How to Grow Cantaloupes

Cantaloupe is a warm-season crop that should be planted and grown with low humidity and with plenty of sunshine and heat. The planting should start in the spring to avoid the danger of frost. Two to thee weeks prior to planting, turn the soil with the remains of the previous crop planted. This gives ample time for the remains to decompose.

Place seeds about an inch deep into the ground. Working in rows, plant about 3 to 6 cantaloupe seeds per foot (equivalent to a standard ruler). The rows should be more or less 5 feet apart. After surfacing, thin them down to about one in every foot.

Upon the development of the third set of leaves of the seedlings, these should be thinned to three plants per hill. As the plants grow, pull out the weeds and hoe lightly to prevent the upsetting of the shallow root system of the cantaloupe.

Cover the ground around the plants with mulch. Mulch is a protective cover of a variety of materials like compost and organic residues (e.g. sawdust, hay, leaves, and shredded newspaper). This prevents the growth of weeds, continuously keeps the soil warm, and promotes soil moisture. Studies have shown that plants grown with mulch grow healthier and faster than those that are not.

Irrigation should be done before and after planting cantaloupes done to make sure that there is good seed germination. Drip irrigation should be used. It minimizes presence of undergrowth and fruit disease, the use of water, and the use of fertilizer.

Some cultivators favor the use of transplants as a manner of obtaining early melons. If transplants are to be used, the seeds should be planted 2 to 4 weeks prior to transplanting date. The diameters of transplant containers range between 1.5 to 4 inches, with 3 inches being most favorable for early production.

For transplants, apply a common starter solution. Using loams will commonly yield more and better quality cantaloupes. In all cases, the soil must demonstrate good drainage, internally and by the surface. A good soil pH range is 5.5-7.0.

Many plants give off too much vine growth. Pruning the vines is needed only if the cantaloupes are to be supported by a framework called trellis; otherwise, it is optional. Pruning is done to increase fruit weight and to minimize the number of undesirable cantaloupes.