Muskmelons, called cantaloupes, or just lopes here in the South, are ambrosia on a vine. In fact, there is a variety called Ambrosia. It is delicious. Another taste treat is Athena. It has fast become one of my favorites.
I hope that you have planted some melons and they are filling up your garden spaces. They are going to be running six to eight feet between the rows. Heavy mulch around the roots and under the vines will conserve moisture and keep weeds down.
Melons are hot weather lovers, so plant them after the soil has warmed up in the spring. They will need about 75-90 days to mature before the first frost. My article, Grow & Harvest Summer Melons has more growing information.
You can plant them in “hills,” meaning 3 to 4 seeds in a circle. I used to think the term “hill” meant to mound the soil and plant the seeds in it. Not so, according to Dr. Powell Smith, who is a Clemson University Extension Agent. It is perfectly OK if you want to continue to plant them in raised hills. I did it for years with no ill effects to me or my melons.
Melons grow according to our spring and summer cycles. Spring rains keep the melon plants watered as they grow. Then, in late summer when rains diminish and the melons are large but not yet ripe, let them go dry between watering to increase the sweetness of the melon flesh.
If you covered your vines with row covers to keep disease and destructive insects at bay, do not forget to uncover them as soon as blossoms appear on the plants. Pollinators need to have access to the blooms or your melons will not swell into heavenly fruit.
It is easy to tell when a muskmelon aka cantaloupe is ripe. A slight tug on the stem causes a ripe melon to fall off the vine.
If you have yard turtles, you will need to put up some kind of a barrier around your melon patch. I suspect there are more than a few squirrels getting a bad rap for turtle chomping. Box turtles love muskmelons.
By Kate Karam, Monrovia,
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
It’s not only coastal gardens that have to deal with persistent winds – inland gardens at higher altitudes and those in flat, wind-prone areas get regularly battered, too. Since there’s nothing good about plants stripped of their foliage or rendered dry and desiccated by a gale force tempest, the solution might be as simple as using specimens that are just fine with it. Here are a few we recommend. But first, some advice.
Join fellow garden lovers, history buffs and music enthusiasts to discover the quaint towns and colorful gardens of Holland and Belgium in May of 2018.
This exciting journey will be hosted by nationally known host Eric Johnson, of Public Television's blockbuster show GardenSmart. Your river cruise begins in Amsterdam where you'll see works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Anne Frank's House, and see the city's most famous gardens. Then spend a full morning on the grounds of the most beautiful spring garden in the world-Keukenhof! Visit the picturesque Belgian towns of Bruges and Ghent as well as Kinderdijk, with the Netherlands' iconic collection of 19 authentic windmills that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, history buffs will experience a captivating tour of the WWI trenches of Flanders and WWII Arnhem Battlefield of A Bridge Too Far fame. You won't want to miss this extraordinary garden adventure to Holland and Belgium.
Book by November 15, 2017 and save up to $1200 dollars per person!
To register call:
Alki Tours at 800-895-2554
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