Cantaloupes are one of the best fruits for the summer season! If you too like it, then here’s everything on How to Grow Muskmelon!
Kharbooja is a warm-season fruit that grows on vines. It has a musky aroma, yellow rind, and sweet, orange flesh. If you like the fruit and want to harvest it fresh then what could be better than growing your own! Have a look at How to Grow Muskmelon in detail below!
Check out our article on growing a Mango Tree here
Best Varieties for Containers
For container gardening, go for the dwarf or small varieties like ‘little sweetie’ and ‘serenade’. They are easy to grow and harvest in a relatively lesser time too!
How to Grow Muskmelon
You can grow it from seeds in garden beds or even pots. Directly sow the seeds in the garden or a container. They will germinate in 7-10 days. Though you can propagate the muskmelon from seeds, it would be a wise idea to get a healthy plant from a local nursery.
Requirements for Growing Muskmelon
It requires well-draining, loose, and highly fertile soil with a 6-7 pH level. Amend the garden soil with a good amount of well-rotted manure or compost to ensure better results.
The plant thrives best in the temperature range of 20-32 C. If the temperature exceeds 32 C, chances are high that the flowers will drop off without setting the fruit, so save it from the harsh afternoon sun of Indian summer.
The plant requires consistently moist soil until the pollination – water it regularly to keep the soil consistently moist. Once the fruits are set and attain the size of a tennis ball, then reduce the watering rate. Reach for the can only when you feel the topsoil is a bit dry to touch.
Note: Avoid wetting the leaves, as it invites fungal growth.
Melon needs plenty of light and warmth to thrive successfully. So, choose a bright location that receives 4-5 hours of full sunlight daily. Low light will cause less fruiting.
Care Tips for Muskmelon
You can use balanced liquid fertilizer like 10-10-10 during the growth period. Avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizer as it may prompt foliage growth but will result in fewer fruits.
Cut some of the end buds from the vine – it will lead to good quality fruits with a larger size.
Mulch the soil with a layer of organic matter like straw, bark layer, grass clippings, or shredded leaves. The mulch will reduce the water evaporation from the soil and will also suppress weed growth.
The muskmelon vines need support to climb, so use trellis, or fences to train them. The trellis keeps the vine and fruits above the soil level, saves space, and also prevents the fruits from dropping and rotting.
To set fruits, the plant asks for pollinators, so you can naturally invite them by growing herbs like dill, or bee balm to attract the bees around.
You can harvest the plant after 80-90 days from seeding. It takes 40-45 days to ripen the fruit after the pollination. Higher temperatures will lead to a short ripening time.
To check if the fruit is ready to harvest, see if the rind has changed its color from green to yellow, and the fruit is giving out a musky aroma. Also, once the fruit is ripe, the stem will be easily separated from the vine by plucking. If you have to exert a lot of force to pluck the stem, then give it some more to ripe.