Monday, March 26, 2012

Garden Seeds // Hello Cantaloupe!

I always think hopeful thoughts when I make the first cut into a melon.  Over the years, I still can't tell with consistent accuracy when a melon is ripe in the store.  Shake it, smell it, squeeze it - whatever your method, there is no guarantee.

Last year, my friend Allyce gave me cantaloupe seeds she saved from a fantastic tasting melon she bought at the store.  I planted them and, wow! this was great stuff.  I saved the seeds from the ones I grew and am planting them today. 

Cantaloupe need rich soil, heavy water, 6-8 hours of sunlight and lots of room to grow.  The ideal time to plant these seeds is March 1 - April 15th so find a spot and gets seeds in soon. 

Here is my chosen area for cantaloupe.  The vine will encroach into the asparagus fern but do no harm.  With a few trellises, the vine will climb as well.

You can plant cantaloupe in a pot too.  Just make sure it is a big pot and you water it well.  Pots dry out faster than a raised bed so be diligent in your watering.  I had a vine in a pot last spring that was a volunteer from my compost.  It produced very well.

Cantaloupe take 80-120 days to harvest so be patient and label your plant.  Note: this is a 40-day range so labelling will eliminate some, but not all, of the guessing game of when to harvest.  

Once harvested, be sure to save the rind for your compost.  Cut it into 1x1" pieces for ideal decomposition size.  Compost the seeds as well and you're likely to get volunteers in the future.

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