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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

  • Fall salad crops can be difficult to start because garden soil is often very warm when seeds need to be planted. To trick the internal mechanism that allows seeds to germinate in warm ground, freeze them for a week or two.
    Or start seeds indoors in flats where it’s cool, and transplant seedlings into the garden immediately after germination. Be sure to include winter or cold-hardy lettuce varieties when planting. They will take temperatures down into the 20s with little or no protection. ‘Little Caesar’, Buttercrunch’ lettuces, ‘Frizz E’endive and ‘Baby’s Leaf Hybrid’ spinach are good choices. When the thermometer dips below freezing, lay an old bed sheet or floating row cover directly over the lettuce, endive and spinach for protection.