I don’t know about you, but when the summer comes, something “clicks” in my head and everything I would do is to sit on my porch, sip lemonade and eat fruit. This is why I have decided to show you how to grow melons since those are one of the best summer refreshments.
However, it is somewhat unrealistic to expect from every gardener to successes from the first try. Melons can be a bit tricky to grow, and because of that, I have covered all relevant aspects of growing them. Just follow the guidelines, and everything will be fine.
Common Knowledge About Melons
There are some general facts about melons which need to be mentioned. However, since the term “melon” can be differently interpreted throughout the world, let me just say that watermelons are a different cultivar, and this article isn’t meant for growing those.
As shown, melons are real summer plants. They thrive in a warm climate, and if the soil meets the requirements, success is unavoidable. Also, there is a matter of care, which will be covered. Generally speaking, one of the most challenging things about growing melons is making a sturdy trellis, but it is not necessary.
Required Tools And Material
Every gardener needs the tools to work with, right? However, some plants will require specialized equipment or material. This is not the case with melons, so I believe that you have everything which is needed. Still, here’s a list of tools and material.
As I said, all the tools (except for tiller) are standard, so there isn’t any real obstacle for you to grow melons. The tiller can be of great assistance since deep working of the soil is by far the best. Also, there is a large area to cover, so this tool will make the job easy.
Soil matters, perhaps the most, when it comes to growing melons. Namely, you will have to provide the best possible conditions, to reduce chances of failure.
The first thing you need to look after is space. Melons grow as vines, so they will need a lot of space. This can be avoided to some extent by making a melon trellis, but consider that each plant needs approximately 4x6 feet of space.
At the same time, sun coverage must be the best possible. These fruits will need a lot of sunlight for flowers and fruits to progress. Adding plastic soil cover can add several degrees to the soil, but see to set them to a location with at least 6 hours of sun per day.
Melons love organic matter, so add several inches of old manure. It is vital that the fertilizer is worn out since too much nutrients can burn the plant or kill the seed. While you’re at it, check the pH of the soil.
As I said, 6.0-6.5 are values between which it should be. If it is a few decimals off the chart, don’t worry, it should be fine.
Furthermore, while you are tilling the soil, remove any branches, rocks or other possible debris. Melons have a tender root system, so removing any physical obstacles will ensure proper growth of this part of the plant.
There are several ways to carry out this part of the job, and depending on your climate, you can do one way or another. People living in warm or hot areas can sow the seeds right after the soil reaches 65-70°F. Those who are in colder regions than this should start seeds indoors first.
Starting seeds should begin about a month before the last frost. The procedure is simple, grab a trellis, fill it with potting mix, add one seed per cell and water generously. Once the temperature settles, you can move the seedlings outside.
It doesn’t matter if you sowed the seeds directly to the soil or you are transferring seedlings, you will have to create mounds or hills for each plant. Each should be at least foot high and 2-3 feet wide.
There will be two or three seedlings or five to six seeds per hill, so leave 2 feet of space between hills and six feet between rows.
Once you place seedlings or seeds, add mulch or plastic cover, depending on your approach. As I said, it will warm the soil, and kickstart germinating process. Adding water right after planting is vital, so don’t spare it on this first watering.
Care About Melons And Possible Pests And Diseases
Perhaps the biggest concern when growing melons is watering. The most significant amount should be added while the plant is growing and blooming, so consider about 1-2” of water per week. Once the fruit sets, reduce it since lack of water will result in better taste, similarly to jalapenos.
There are several pests which can feast on leaves, stems, and fruits, so expect aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash vine borers. All of those can be removed either by hand, or by using wood ash in case of borers and cucumber beetles, or neem oil if you spot aphids.
Fusarium wilt and powdery mildew are most common diseases which can attack melon plants, and the best course of action is to be careful not to wet the foliage while watering. In case it appears, remove infected parts of the plant, and use copper-based solution.
So, we’ve reached the end of this article. I have shown you how to grow melons, and what to look after while doing so. As you can see, the procedure is not complicated, so you are free to try it out.
In case that you have thoughts, opinions or ideas about this matter, feel free to use the comment section below.