This page provides written and visual information on How to Grow Melons. We will use the Savor Hybrid as a model.
A hybrid seed is produced by artificially cross-pollinated plants. Hybrids are bred to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, disease resistance, and so forth.
Hybrid seeds cannot be saved, as the seed from the first generation of hybrid plants does not reliably produce true copies; therefore, new seed must be purchased for each planting.
So if you are considering producing your own seeds some day, make sure the plant you plan to get them from is not a hybrid. And some hybrids are copy-right protected.
The Savor, pictured below, is the sweetest French melon. It has unsurpassed eating quality. The small, two pound melons are of the classic Charentais type: faintly ribbed, with a smooth gray-green rind and dark green sutures. Sweet and aromatic, with deep orange flesh, they are resistant to fusarium races 0, 1, & 2, and powdery mildew.
Days to Maturity: 78
The Savor is a good melon for growing in the greenhouse which is where we are going to grow ours.
Below is a picture of our Savor F1 seedlings that we will be studying as we learn how to grow melons. I started these inside during February.
One of the things I have learned about How to Grow Melons is the need for good lighting when starting seeds inside to produce transplants. If the plants do not get enough light then they grow straight and stretched out which is not good.
CULTURE: In learning How to Grow Melons it is important to know that southern exposure and sweet, light, well-drained soil is ideal. Good soil moisture is important in early stages of growth and during pollination when fruits are setting.
After this point do not water unless the soil is very dry and leaves begin to show signs of wilting in mid-day. This is important because too much water can ruin the taste.
Sometimes when you buy a melon at the store or eat some at a party, you will notice that it does not have a strong, sweet taste. This is because it received too much water while it was growing on the vine. Do not overwater your plants.
TRANSPLANTING: Sow indoors in 2-3" pots or cell-type containers in late April or one month (no sooner!) before transplanting outdoors when the weather is frost-free, warm, and settled. Plant 3 seeds per cell, about 1/4" deep.
Keep temperature 80-90°F (27-32°C) until germination. Handle young plants carefully and never let the soil dry out. Grow seedlings at 75°F (24°C). Reduce water and temperature for a week to harden seedlings.
After frost, transplant 2-3' apart in rows 6' apart or thin to 1 plant/pot or cell with scissors and transplant 18" apart. Even hardened melon seedlings are tender! Do not disturb roots when transplanting, and water thoroughly.
DIRECT SEEDING: Sow June 1, or 1-2 weeks after last frost when soil is warm, above 70°F (21°C), 3 seeds every 18", 1/2" deep, thinning to 1 plant/spot.
ROW COVERS: Since melons like consistently warm conditions, plastic mulch and row covers will make for earlier crops and better yield, especially in the North. Remove covers when plants have female flowers (tiny fruit at base of blossom).
DISEASES: Choose varieties resistant to diseases in your area. "Sudden wilt" is a complex disease and cold weather stress syndrome in late summer when plants have a heavy set of ripening melons. It causes plants to wilt almost overnight. Keep plants healthy with good fertilizer and irrigation.
INSECT PESTS: Control cucumber beetles by using fabric row covers or with botanical insecticides rotenone and/or pyrethrin.
RIPENESS: Each variety is a little different and must be learned! Most melon varieties are ready when the gray-green color begins to change to buff-yellow and when a light tug separates the fruit from the vine.
STORAGE: Store ripe netted melons at near freezing; store other melons at 45-50°F and 80% humidity 2-4 weeks.
Below are pictures of the Savor melon I harvested. My melons did not produce as they should have. I am thinking that the soil I bought as top soil was not good enough to grow vegetables and fruits in.
I now wish I had ordered in a truck load of regular soil and mixed it with some compost. But I guess that is why we call this page "How to Grow Melons".
At least there is always next year.
Anyway this melon had a deep, rich, sweet, flavorful taste, a real crowd-pleaser!
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