In the United States, cantaloupe has become a generic name for muskmelons. Melons have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. Originally, they are believed to have originated from Persia and India. Cantaloupe is sweet tasting and high in vitamins C, A, B6, folate, niacin and potassium, which makes it a healthy snack for satisfying a sweet tooth. Melons also add creaminess to smoothie recipes. Cantaloupes grow best during the warmer months, and have a longer growing season.
What You Need
Seed starter soil
Begin planting your cantaloupe in peat pots about a month before the last chance of frost. Fill your peat pots with seed starter soil.
Plant one seed at a depth of 1-inch in each peat pot. Water your cantaloupe seeds each day so that soil stays moist.
Begin to prepare your plants to be transplanted into your garden space after 4 sets of leaves have appeared on the seedlings. Harden off plants by setting them on a patio outside for a couple of hours. Increase the amount of time the plants are outside each day over a period of 10 days.
Loosen the soil in your garden area to a depth of 6-inches. Mix 3 inches of compost into the soil.
Rake your soil into mounds. Space each mound 3 feet apart.
Dig 3 holes into each mound that are large enough to place the peat pots into. Space each hole about 1 ½ feet apart.
Place the peat pots into the holes on each mound. Pat soil around the pot and the base of the seedling. Press down around the base of the seedling to make sure it’s secure in the soil.
Add hay mulch around your plants to help hold in water and reduce weeds. Water your transplanted seedlings to a depth of 6 inches. Continue to give your melons about 6 inches of water a week. Water your plants in the morning, and allow the soil and leaves to dry each evening.
Side-dress your cantaloupe with a 5-5-5 fertilizer every 3 weeks by mixing a handful into the soil about 3 inches away from the base of each plant.
Begin to harvest your muskmelons when the stem is ready to slip easily from the vine, and the fruit has a strong fragrant smell.