ABOUT THE PLANT
Description: Honeydew melons are produced on long vines having 3-4 fruits per plant. The melons are large and round, with a smooth, creamy yellow rind and light green, sweet, juicy flesh. The fruits weigh between three and seven pounds.
Origin: Honeydew melons are believed to have originated either in the Middle East, Western Asia, or West Africa. They have been cultivated for thousands of years.
Usage: These melons are eaten as fresh slices, in salads, in smoothies, and as frozen desserts such as sorbets, granitas, and popsicles.
Interesting facts: Honeydew melons are just behind watermelon and cantaloupe as the most cultivated types of melon in the world.
HOW TO GROW
General requirements: Melons grow best on raised mounds (8 inches tall, 4 feet apart) or on trellises spaced 3 to 4 feet apart. Melons require plenty of heat, persistent moisture, and a long, sunny growing season of 80-90 days. They prefer lighter clay-loam soils that are rich in organic matter, well-drained, deep, and slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0-6.8. Melons are susceptible to fungal disease, so it is better to use drip irrigation, rather than overhead watering. If your soil is relatively fertile to begin with, a monthly addition of a light 5-5-5 all-purpose fertilizer will be sufficient.
In the garden: Sow the seeds directly into the garden when all danger of frost has passed for your area. Sow 3-5 seeds 1/2 inch deep. Water thoroughly and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Germination takes 7-14 days. Thin the seedlings to two plants per hill or trellis when the first two sets of true leaves appear. Add a thin layer of mulch as it will help suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. After the melons begin to mature, usually three weeks prior to harvesting, reduce watering to a level to keep the plants alive, so that more energy is given to fruit ripening rather than more leaf production.
In containers: Use a sturdy, 5-gallon container with good drainage and a high-quality potting mix. Dwarf varieties are best for container growing. Plant 2-3 seeds ½ inch deep per container. Thin the seedlings to one plant per container after the first two sets of true leaves appear. Add a thin layer of mulch as it will help suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Keep the plants in full sun at least 8 hours per day, and well-watered. Fertilize with an all-purpose 5-5-5 fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.
Transplanting: Sow seeds indoors ½ inch deep in peat pots 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Place the pots in a warm sunny window that gets at least 8 hours of sun per day, or use grow lights. Keep them well-watered. They will need to be hardened off for a week prior to transplanting into the garden when the seedlings have their first two sets of true leaves. Transplant in early spring after the last frost date. Plant two seedlings per hill or trellis and water well.
Fruits: To check for ripeness, the color of the rind should be a creamy yellow rather than green. When they are ready to harvest, use garden shears to cut them from the vine near the stem.
Seeds: Scoop the seeds from a ripe melon, rinse off any pulp, then allow to dry thoroughly. Store in an airtight container, in a cool dark place.
Common name: Honeydew melon, White Antibes melon
Latin name: Cucumis melon var. inodorus
Growth habit: Vine
Life cycle: Annual
USDA Zones: 4-11
Seeds per ounce: Approximately 1000