Melon

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.

Click here to view range of watermelon seeds (Citrullus lanatus)

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