Growing Honeydew Melons: Big Vines and Explosive Flavors
Honeydew melons are members of the cucurbit family: cucumbers, summer squash and winter, pumpkins, zucchini and squash. Melons have the same growth needs as squash, pumpkins and cucumbers.
The flavor and quality of melons is dependent upon the sugar content of the fruit. Higher sugar content can be reached by making sure melons get enough moisture, and preventing weeds and insects.
Melons can be started from seed inside for transplants or started with seed directly in the ground after last frost.
To start with seed soil needs to be around 60° - 90°F for adequate germination to occur. Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1 inch. There should be 18 - 24 inches between seeds and 4 – 6 feet between rows.
Seeds for transplants need to be started inside approximately 3 weeks before the date they will be placed in the ground. The plants should not be transplanted until they have a few leaves and roots are strong. The seedlings should be planted with 2 feet of space between them. Care should be taken with the roots during the transplanting process or the melons may not mature properly.
Honey Yellow is a super sweet variety with yellow skin and orange flesh. The plants produce melons that weigh from 2 – 2.5 pounds.
Honeydew Green Flesh is a sweet and aromatic variety with smooth skin and a pale greenish gold color. This variety has bright green flesh that does not soften as early as some varieties.
A direct and steady spray of water will displace aphids from the plants. This should be done before the sun is directly overhead so plants will not be scorched.
Squash Vine Borers can be picked off the plants manually and destroyed. It is important to destroy any leftover plant debris if borers are present.
Striped Cucumber Beetles may attack new seedlings. They can spread bacterial wilt to melons and need to be managed at first sight. These beetles can be prevented by tenting the plants with a netted material. Be sure to remove the tents before temperatures climb above 80°F.
Honeydew melons can be kept up for as long as two weeks if kept a temperature of 50°F. If refrigerated, the melons should not be sliced until they are ready to be eaten.
Melon flesh may be chopped, then blended or pureed, and frozen for use throughout out the winter in smoothies and in some cold desserts. Melon preserved this way may also be used to make ice cream.