Organic Melon Gardening Basics

A close relative of the cucumber and the squash, the melon grows on vines and needs a lot of room, warm weather and plenty of moisture to grow properly.

Watermelon© iStockphoto/ThinkstockMelons are common in vegetable gardens
Which type should I grow? Melons take a long time to mature, usually from 3 to 4 months. For this reason, most varieties of melon — watermelon, honeydew, Crenshaw, Persian and casaba — are grown in gardens in warm areas. Only the cantaloupe, properly called the muskmelon, matures fast enough — in 75 to 85 days — to be suitable for planting in areas with shorter growing seasons. In recent years, horticulturists have developed hybrid varieties of honeydew, Crenshaw melons and miniature watermelons that mature in 80 to 90 days and so can be grown in many cooler regions. Melons will not flourish in areas where temperatures fall below 55°F (13°C) at night and below 81°F (27°C) during the day. Unless you can count on these temperatures for 3 months, grow quick-maturing varieties.

How do I start? Gardeners in areas with short growing seasons have plenty of tricks to naturally encourage melon growth; chemical aids are unnecessary. They usually start the melon seeds indoors, in pots, to get the longest possible growing season. They also plant their melons against a south-facing wall or fence that will reflect the sun’s warmth, grow them in cold frames or set them out in large tubs in warm, sheltered spots.

Tip: Gardeners often use black plastic mulch on the soil in which the melons grow. Plastic mulch warms the soil with the heat it absorbs, and by acting as insulation also helps keep soil temperatures from dropping at night.

  • Republished from:

    The Canadian Illustrated Guide to Gardening

    buy NOW$59.96

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy