If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to grow, care for and harvest your own cantaloupes, then follow our handy guide!
If you live in an area that experiences long growing seasons, then you can definitely grow and enjoy amazing, refreshing cantaloupes from your own back garden.
Cantaloupes are muskmelons, they can grow anywhere other melons such as watermelons can grow. They’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, therefore, consuming them enhances your health and general wellbeing.
We teach you how to plant, care for and harvest your cantaloupes with extra tips and common problems you may face when attempting to grow your own.
How to Plant Cantaloupes
You can grow cantaloupes from seeds or from young plants. If you live in a cooler climate, you should grow cantaloupe vines from young plants as this will enable you to harvest fruit before winter.
To grow cantaloupes from seeds, buy some from a well-established nursery or from an online store. Once you have your seeds, start them indoors about four weeks to the last estimated frost date. About two weeks after the date, check the temperature of the ground outdoors. If it is above 15 degrees, you should transplant your cantaloupe vines outdoors.
To ensure your cantaloupe vines have the best chance of thriving, prepare the planting site well by loosening the topsoil and mixing it with compost or manure and then creating hills to ensure good drainage.
When transplanting young cantaloupe vines into the ground, make sure you don’t bury them deeper than they were in the seed starting tray. Also, try to space them; put them about three feet apart. Make use of support structures such as trellis if you have limited space in your garden.
How To Care For Cantaloupes
Cantaloupes need about three gallons of water every week in order for them to thrive. This is especially true when they are growing and blooming. It is also true when they are setting fruit. Water each cantaloupe vine in your garden with about one gallon of water, every one to two days depending on how quickly the soil dries.
Cantaloupes grown in poor soils need fertiliser to grow into strong and productive vines. Therefore, add an organic liquid fertilizer about a month after planting your cantaloupes to give them the nutrients they need if your garden soils are poor.
Cantaloupes require pruning after the fruits grow. This will ensure they focus all energy on making fewer but better quality fruits.
How To Harvest Cantaloupes
You will know your cantaloupes are ripe and ready when they change their colour from green to yellow or tan. Once you see the change in colour, examine the stems joining the fruits to your cantaloupe vines.
If they are cracked, then your cantaloupes are ready for picking. Harvest them by cutting them off from the vines using a sharp knife.
You might be left with more cantaloupes than you know what to do with so we’ve found these recipes for you to try out!
Tips & Common Problems
After your cantaloupes start setting fruit, you should reduce watering by half. This will force your vines to make sweeter and healthier cantaloupes. If you continue watering your cantaloupes normally when they start ripening, you will end up with bland cantaloupes.
Pests such as vine borers and squash bugs attack cantaloupes with impunity. So you have to watch out for them and protect your plants using row covers, maybe biological controls.
You can trim each vine to just two to three melons per plant if you want to be growing larger fruit or not trim at all for lots of smaller fruits.