How To Grow Cantaloupe At Home – Easy Step By Step Guide

Nothing can beat the summer’s scorching heat like a fleshy orange cantaloupe, especially if it is brought right from your backyards.  So, without wasting any further time let us dwell on this article, how to grow cantaloupe plant, in your garden and savor the juicy delight.

Here are quick tips to grow and plant cantaloupes. This delish fruit needs full sun and well-drained soil conditions. When planting seeds check the temperature if it’s between and above 50 to 60 degrees F, which is the best temperature. Also, remember to plant cantaloupes in groups of two or three seeds spaced 2 feet apart.  Once planted successfully cantaloupe plants take about 68-85 days to fully grown.

We are also going to talk about the below points, which are crucial in terms of growing Cantaloupe, Honeydew melon, and muskmelon. As all belong to the same species, Cucumis melo.

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Is Cantaloupe Easy To Grow?

Growing cantaloupes at home is pretty easy provided the plant receives plenty of sunlight, good drainage and enough space to spread out. Also, it is recommended that planting canalope should be done only after the last frost has passed away.

How Long Does It Take For Cantaloupe To Grow?

On average, the cantaloupe plants take three months to grow. However, depending on the variety they can take as less as 68 days to as long as twelve weeks. The “earliest” variety of cantaloupe plants takes only 68 days to mature and tastes great. Generally, it takes 34-45 days for cantaloupe to yield fruit after blossoming.

What Are The Cantaloupe Growing Stages?

The cantaloupe growing stages are as shown below:

How To Grow Cantaloupe At Home
How To Grow Cantaloupe At Home

Seed

At this stage of planting, cantaloupes require enough moisture to germinate properly. Also, the temperature must exceed 50-degree Fahrenheit for cantaloupe seed planting. According to Cornell University’s Growing Guide ” If the temperature of the soil is around 90-degree Fahrenheit the seeds will germinate in less than 1 week.

Sprouting

Once the seeds have sprouted wait for it to have about two to three leaves. Then thin the seedlings such that there is just one seedling in every 18-24 inches. At this stage, moisture should be provided properly as the plant grows stronger in the soil.

Vining And Pollination

The Maryland Food Gardening Network recommends” training the vines to grow in opposite directions or in vertical directions to make more space available and to make the garden look cleaner.

Flowering starts as soon as the plant starts vining. The plant has both male flowers and female flowers, that are together responsible for successful pollination. Here, Honey bees are the most efficient pollinators.

Harvest

As soon as the cantaloupes seem to have grown check the stem where the fruit attaches to see if it has ripened. If it easily gets removed from the vine it is most probably ripened.

You can also check the rind, if it is yellow, then the cantaloupe can be picked. But make sure not to pick them too early or after then have over ripened.

If you are wondering when to plant cantelope? Since, these plants cannot tolerate frost. Hence, it is recommended to wait till the last frost passes away and the soil is warm. Generally, seeds can be sown in early summers.

Things To Consider Before Planting Cantaloupes?

Following points must be considered before growing canalopes:

  • Time: Make sure the season is right to grow the plant, the soil temperature must be more than 50-degree Fahrenheit. The last frost must have passed away.
  • Location: The area should be sunny, soil rich, and well-drained.
  • Space: Ensure that there is proper room for the cantaloupes to spread their vines. Between each plant, there must be an 18-24 inches distance.
  • Pests and insects: Keep a check on pests and insects that might cause damage to the plant and fruit.
  • Watering: Don’t overdo watering of the plants during the growing stage of the fruit. Excessive watering makes the fruit taste bland.
  • Don’t cut the leaves, they produce sugars that make the fruit taste sweet.
  • Grow the vines vertically.

How To Grow Cantaloupe From Fresh Seeds?

To answer how to plant cantaplopes from scratch, we have listed steps for growing this juicy melon fruit.

