Have you ever planted cantaloupe in your backyard? It’s actually one of the easiest fruits you can grow if your zone works. In case you’re wondering when is the best time to plant in your garden, please check this website. USDA Hardiness Zones
It’s really easy to find your zone, all you need is your zip code. I love it when stuff like this is easy! I live in Southern Utah which is Zone 8A. I plant my seeds outside in my raised garden bed on March 20th. I can hardly wait.
Prepare The Soil
If you prepped your soil last fall, you are my hero. Here’s the deal, our garden is only as good as our soil, as in nutrients. Of course, we have to have water, but if the soil isn’t great, nothing will grow. Well, the weeds will.
I always use and recommend Miracle Grow Garden Soil. Another item I use is
Are they perfect? No, they’re not, but I don’t have a tiller anymore and these are 18-inches tall which makes having a garden really nice for me since I don’t have to kneel down to work the soil or pull any possible weeds. Please prepare your soil before planting your seeds. If you have access to fresh manure, it has high nitrogen levels which cantaloupe love because it makes the soil warm. You can dig down in your soil and put
Nutrients And Garden Add-Ons
I also use the following items in all of my raised garden boxes and pots.
Planting Cantaloupe Seeds
Now, you can plant the seeds indoors and transplant them when the ground temperature outside is above 70 degrees F. You may want to cover the soil before planting to warm the soil. It works, trust me. You can purchase row covers such as these if desired. Floating Row Covers. The best seeds to plant are Organic Non-GMO Heirloom seeds.
Just giving you the heads up here, I plant my seeds in the ground. I have purchased plants in years past, but they never would transplant very well. Yes, it could have been operator error, as in me. So I just plant seeds now.
Plant The Seeds In Hills
The plants are best grown in hills mounded up with soil. Plant the seeds one-inch deep with for or five seeds in each hole. Once established, thin each hill to the best two plants. Feed the plants every six weeks with Miracle Grow vegetable and fruit fertilizer.
Make the rows about 18-inches apart and plant the seeds at least 36 inches apart. Cantaloupe needs a lot of water, they do not like to be waterlogged. There is a difference. They need consistent water applied. They don’t like a drought, ever. Soakers and drip irrigation work the best. Please avoid overhead sprinklers. The plants need about 1-2-inches of water per week.
If they are watered too much it will dilute the sugar content of the melons. Be careful with too much nitrogen fertilizer because you may produce plants but no fruit. The male flowers will show up first and they fall off. The female flowers need the bees to pollinate them in order to get fruit. Bees are critical to pollination.
Cantaloupe plants need a lot of space to grow. You can trellis them, but you have to have really sturdy trellis material and soft ties. I always found the cantaloupes became too heavy to hang on the
The key to growing juicy cantaloupe is having plenty of sunshine, heat, and moisture. Melons demand three to four months of heat. This may be difficult in some areas, but you can try covering them with covers that are appropriate for your area. I have used plastic milk jugs with the bottoms cut off. It keeps them warm in case a cold spell goes through.
If you see aphids, you can wash underneath the leaves gently with insecticidal soap. Mildew is another issue that may come up. Check with your local garden nurseries to find the fungicide that will work in your location.
Growing Cantaloupe Plants
Ready To Pick Cantaloupe
Look how beautiful this fruit is, it’s ready to be picked. Please remember the sweetness comes from the leaves of the plant. So be sure and not step on or damage the leaves. About a week before you can see a cantaloupe is ready to pick, cut back on the watering to that plant.
Harvest and Storage
You have to really keep your eye on the cantaloupe once you can see they are getting ready to pick. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to ripen. A ripe melon will slip right off the stem, therefore you know it’s ready. When picking them, if possible, leave about an inch or two of the stem and they will last longer off the vine. Please note, they do not ripen after harvesting.
Once the fruit is cut and stored in the refrigerator it will last about one week.
Benefits of Cantaloupe
- one cup of cantaloupe has 1.5 grams of protein
- a small amount of vitamin K
- a small amount of niacin
- a small amount of calcium
- a small amount of zinc
- a small amount of copper
- a small amount of phosphorus
- a small amount of Vitamin A
- a small amount of potassium
- a small amount of Vitamin B
You can see that for such a small fruit, it’s healthy and so versatile.
I really believe we must be self-reliant as soon as possible. Please plant a garden and learn to save seeds from Organic Non-GMO Heirloom plants. Please let me know if you have planted cantaloupe, I love hearing from you. Please keep prepping and stay well. May God bless this world. Linda