Hales Best cantaloupe has been a favorite melon of gardeners for over 100 years. The relatively small melons typically weigh 5 pounds or more, growing off plants that can stretch to a width of 5 feet. The fruit itself is noted for its succulence and sweetness, and is virtually synonymous with backyard barbeques, endless sunny afternoons, and all other summer rites.
As they require a long growing season, melons are best started indoors approximately 3 weeks prior to the last frost of the season. Sow seeds ½" deep in flats or small pots, sowing 3 seeds per pot. Keep medium moist while awaiting germination. Additionally, melon seeds will show better germination rates with heat. Keep the soil between 80-90 degrees, using a heat mat if necessary.
Once seeds start to germinate, lower soil temp slightly to the mid 70s, for 1-2 weeks, also decreasing water. Thin to one plant per cell or pot. Once the first set of true leaves has developed, reduce waterings once more, but do not allow plant to become desiccated.
Harden plant by gradually exposing to outdoor conditions. Transplant to permanent site in late spring after the last frost has passed. If possible, transplant on an overcast day to minimize wilting and create a more amenable environment for your young plant.
If you have long, hot growing seasons, melons can direct-seed into garden. To ensure ripening in areas with shorter growing seasons and cooler weather, choose fast-maturing varieties, start plants inside, use black or IRT plastic mulch to warm soil and use fabric row covers to protect plants.
Direct-seed 1 to 2 weeks after average last frost when soil is 70 F or warmer. Plant ½ inch deep, 6 seeds per hill, hills 4 to 6 feet apart; or 1 foot apart in rows 5 feet apart. Can plant at closer spacings if trellised. Thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill.
Choosing a Site
Prefers warm, well-drained, soil, high in organic matter with pH 6.5 to 7.5. Consistent, plentiful moisture needed until fruit is about the size of a tennis ball. Soil temperatures below 50 F slow growth. Consider using black plastic and fabric row covers to speed soil warming. Sandy or light-textured soils that warm quickly in spring are best.
In many areas, successful crops require starting plants indoors, using plastic mulch to warm soil, and fabric row covers to protect young transplants.
Grown in Tennessee.
Planting Guide included. Ships in padded envelope.
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Mar 31, 2021
Oct 27, 2020
The product came well packaged and with excellent instructions.