I'd like to be able to grow a melon. I do fine with tomatoes, peas, corn,
strawberries, blueberries and beans but I've never been able to get a
melon to grow.
I live in Massachusetts, near the New Hampshire border so I have a short
growing season. Has anyone been able to get a melon to grow around here?
I'd like a suggestion for a variety suited to this climate and tips on how
to handle it.
I see why you have had trouble in the past, your season is short and not
very warm. I cannot help with a quick growing melon but I do have one other
trick that you may not have seen. If you haven't tried this before it will
give you several weeks head start in spring.
Conventional wisdom is that you should sow cucurbits directly and not
transplant them because they are susceptible to transplant shock and are
often set back considerably by transplanting. However, you can transplant
them without problems if you do it without disturbing the root ball.
The best seedling container for them is the plastic tubes that are used for
tube stock. These are about 15 cm (6in) high, and 5cm (2in) across and
taper towards the bottom. The ones with square cross section are better
than the round ones as the roots don't go round and round. Sow one seed per
tube in soil heavier than normal seed raising mix, these are big strong
seeds and will deal with this quite well, the reason is to form a coherent
root ball. Sow more than you need so you can choose the strongest
Keep them in your hothouse, coldframe or whatever, once the cotyledons open
they will need bright light and some sun. Plant them out after the last
frost. They will come out of the tube with the root ball (well the root
truncated square pyramid) intact and slip straight into your prepared plot
with no shock. This will work for melons, cucumbers or any other cucurbit.
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