature once harvested. The trick is knowing when they are ripe. Watch for melons to obtain a mature color with the veins becoming more prominent and lighter.
Ripe melons should “slip” or come off easily from the vine with a gentle pull. Allow 75-90 days to reach maturity from seed, depending on cultivar.
Insects and Diseases
Insects that attack other cucurbits will also found in the melon patch. Among the most common pests are the cucumber beetle and the squash bug. They are also susceptible to plant diseases such as powdery mildew and Fusarium wilt. Look for disease-resistant varieties when purchasing seed or nursery stock.
Seed Saving Instructions
Melons will cross-pollinate, so isolate 1/4 mile from other varieties. Always save seeds from disease-free, early ripening fruits. Wash seeds in a strainer and dry. Seeds are ready to store when they break instead of bend.
SHITZ & WIGGLES
Savvy growers know redworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Floating row covers let in sun, water and air... but keep bugs out! Protects to 26°F.