Want to enjoy your own homegrown melon this summer? Read on for quick & easy tips on melon growing for your home garden.
Melons…ahh…they are almost synonymous with the summer season.
A juicy, sweet, hydrating treat that nearly everyone craves during the hottest time of year here in Tampa Bay.
And for good reason-Watermelons alone are made up of 92% water!
Which brings us to melon growing Tip #1:
-Give your melons plenty of water (sounds like a no brainer, right?)
It can be a tad tricky though, because although melons are thirsty (AND heavy feeders), care should be taken of “how” the plants are being watered.
As members of the cucurbit plant family, they are susceptible to fungal development.
One way to help thwart the fungal issues is to water the soil, not the leaves or fruit of the plant.
Also, watering during early morning hours, as opposed to watering in the evening, is also a best practice to avoid plant diseases (as this prohibits water sitting on the leaves through the night).
TIP 2 Planting Time:
-Although the most popular season for eating melons may be summer, most varieties of melon that grow best in Tampa Bay gardens should be planted during the Spring planting season (IE March is typically best).
Watermelons can take anywhere from 75 -120 days from seed to harvest, cantaloupe take ~80 days and honeydew take ~65-100 days, so getting the seedlings sprouted and hardened off before the brutal Summer sun hits is best.
TIP 3: Growing Space
-All varieties of melons need lots of space and this is one reason majority of home gardeners don’t grow them, BUT, don’t let a small growing space stop you from enjoying these fruits!
Try growing “UP” instead of “OUT”.
In the picture above, I planted a clients watermelons along a garden arbor that I built for their fruit and veggie garden.
Since cucurbits are vining, the plants will grow up the arbor and thus take up vertical gardening space instead of space along your garden floor.
(Bonus Tip: If the melons develop along your vertical space, use pantyhose to make “melon hammocks” so the vines don’t break).
If vertical isn’t your fortay, feel free to grow the melons along the ground and they will create a cover crop for the rest of your garden bed.
Need help with finding the right fruit varieties for your growing area OR constructing an arbor?
Reach out to Peas & Love to help get you growin‘!