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All About Melons

CAN I GROW MELONS?


All melons are warm-season crops that prefer rich, warm soil in full sun. In most areas sow the seed directly in the garden after all danger of frost. In short-season areas start the seeds indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost date.
Sow the seeds 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep and thin to stand 1 foot apart. Grow melons in rows spaced 3 to 4 feet apart or in "hills" with groups of 2 plants every 3 feet.
Water during dry periods.
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PLANT HISTORY


Melons, including cantaloupes, winter melons and watermelons - are popular garden crops that grow on vining plants, which can spread out over the garden or be trained up a trellis or other support.
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HARVEST TIPS


All melons should be allowed to ripen on the vine. Cantaloupes have a delicious aroma when they are mature. The fruit color changes from green to yellow or tan, and the fruit generally breaks away easily from the vine. The undersides of watermelons turn from white to yellow when they are ready to harvest, and the tendrils closest to the fruit turn brown and dry up. The skin becomes hard, and the fruit should make a dull "thudding" sound when tapped.
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RECIPES & STORAGE


Melons make delicious, refreshing snacks in the hot months of summer. Serve them as breakfast foods, as a side dish for lunch, or as a desert for dinner. Cut them into cubes or scoop them with a melon baller for fruit salads.
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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Veteran gardeners often claim a drop of mineral oil placed on the end of a developing ear of corn will discourage earworms. But Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) sprinkled on the emerging corn silk is more effective. The best way to avoid earworms altogether is by planting a short-season variety like ‘Early and Often’ or ‘Early Choice’ as early as possible. Earworms usually cause the most damage in late summer. So, if you can harvest early, the corn will be on the dinner table long before the earworms have a chance to damage the crop.