Gardening can be a rewarding and relaxing activity to take on, whether it’s in your backyard or on your balcony. One of the best (and tastiest!) fruits to grow is melons.
Growing melons in containers brings a touch of nature into even the smallest of gardens. Whether you’re looking for something that fits on your balcony or patio or want the convenience of growing melons without needing acres of land, this step-by-step guide is here. Learn how to grow delicious and abundant fruit from the comfort of your home!
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you need to grow tasty melons in containers:
- Melon seeds
How to Grow Melons in Containers
Container-growing melons lets you enjoy all the benefits of home gardening without needing a dedicated garden plot. These are some best tips for how to get started.
Step One – Choose Your Container
When it comes to growing cantaloupe, container choice is key! The best containers for planting cantaloupe seeds are at least 18 inches wide and deep. Doing this helps to ensure that the melon has enough room to grow and mature properly.
Make sure you pick out a container with good drainage holes so the soil doesn’t become waterlogged and your plants don’t suffer from root rot. Alternatively, you can grow your melons in 5 to 7-gallon grow bags. Grow bags have the added benefit of allowing excess water to drain easily.
Step Two – Prepare the Soil
To get your soil ready, test it to determine its pH levels, which will tell you how acidic or alkaline it is. Testing is crucial because melons need a slightly acidic environment with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 for optimal growth. Soil with a lower pH can produce yellow leaves and no fruit!
After testing the soil, start preparing it for planting time by adding loose and rich potting mix or a combination of soil, peat (or coconut coir), and compost or well-rotted manure to give your melons the nutrients they need.
Pro-Tip: Avoid using fresh manure as it contains toxic bacteria and could lead to increased weed development.
Step Three – Plant Your Seeds
Most melons do well grown in containers, however, smaller varieties may fair better than others. Look for smaller cultivars such as Minnesota Midget.
Waiting until after the last frost date in your area will ensure you get optimal growth out of your melon plants! Plant three or four seeds into a container and thin them out once you see significant growth.
Melons thrive best in moist soil, so monitor the moisture level. Don’t let it dry out, but be careful not to overwater because that can rot the roots of your plants.
Step Four – Don’t Forget To Water
Correctly watering your melons can make a big difference in the fruit’s quality you harvest. To keep your melons healthy and delicious, water deeply but infrequently. Usually, 1 to 2 inches per week is enough.
Use an irrigation system like a drip hose, or carefully water the soil directly, so the leaves stay dry. Avoid using a sprinkler or spraying them with a hose, as this can damage the plants and cause fungal diseases such as powdery mildew.
When watering, soak the soil so that all parts of your plant get an even drink. As your fruits ripen, gradually reduce how much you water them to improve flavor; too much water in the last two weeks could cause them to split!
Step Five – Add A Trellis
As your melon plants start to vine out from the container, provide some support to keep the fruits off the ground and away from pests. You can train the vines up and away from the ground using a trellis or other structures like a fence. Additionally, trellising prevents vine crowding and guarantees optimal air circulation and light penetration.
Step Six – Time To Harvest
It’s time to harvest your melons! Telltale signs that your honeydew or watermelon are ready to pick are that the leaves nearest to the fruit have turned yellow, the tendrils are brown and dry, and the surface of the melon is tough. The color of the fruit will also dull. The bottom, where it lies on the soil, should be a light yellowish green instead of a bright light green.
For cantaloupe and muskmelon, locate the tendrils on the stem of the melon. If they have dried and turned brown, the fruit is at its peak maturity. Also, check the background color of the melon. If it has changed from green to yellow and lost its shine, this indicates that the fruit is ripe.
Additionally, a ripe melon will have coarse netting on its skin surface. Gently twist the fruit off of the vine until it breaks away.
Get ready for some sweet, juicy melon goodness when you see these signs!
One in a Melon!
Now that you’ve armed yourself with all the tips and tricks you need to grow melons in containers, it’s time to get out there and try it! Whether you have a green thumb or are just starting your gardening journey, growing melons at home is a fun and rewarding experience.
Take care of your plants and water them regularly. Before long, you’ll be harvesting ripe and juicy melons right from your backyard. Have any questions or want to share your own advice? Leave a comment below, and happy gardening!