Cantaloupe and other melons

Larry G. Field
Thursday, April 11, 2019
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Melons are a challenge. They grow well and produce abundantly but as vine plants, they require a lot of space, it is difficult to produce a sustained crop and it is difficult to tell when they are ripe.

A 15-foot-seed row (surrounded by growth room) of most types will produce nearly 100 melons, nearly all of which will ripen in a week or less. Some of your choices when the ripening week arrives are to eat 15 melons a day, to give away 14 melons and eat one per day, to process and freeze 150 pounds of melon balls, or to donate to charitable organizations. During the “ripening season” I have literally given away a vehicle trunk load to guests or charities two or three times prior to the end of the ripening.

I find it easier to purchase melons. If growing your own you will have difficulty determining ripeness and when ripe, you will have a very short time to enjoy all of your efforts. Many people do well with melons; I don’t devote the space and effort.

My garden is roughly 30 X 65 feet, the size of a moderately large house. If I grow melons I have to leave a minimum of 7.5 ft in all directions from the planting site to be filled with grown melon vines. This 15 foot wide row will consume 23% of my entire garden, basically one-fourth of the garden. It will also require one-fourth of my summers gardening labor. This, in my opinion, is too much to justify for the few that we can enjoy. I no longer grow melons. I buy the few melons that we eat. I have grown many varieties successfully when we had Farmer’s Market as an outlet for the abundance.

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