  • Select seed from the varieties available as per your requirement and environmental conditions.
  • Fill a container with fertile soil.
  • Plant seeds 1 inch deep with a distance of about 18 Inches between the seeds.
  • Water the seeds regularly.
  • Provide sufficient heat and light.
  • Harden the seeds before transplanting them into your garden, to harden store them outside doors for a couple of hours a day.
  • Prepare the garden bed with a 4-inch layer of fertile soil.
  • Wait for the seedlings to have 2-3 leaves then transplant them after the last frost has passed away.
  • Water enough to keep the soil moist always, until fruiting starts.
  • Then wait for the fruit to ripen and start harvesting once the rind turns yellow and fruit emits a fruity fragrance.

How To Grow Cantaloupes Vertically?

Cantaloupes can grow as long as 3-4 meters and the garden will look very cumbersome if they keep spreading all over the garden.

Thus, training them to grow vertically, is definitely a better idea. For this purpose, we can use vertical trellis.

  • The vines are strong dense and heavy so make sure the trellis that you are making is strong and sturdy.
  • A vertical trellis can be built out of a variety of materials, Concrete reinforced wire mesh, hog fencing, welded wire, and livestock panels are all solid materials to consider.
  • You’ll also want something that will allow the vines to clamber through tight gaps. Consider if you want to make a tall trellis or arbor, or just shorter vertical support.
  • If you’re building an arbor, the arch will need to be extra strong, so PVC pipe might be needed.

How To Grow Cantaloupe On A trellis ?

After you have made your own trellis or purchased one, you can redirect the growth of your cantaloupe vertically, as they themselves won’t climb up the trellis.

For this purpose, you can place the new vines on the trellis and wind the tendrils around the wire or you can loosely tie a cloth around and stick together the vines and the trellis.

Make slings for the cantaloupes as they mature out of old nylons, t-shirts, or other scrap cloth; otherwise, they will become too heavy and fall off the vine.

Keep the slings tight enough to hold the cantaloupe in place, but loose enough to let the cantaloupes grow.

How To Grow Cantaloupe Indoors?

Growing cantelope indoors is completely different from growing outside. Therefore, below steps are answer to how to plant cantaloupes indoor and things that need to be considered.

How To Grow Cantaloupe Indoors
How To Grow Cantaloupe Indoors
  • The first step toward growing indoor cantaloupe is selecting the right seed. Find one that is rather short and bushier and not long with large sized fruits. Varieties like “Serenade” “sugar cube” “little sweetie” can be used.
  • Next find a location that receives ample amount of sunlight. The temperature of soil should be more than 50-degree Fahrenheit or the seeds won’t germinate.
  • Now coming to getting the soil ready, make sure then pH of the soil is appropriate, it should be between 6-6.8. To fertilize the soil, you can buy a fertilizer or use natural compost. Make sure the soil has all the necessary nutrients.
  • Use a container that is large enough for the cantaloupe to grow. It could be made from terra cotta, fabric, plastic etc.
  • Sowing the seeds at a half inch depth, and make sure to put no more than 2-3 seeds in a single pot. Wait for them to germinate.
  • Once they germinate and develop two to three leaves, transplant them to the centre of  the pot.
  • Build a climbing trellis for the vines. Even if you’re growing dwarf melon plants, the vines will grow to be 3 to 5 feet long. As the vines rise, guide them up the trellis.
  • Water if the soil 1 inch below the surface becomes dry. Ensure that the cantaloup plants are well-watered before they are ready to be collected.
  • Apply water-soluble fruit and vegetable fertiliser in the 10-to-14-day period. Plants grown in containers need fertilisation more often than plants cultivated on the land as fertiliser leaches with recurring irrigation and must be removed in order to produce healthy plants.
  • The female cantaloupe can be pollinated by hand. To collect pollen, place an artist paintbrush inside the male blooms. To pollinate the melons, pass the pollen to the female blooms. Male blooms have a thin stalk, while female blooms have a small inflated ovary at the base that resembles a miniature melon. The tiny cantaloupes would not grow without pollination.
  • Create soft cotton slings such as old T-shirts to carry melons as soon as their diameter is 2 to 4 inches. Stick the slopes to the trellis to protect the cantaloupes and avoid losing the weight of the fruits in the vines.
  • Three weeks before your cantaloupes mature, cut the watering down, as too much water can make the cantaloupe taste bland.  Let the soil stay on the dry side, but do not let the leaves fall off.

How To Care For Cantaloupe Once Planted?

