Botanical name: Cucumis melo
Melons are warm season annual vines and require a long, hot growing season. In temperate areas sow October – November, after all danger of frost; subtropical areas sow September – November; in tropical areas sow April – July, during the dry season. Sow directly where it is to grow 10 – 20mm deep, or start early in individual seedling pots, in cool areas bottom heat will be required. Seed germinates best at a soil temperature of 23 – 35° C. Seed will germinate in 4 – 10 days. Soil should be fertile, well-drained, with a pH 6 – 6.5. Space rows 1.5 m apart with 1m between plants on raised mounds. Pinch out the growing tip to encourage branching; when the fruit forms pinch back the vine to 2 leaves beyond the fruit. Melons can be grown vertically where space is limited but support the fruit with onion bags. Growing vertically also reduces the risk of fungal problems. Slide a flat piece of wood underneath ripening fruit on the ground to avoid rotting from contact with wet soil. Harvest when the melon slips easily from the stem.

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