Cantaloupe Propagation Methods
Growing and propagating your cantaloupe from one season to the next requires that you save seeds, among other things. There are some helpful tips that will make the plants thrive from year to year as well. Believe it or not, you do not need a tremendous amount of room to grow cantaloupe. It is true that they will cover a large area if grown on the ground, but if trained to climb, you can grow the fruit with relatively little space. The methods for the propagation of cantaloupe involve garden bed layout, proper sowing of the seeds and/or transplanting the starts and saving seed.
Cantaloupe in the Garden
Many people are discouraged from growing cantaloupe in their home gardens due to inadequate space. However, given the right techniques, you can grow cantaloupe even in a limited area. The soil in which you plant your cantaloupe seeds or starts should be well draining and rich in nitrogen. It should also be in full sun as cantaloupe likes it hot. If you have a strip of garden bed along a fence or underneath a trellis, you can train your cantaloupe vines to climb.
As the vines begin to grow and spread out, gradually train them to climb upward rather than out. Using pieces of twine tied to a fence or trellis works well for this. Fully ripe cantaloupe is quite heavy, so as the fruit begins to mature, take old pantyhose and tie them up like a hammock to support the weight. Not only will this method keep the fruit off the ground and away from rodents and insects, it will save you quite a bit of space.
Seeds or Starts
You can sow your seeds directly in the ground 2 weeks after the last frost or start them indoors at least 2 weeks before the frosts are over. Planting outdoors, put 3 or 4 seeds in the ground every 18 inches. After they sprout, thin out all but the strongest seedling. There should be thus one hardy plant every foot and a half. Water routinely until the flowers start to fade. At that point, water only when the soil is dry or the leaves are wilting. If you follow the method of training cantaloupe vines to climb, you may have to water more frequently as the soil will dry out faster.
If you start indoors and transplant the starts, plant two every foot and a half. Later you will remove the weaker start, leaving one every 18 inches.
To save cantaloupe seeds for the next year, pick the best-looking melon from your garden. Cut it in half and remove the seeds and stringy insides and place in a colander. Run water through it until the seeds are washed off and completely clean. Place them on a plate or shallow container of some kind and put it outside to air dry. Stir the seeds from time to time, making sure that every part of them is allowed to dry. In a couple of days, the seeds will be fully dry and ready to save. Seal them in a plastic bag and label it.
Next year, grow your cantaloupe from your saved seeds only don’t use the same plot of land as disease and/or insects could spring up.
Propagating cantaloupe requires some basic gardening knowledge and a few helpful hints. Under the right conditions, the fruit will thrive in your garden, even with a limited amount of space.