Growing Cantaloupe for a Summer Sweet Treat

Growing Cantaloupe for a Summer Sweet Treat

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When summer comes, most of us suddenly rejoice in the cold and sweet flesh of the melon. Some prefer watermelons with their juicy red pulp, but others turn to the juicy orange pulp of the melon. And there is nothing better than growing a melon at home to keep it fresh from the vine!

This sweet orange fruit belongs to the musk melon family and takes its name from the Italian town of Cantalupo in Sabine. This canton claims to be the starting point of this juicy festival, although in reality its origins go back much further.

The easy-to-grow melon is a popular addition to many gardens – and for good reason. The taste of a ripe melon with vines is unlike anything you will find on a supermarket shelf. Today we will consider all the important aspects of melon cultivation. Also, you can have an endless supply of this beautiful melon for the whole summer!

All about melon

The origin of the melon goes back further than Cantalupo to Sabina, as I mentioned above. It is believed that it grows somewhere between Africa and South Asia. Thanks to its incredible taste, it quickly spread from its place of origin. The seeds of the Italian melon were brought to their province in Armenia. But once it was grown in Italy, its popularity increased significantly throughout Europe.

The melon was first grown as a commercial crop in the United States in 1890 and is now widely grown in California. The warm climate makes it an ideal place to grow giant melons. But in other regions, melons are still growing, and a wide variety of varieties has been produced.

The vine itself is slightly hairy, almost prickly, like some pumpkin vines. The leaves are wide, shading the vine. Male and female flowers are formed on each plant and both are necessary for pollination. The male flowers are usually smaller, with a thin, bright yellow base. The female flowers are larger and have a round bump at the base which, once pollinated, swells and turns into the melon we all crave so much.

Bees are among the main pollinators of this fruit, but gardeners can also pollinate themselves with a brush or cotton swab. Collect pollen from the male flowers, then apply it with a brush to the female flowers and you will be rewarded with future fruits.

Melons, which are technically berries from a botanical point of view, can be round or oval. Their outer crust has a characteristic pattern with a harder tanned skin on a softer dark green skin. As the greens ripen, they gradually become lighter and may turn yellow. The flesh of most melons inside is distinctly orange, although in some varieties it may be more yellowish.

The vine will ripen and begin to produce flowers in a little over a month and a half. After the flowering is over, individual melons are formed and grow for a month and a half. To obtain the best possible flavor, it may be useful to limit each sprig of plonk to a melon.

Melon planting

When planting a melon, you need to make sure that you have a decent space, because the vines take up a lot of space. Let’s get acquainted with other tips that will help you get the most out of your melon plant!

When to plant

Seeds can be sown in early spring, but they will not germinate if the soil in which they are located is warm. Aim for a soil temperature of about 70 degrees. If you want to go a little further, you can use a heating mat for seedlings while the outside warms up.

Transplant the plants into the garden as soon as there is absolutely no chance of frost outside. Usually the ideal period is mid-late spring. If your melons have not adapted to the external conditions, let them adapt gradually before planting them in the ground.

You can also sow the seeds directly in the garden. This will save you from needing a transplant, but warm conditions will certainly be necessary for success.

How to plant

Melon planting itself is a very simple process. The seeds should be sown at least a foot and a half apart and can be spaced 3 feet apart. But it also depends on whether you plan to control the growth of the vine as it develops. A closer distance is an option if you encourage the growth of vines away from other plants, such as in a raised bed or in a large toilet bag.

The seeds should be sown to a depth of about half an inch to an inch. You can plant 2-3 seeds in one hole and choose the most powerful seedling to keep it, then pinch the rest.

Transplanted plants should not be buried deeper into the ground than they were planted in their original pot. Unlike the tomato vine, melon seedlings do not produce additional roots along the stem, so they do not need to be planted in depth.

When transplanting, try to observe the same distance. Personally, I prefer 18 inches to 2 feet as much as possible, as this provides enough space for your root system.

Care

So now you have a growing melon. But how do you take care of your melon plants? Let’s look at this one more time.

Water and humidity

To form all these juicy melons, your melon plants need regular water. But it is important to water at the base of the vine rather than wetting the foliage. Use immersion hoses hidden under a thick layer of mulch to keep the plants hydrated. If you have to use a hand sprayer, water it only in the early morning so that the sprayed water can dry the leaves.

It is ideal to water from one to two inches per week (depending on the temperature). When it’s hot, water a little more often so that the leaves stay green and the melon thrives. However, do not overwater, as your melon plants do not need muddy conditions.

This layer of mulch that I mentioned is especially important. If you constantly expose it to moist soil, the fruits of the ripening melon can rot.

Reduce watering as the fruits approach the ripening stage so that the sugars in the melon pulp reveal their taste as much as possible. When watering at this stage, the melon still turns out to be very tasty, but it will not be as sweet as it could be.

Floor

For melon, well-drained soil is needed. The soil should be loamy or sandy with enough compost to provide the melon plants with enough nutrients.

To grow a melon, you will need a plot with neutral soil. They prefer a pH range of about 6.0-6.5 if possible. More alkaline soils can cause a ailment called iron chlorosis, caused by the fact that iron is not absorbed properly by plants. Acidic soils can reduce the yield of fruits.

Fertilization

If you use a lot of composted manure (horse or beef are perfect) and other vegetable compost, you may not have to fertilize as often. They provide plants with a good source of constant nutrition.

A balanced organic fertilizer can be applied several times during the growing season. When growing melon, much of what the plants need is nitrogen for winemaking, but if you need phosphorus or potassium, a balanced fertilizer is sure to come in handy. You can feed them several times or with the addition of composted manure or a compost mixture to help the plants bear fruit.

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