Having the chilled slices of the cantaloupe on a hot sunny day; what can be better than this? People all over the world love this amazing fruit and are very much aware of its impressive health benefits. Considering its ability to fix the dehydration problems and the low energy issues, dieticians often recommend to include cantaloupe as the significant element in the diet. Points not over, it has beauty benefits too. Putting a slice of the fruit on the eyelids can cure the red eyes and rubbing the piece on the skin rashes gets relief to the affected area. Isn't it an incredible gift from nature?
If you landed on this article, then you must be having some active taste glands for cantaloupe. We all have eaten this fruit which we probably have taken from the nearest store or the fruit corner, but have you ever wondered to grow it on your own! Yes, you read it right, it is about raising the vines of cantaloupe in the backside garden or the side space near the wall. Considerably, growing cantaloupes is easy once you have the right information in hand.
Well, we know, you must be excited for the further details to give it a try. So, let's be straight and get onto the steps.
- Choosing the Right Location
Cantaloupes love summer and grow best with the high temperature, therefore, put the seeds only when the ground temperature is at least 70 degrees. If you are living in the colder region, you can start your seeding process indoors and then transfer them outdoors before they began to grow as big. Make sure the walls do not hinder the growth; for best results you can also let them go vertically with the help of the trellis. They can be grown either in pots, containers or trellis but make sure to consider the material and the variety of the cantaloupes as bigger sizes are usually heavy and can break the support system easily.
- The Soil Preparation
Now when you have chosen the location and have decided to control the growth pattern, it's time to prepare the soil. Cantaloupes love to grow in warm temperatures so you will need to amend the soil with organic fertilizer, organic compost, or the aged manure. For best results, add the mentioned to the first 6 inches of the soil.
- Planting Process
A gap of 36 inches is recommended with every plant when you grow them in the traditional way. However, if you are planning to make use of the trellis, keep a minimum of 12 inches gap (also known as the square foot gardening).
After the plantation process, mulch down the area to keep the new plants warm. Mulch also prevents weeds from blocking the growth and aids to hold maximum moisture.
- Pest Care/Companion Planting
Take note, cantaloupes have some pests of concern. If not taken with proper care, squash bugs and the squash vine borer may even munch your entire plant to make it dead. You may also see cucumber beetles attacking the plant as it starts growing. The best way to defend your baby plant is by giving it a companion to fight. Notably, Tansy flowers and Nasturtiums both can help you for the purpose. Further, we recommend you to inspect your plants twice in a week with a sharp eye on the vines, flowers, and leaves.
For watering the plants, always prefer soaker hose or the drip irrigators and avoid the use of sprinklers. Watering is essential to make the plant grow strong but soaking it to the leaves often causes the spread of diseases and fungus. Supply water to your plants in the morning and make sure you keep it till the base only. Notably, morning is the best time suited as you will not need to worry about the excess water at the base as afternoon sun automatically dries up the extra moisture.
To note, do not worry if you see the leaves a little wilt in the sun; it is pretty normal.
- Fruit Care
You need to protect the newbie fruit as it develops. Gently put a melon cradle or the piece of cardboard under the fruit to protect it from the pests. This step will also help in promoting the ripening process.
VARIETIES TO CHOOSE FROM
If you are planning to grow your plant in the container, you may need to consider the smaller variety of fruit. Prefer Minnesota Midget which is comparatively a smaller type that fits easily in the palm.
Other varieties to consider:
Hale’s Best Jumbo
- Harvesting/Storage Rules
If you want your cantaloupes as sweet and good, let them grow naturally on their vine. Do not pick them at an early stage as picked melons do to ripen much after. A ready to pick fruit has always its rind changed from green to yellow/tan yellow. Additionally, sniff well before you go to pick them up; if it smells sweet and ripe, it is safe to be picked.
For maximum sweetness, store it for one or two days before eating. Concerning more extended storage, you can even freeze it or can make the preserves.
In essence, growing cantaloupes is not as difficult as it seems. With the right process and the time to time checks, you can quickly grow sweet and watery cantaloupes in your home garden.
Further, we hope that the steps mentioned above have given you enough idea about the overall growth process. So don't wait, show some skills and help others by sharing your experience with the active blogs.