When to Plant Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe is a warm-weather crop, so it’s best to plant it after the last frost of spring. The ideal soil temperature for planting cantaloupe is 70 °F (21 °C). If you live in a cool climate, you can start your cantaloupe seeds indoors about 4–6 weeks before your last frost date. Once the seedlings are big enough to handle, transplant them into your garden.
Keep in mind that cantaloupes do best when they’re planted directly in the ground, rather than being transplanted. Still, transplanting is an option if you need to get a head start on the growing season. Now, how to grow cantaloupe?
Where to Plant Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupes need full sun to produce sweet, juicy fruit, so make sure they’re getting at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. If you live in a hot climate, you may need to provide some afternoon shade to prevent the leaves from scorching.
The soil should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. Cantaloupes are heavy feeders, so they need nutrient-rich soil to produce good fruit. Before planting, work some compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to give your plants a boost.
How to Plant Cantaloupe?
Plant cantaloupes about 36–42 inches apart – they’re sprawlers, so they need some room to grow! Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing. If weeds do become a problem, hand-pull them or use a hoe to carefully remove them before the vines start to sprawl.
How to Grow Cantaloupe Plants?
Once you’ve planted your cantaloupe seeds or seedlings, it’s time to start caring for your plants. It’s best to water cantaloupes deeply, but infrequently. 1 or 2 inches of water per week is a good amount for immature plants. Once the plants start to produce fruit, you can reduce the watering and stop it altogether once the fruit is close to ripening.
You can also apply a balanced fertilizer once the plant if 4 inches tall and again when the first flowers appear. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth and reduced fruit production.
How Long Does It Take for a Cantaloupe to Grow?
Now you know how to grow cantaloupe. But how long does it take for a cantaloupe to grow? In about 80–90 days after planting, the plants will be mature and start to produce fruit. 35–45 days after pollination, the fruit will ripen. So, if you plant your cantaloupe in early spring, you can expect to harvest it in midsummer.
Enjoy your homegrown cantaloupes! With a little care and attention, you’ll be able to grow delicious fruit that’s perfect for summer snacking.
Pests and Diseases
Cantaloupes are relatively easy to grow, but there are a few pests and diseases you should be on the lookout for. Aphids, cucumber beetles, and cutworms are all common pests that can attack cantaloupe plants. To get rid of them, you can use an insecticidal soap or a homemade mixture of water and dish soap.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can affect cantaloupes. It appears as a gray or white powder on the leaves and can eventually kill the plant if left untreated. To prevent it, make sure there’s good air circulation around the plants and avoid getting the leaves wet when you water. If powdery mildew does appear, treat it with a fungicide.
Cantaloupes are ripe and ready to harvest when the netting on the fruit becomes raised and visible. The bottom of the fruit should start to turn yellow, and the stem should separate easily from the vine when you give it a gentle tug.
Use a sharp knife to cut the cantaloupe from the vine, being careful not to damage the plant. Cantaloupes can be stored at room temperature for a few days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Follow these tips on how to grow cantaloupe and enjoy your delicious fruit!
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