Cantaloupe, Sweet 'N Early Hybrid
Ideal for short-season areas.
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Plant Shipping Information
How to Sow and Plant
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Direct sowing is recommended, but to get a head start you can start honeydew indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost in individual biodegradable pots indoors. Sow 2-3 seeds per pot.
- Sow seeds ½ inches deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Thin to one plant per pot.
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Sowing Directly in the Garden
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Sow in fertile, warm soil after danger of frost has passed.
- Sow seeds 3 inches apart in groups of 4-6. Cover with ½ inch of fine soil.
- Space groups 4-6 feet apart each way.
- Keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
- Thin to 3 or 4 strongest seedlings in each group when they are 1-2 inches high.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Melons have a shallow root system, mulches help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- As plants grow mulch to control weeds, keep fruits off the ground and conserve moisture
- Do not move the vines, they are easily injured.
- To prevent diseases keep melons off the ground.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvest & Preserving
- Allow your melons to ripen on the vine. In general fruits are ripe when they smell aromatic and when stems start to crack and the fruit slips off easily with light pressure from your thumb.
- Generally, fruits are ripe when they smell fruity.
- Harvest cantaloupes when the fruits change from green to yellow or tan and they break away easily from the vine.
- Harvest winter melons when they turn the appropriate color and their blossom ends are soft.
- Honeydew melons are ripe when the skin turns to a creamy yellow color and the blossom end is slightly soft. To avoid damage cut the honeydew off the vine with sharp shears.
- Watermelons are ready to harvest when their undersides turn from white to a creamy yellow. The tendrils closest to the fruit will also turn brown and dry up and the skin will become dull and hard at harvest time.
- For best flavor eat at room temperature.
- Melons may be stored in the refrigerator for a short time. They will lose their flavor and color if stored too long.
Days To Maturity75 daysFruit Weight6 poundsSunFull SunSpread3-6 feetHeight15-18 inchesSow MethodDirect SowPlanting TimeSummerSow TimeAfter Last FrostThin36 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Cantaloupe, Sweet 'N Early Hybrid is rated out of 5 by 17.Rated 5 out of 5 by Doug25 from Excellent Vigorous plants that withstood disease for most of the summer and put out 6-8 melons per plant. In some cases, there were over 10 melons per plant. This melon variety is different in that it produced a few ripe melons at a time.Date published: 2015-12-26Rated 5 out of 5 by amp1014 from Wonderfully Sweet Flavor! These are wonderfully sweet melons. It makes you want to take a knife and spoon to the garden and eat them as soon as they're ready. We planted the entire packet and have an excellent production rate! These are sized very well and can provide one meal's worth per melon for our family of three. We will be planting this variety again!Date published: 2015-08-14Rated 5 out of 5 by TheOrganicGardener from GREAT TASTING!!! Very good producers, and very tasty fruit. Will grow again next year!Date published: 2013-10-16Rated 5 out of 5 by SuperChemicalGirl from So good I'll grow them every year I moved from Maryland to Maine a few years ago. The first few years of gardening were hard for me. I started my seeds too early (Maryland time) and I wanted to grow things that just didn't do well here (like melons). I've improved in my Maine-style gardening and I haven't given up on melons despite many years of failure. In 2012 I found these melon seeds and decided to give them a shot. I grew two plants in a medium sized homemade self-watering container and watered with copious amounts of duck poo water on a twice monthly schedule. I am so glad that I tried this variety. The vines did well despite large amounts of cucumber beetles. Each plant produced 6 softball sized melons. When they were ready to go they dropped right off the vine. They smelled divine. They tasted even better. They all ripened at about the same time so I was overrun with melons. They are the perfect size for a single person serving of fruit. I am growing them again this year and plan to continue with this variety yearly. I am still on my quest for an early watermelon, though. No luck there.Date published: 2013-06-08Rated 5 out of 5 by alohababe from prolific little vines germinated indoors using the papertowel-baggie method and all 10 germinated! planted in pots and they are now producing little fuzzy balls EVERYDAY!Date published: 2013-05-14Rated 5 out of 5 by Anonymous from AWESOME I just don't have the words to describe my excitement of having my own cantaloupe growing in my backyard and they're so sweet!!! Little, but as many as I have out there size doesn't really matter!!! My kids will be very happy!!!!!Date published: 2012-07-23Rated 5 out of 5 by Caroline from Yummy! Despite the drought here this year, the plants thrived and have produced a lot of cantaloupe--every one of which has been super sweet and tasty. I will definitely plant this variety again.Date published: 2012-07-14Rated 5 out of 5 by pksracing from I will grow these again! What a great little cantaloupe! This was my first attempt at a vegetable garden. I didn't do anything with these other than water them. When I went to water my garden this morning before coming to work, 2 of these had fallen off of the vine. The fruits weren't anywhere near what you could call firm; I actually thought that the vine had aborted them because of the heat. I brought the fruits to work anyway, to cut them open and see what was inside. Imagine my surprise when I opened them up and found perfectly formed little cantaloupes. One of them was the size of an orange and the other was the size of a softball. I dug out the seeds, cut them into sections and ate them like an orange. I love cantaloupe and these are perfect for an active single person. They're sweet, tender, very juicy, and small enough to just toss into a backpack and have for lunch. I will definitely be growing these again next spring.Date published: 2012-07-01