Do you love the sweet taste of cantaloupe? If so, why not try growing it yourself? Having fresh cantaloupe at your fingertips is a great way to enjoy the summer and a great way to save some money as well. If you are considering growing cantaloupe this year, take a look below at these tips for how to grow cantaloupe yourself. You might be surprised at how easy it really is!
How to plant cantaloupe seeds:
If you wish to begin your seeds indoors and get a jump on the growing season, simply plant the cantaloupe seeds in seed starters. You want to do this about 3 weeks before the final frost of the season. Use nutrient-rich soil and make sure the seeds have at least 6 hours of sun per day.
Should you wish to plant the seeds directly outdoors, be sure the threat of frost has passed since cantaloupe loves warm soil. You can use the hill method where a hill of soil is created and 5-6 seeds are dropped in, or you can plant as you would most other seeds. Whichever way you choose, your seeds should be planted one 12-18 inches apart so there is plenty of room to stretch.
As with other melon varieties, you want really rich soil and full sun. Cantaloupe will thrive off of the nutrients, and the warm soil and sun will help them mature quicker. Once your seedlings start to appear, you will want to thin out the plants. Remove the weaker and smaller plants in the group to allow the larger ones to stretch and thrive.
How to plant cantaloupe seedlings:
If you wish to plant cantaloupe seedlings instead of seeds, you may notice quicker results. You should still use all of the suggestions above when planting, including nutrient-rich soil, full sun, and proper spacing between plants. Don’t plant your seedlings before outdoor temperatures have reached a consistent 70 degrees or higher.
After a few weeks, you may wish to stake your plants to help offer them support and keep them from sitting in damp soil. Stakes can also help you see weeds better amongst the vines and remove them as needed. This is also the ideal time to use a plant or garden food on your cantaloupe, however, they will do fine without the feeding if you wish to skip this step.
How to harvest your cantaloupe:
When you notice the bulb appear, you can wrap it in a pantyhose to protect it and place it on a piece of tin foil to help keep it warm. This will help it mature quickly and taste great! After about two weeks the bulb will be full size and can be picked. You will notice a sweet smell and soft feel when the cantaloupe is ready to be picked. Cut it from the stem and move it to a cool place for storage.
Cantaloupe is great for fruit salads and appetizers, so why not try growing your own? Give these tips a try and you are sure to enjoy a successful crop.