Now once you learn how do cantaloupe grow, it is essential to learn how to care for it after plantation. Here are the few that you should consider:

  • Keep plants watered, especially when they are flowering and fruiting, and use potash weekly, until the first fruit is set.
  • Plant out to their cropping location in early summer, with plants spaced 60cm (2ft) apart and the top of the root ball slightly below soil level. Do not plant too deeply because it can lead to rotting by covering the stem.
  • Pinch the rising tips on the fifth leaf to promote side shoots with flowers.
  • When plants are grown upwards, the fruit will need to be supported in a net as it swells, as it also increases in weight. In order to avoid decay and to facilitate a maturing process, fruit ripening on the soil may have to be raised off the ground with the wood or tile.

Best Cantaloupe Storage And Harvesting Tips

How To Store & Harvest Cantaloupe
How To Store & Harvest Cantaloupe

So, far we have focused on how to plant melon seeds, and when to plant melon seeds. But harvesting and storage carry the same importance as a plantation.

Therefore, it becomes essential knowledge about how to save melon seeds for eating as well as plantation purposes (to be used next season). Also, what precautions should be taken while storing this fruit.

Harvesting Tips

  • The stem where the fruit attaches to see if it has ripened.
  • If it easily gets removed from the vine it is most probably ripened.
  • You can also check the rind, if it is yellow, then the cantaloupe can be picked. But make sure not to pick them too early or after then have over-ripened.
  • A sharp knife, garden pruner, or lopper may be used to remove melons from the vine.

Storage Tips

  • Let the cantaloupes rest for a day or two before serving for the best taste. To avoid spoilage, keep the cantaloupes in the refrigerator for a week; split melons can be kept for up to three days.
  • If you don’t plan on using ripe melons right away, dice or split the flesh into balls and freeze it for slushies or cold soup.
  • Refrigerate the melon slices in a perforated plastic bag. You can buy perforated plastic bags or make your own by punching 20 holes in a medium-size plastic bag with a hole punch or a sharp object.
  • Keep melons cool and moist. At temperatures below 50°F, melons are vulnerable to chilling damage, so make sure not to over cool.

What Are The Common Growing Issues With Cantaloupes?

Common growing issues with cantaloupe:

  • Leaves turning yellow, white, brown or black.
  • The plant flowers but doesn’t produce fruits.
  • The fruits not ripening or growing.
  • The fruits are rotting or splitting.
  • Insects and fungus.

how to grow muskmelon in pots / containers?

Yes, cantaloupes can be grown in pots too. Fill the container nearly to the top with a good quality potting soil containing perlite or vermiculite, which will help the soil retain moisture. Plant four or five cantaloupe seeds in the center of the pot about two weeks after the last average frost date in your area.

FAQs On How to Grow Cantaloupes

Q1: How Many Cantaloupes Does A Plant Produce?

Generally, cantaloupe produces around 8 cantaloupes that can less or more depending on the weather and environmental conditions. One vine holds 2-3 cantaloupes.

Q2: How Often Do You Water A Cantaloupe?

Cantaloupes need lots of water to grow. Make sure the soil is moist up to 4 inches. But do not overwater, or the roots might get waterlogged and rot, causing the plant to die. Also stop watering once fruiting starts, so that the sweetness doesn’t decrease.

Q3: Are Cantaloupe And Honey Dew Melon Same?

Though both the fruits taste sweet but are different. They belong to the same species, Cucumis melo. Cantaloupe has a netted rind and orange flesh, while honeydew has a smooth, light-coloured rind and green flesh.

Q4: Can I Plant A Cantaloupe In July?

Cantaloupes Require Moisture And Sunlight To Grow. The Soil Temperature Should Also Be High. So, Yes, You Can Plant Cantaloupes In July.

Q5: How To Know If Cantaloupe Is Sweet And Ready To Eat?

If the fruit easily gets removed from the vine it is most probably ripened. You can also check the rind, if it is yellow, then the cantaloupe can be eaten.

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Conclusion

In the above article, we have discussed everything about How To Grow Cantaloupes. Planting them should be a piece of cake now, so think no longer get those seeds and wait for the fruity results.

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