How To Grow Melons

Plant Type: Annual
Name: Cucumis melo
Light: Full sun
Soil Type: Light, fertile, deep and well drained
Soil Temperature: 70 – 75°
ph Range: 6.0 – 7.5
Watering: Average
Plant (Payson): May 15 – June 15
Planting Method: Seed or transplant
Germination: 4 – 10 days
Transplant: After danger of frost
Plant Characteristic: Sprawling – trellising recommended
Maturity (days): 80 – 100
Common Pests: Aphid, cucumber beetle, flea beetle, squash bug,
squash vine borer
Common Diseases: Anthracnose, bacterial wilt, mosaic, powdery mildew, fusarium wilt


Melons grow prolifically if given ideal conditions. Melons are warm season crops so wait until the soil temperature is warm and since they are very frost tender plant after all danger of frost is past.

Melons require a lot of garden space, unless they are trellised. Growing them vertically, requires a strong fence or other structure to support them. A trellis for your melons will provide better air circulation and may reduce the chance of disease as well as rot caused when the fruit is on the ground. Most melons can be trellised with the exception of large watermelon, which due to its size, should not be trellised. Consider growing some of the smaller watermelons since they can be trellised. Keep in mind that the fruit can become quite heavy, so it’s a good idea to support the fruit with mesh bags, nylon stockings or similar devises. However you choose to grow them be careful to keep the fruit from sitting on wet soil. Straw under the fruit, or pieces of wood can be effective. Another trick is to use the vine itself. Melons produce a lot more vine than they use, so the vine can be folded back to support the developing fruit.


Melons prefer a loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Prepare the bed with compost and rotted manure as early as the soil can be worked in the spring.



Transplant seedlings after all danger of frost is past. Melons need warm weather to grow and set fruit. Place a small amount of all-purpose organic fertilizer close to the planting hole but not in the hole. If roots touch the fertilizer it can burn them. Place seedlings close to basal leaves and firm soil around them to keep plants upright.


Plant seeds 1 inch deep in loose, organic rich soil. Cover and firm soil over seed. Water seed bed and keep moist until seedlings emerge.

melons  top


Begin mulching as soon as seedlings emerge. Continue adding mulch as plants grow. The goal is to have 2-4 inches of mulch during the heavy growing and producing season. This reduces weed growth and helps retain moisture.


Consistent watering is best, but don’t let the soil become soggy.


All melons are heavy feeders. Add a balanced organic fertilizer when planting and add side dressings every two weeks during the growing season. Critical times for both feeding and water are when the plants begin flowering and during fruit growth.


Use of a mulch should reduce weed growth, but if weeds do invade your garden, remove them by hand as soon as you see them. Be sure you remove the root as well or it might grow back. Weeds spread easily by seed and can migrate to neighboring plots, and some weeds harbor “bad” bugs, so weed control is very important.


Anthracnose, bacterial wilt, mosaic, powdery mildew, and fusarium wilt. If your vines do not appear healthy check for bugs first and then go to the website for information about diseases and their control.


Striped & spotted cucumber beetles, aphid, flea beetle, squash bugs, sow bugs and squash vine borer


Some people can smell when melons are ready to pick, but the rest of us need a little help. Melons require constant watching when they are nearly ripe. Check both the color of the melon and the look of the stem. When fully ripe, the stem will begin to crack and look shriveled. The fruit should break away easily.

dehydrated cantaloupe


Melons are best when eaten fresh, but will keep several days in the refrigerator. Melons can also be frozen or dried and are an excellent source of Vitamins A, B, and C.

frozen melon balls

 Helpful Links

To aid in your gardening success, here are some useful, trusted links for more information on melons.

Vertical Melon Growing - How to Grow Melons on a Trellis - Gardening Know How

How to Plant & Grow Melons: A Complete Guide - GardenBeast

Melon Growing Problems: Troubleshooting - HarvesttTo Table

Please remember Payson Community Garden is an organic garden. Some of these sites may contain recommendations for non-organic products. Please see this website or Plant Fair Nursery website for a list of recommended products
that meet the organic standards of Payson Community Garden.

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