Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature: 70°-80°F
Direct-sow at least 2 weeks after the danger of frost has passed and both the weather and soil are reliably warm. Melons are heavy feeders: amend soil with fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure. Plant 3 seeds per hill, with hills 2' to 3' apart in full sunlight. Thin to the strongest seedlings. The preferred planting method is to grow as transplants: sow seed singly in pots in sterile starter mix, 4 to 6 weeks before planting out. Grow in a warm greenhouse or under grow lights. Gradually accustom seedlings to sunlight before the third leaf has fully matured and plant in the garden after the last frost date. (If seedlings are kept in pots too long, it stunts their growth.)Water regularly, fertilizing as needed with kelp or fish emulsion. As Melons reach maturity, gradually withhold water and then cease watering to prevent rind splitting. Harvest when Melons slip easily off the stem.
The Nose Knows
Small and green, a Charentais Melon can look unripe to unaccustomed eyes. When it is ready to pick, the flesh takes on just a bit of a tan or golden cast, but it’s the delicious scent that truly says “Go”. The fruit may also have split slightly at the bottom end--another good sign. If you’ve never tasted a Charentais, you have a rare treat ahead.
When is a Melon Ripe?
Many Melon varieties are ripe at what is called "full slip" - that is, when you can sever the Melon from the stem by lightly pushing it off with your thumb. But this rule of thumb is not trustworthy for certain melon types, the Middle Eastern 'Galia' type being one of them. In this case, we turn up our noses. When the Melon smells ripe, it is. Pressing the blossom end slightly will help to release that seductive aroma.
Our Pollinators are in Peril
Deer Resistant Seed Varieties