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Growing Melons

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

You'll never buy melons as sweet as the ones you grow in your garden.

Have you ever had a melon slice that tasted bitter instead of sweet? Part of the problem with melons in grocery stores and restaurants is that they have to be picked early and expected to ripen during transport. This cuts down on their flavor. But, you'll never have to deal with that problem if you grow melons in your own backyard!


Have you ever had a melon slice that tasted bitter instead of sweet? Part of the problem with melons in grocery stores and restaurants is that they have to be picked early and expected to ripen during transport. This cuts down on their flavor. But, you'll never have to deal with that problem if you grow melons in your own backyard!

There are so many melon types to choose from, including honeydew, cantaloupe, muskmelon and watermelon. All should be planted about two weeks after the last frost date for a summer harvest, and you can plant from seed or use nursery transplants. Since melons like heat, colder climates will have better success with transplants to gain a few weeks of the short growing season.

The hill planting method is common for melons. choose a sunny, south-facing location for your melon garden. Plant different melon varieties a few rows apart, because they can cross-pollinate. In rich, composted soil, plant two transplants (or 4 to 5 seeds) in hills that are 2 to 3 feet apart. Dark plastic or wood mulch placed on the soil will help keep the plants warm. Do not over-water. Melons prefer moist soil to wet soil. Fertilize with an all-purpose organic fertilizer every three weeks.Watch for cucumber beetles, which can also attack melon crops.

When melons are ripe, they will have a mature color and smell sweet. Most varieties take 75 to 90 days. When they are ready, melons will slip of the vine easily, so there is no need to tug or cut the fruit from the plant. Wait until melons are fully ripe before harvesting. To make them even sweeter hold off on watering them for a week before you harvest them.
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