86 days. If a big melon is what you're after, Superstar is the one for you. Tipping the scales at 6-8 pounds apiece, these lusciously flavorful and tantalizingly aromatic fruit are among the biggest we offer. Traditional cantaloupe-colored flesh is thick, dense, and sweet with plenty to go around. Plants bear high yields of the round, heavily netted fruit with deep sutures. F.
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|Seed Depth||Seed Spacing||Soil Temp for Germ.||Days to Germ.||Thin Plants To||Approximately 20-40 seeds per gram.|
|1/2″||2-3 per hill||70-85°F||3-10||1 per hill|
Melons: Cucumis melo
Watermelons: Citrullus lanatus
The sweet succulence of summer-ripe melons is irresistibly tempting, but the health benefits of these luscious fruits shouldn't be overlooked. Look to red-fleshed melons to fortify the heart and urinary tract. Yellow and orange flesh types provide support to the immune system, heart and vision. Green-fleshed varieties promote strong bones and teeth as well as vision health. We've selected varieties that are successful in both southern and northern gardens.
CULTURE: All types of melons can be direct sown in warmer regions, but will yield a much better crop if started indoors about 3 weeks prior to your last frost. We recommend planting in raised beds covered with green, silver, or black plastic mulch. This method produces better yields.
FOR TRANSPLANTS: Fill 3-4 inch, individual pots with sterile seedling mix. Plant 2-3 seeds per pot. Thin the pots to the best single plant after the seedlings are well established. Grow the seedlings under dry, warm conditions until they develop at least 1 true leaf. Transfer to cold frame if you have one. Fertilize seedlings with a fertilizer such as 2-1-1 Earth Juice Grow (ZFE245). Transplant into the garden just before the plants become root bound and when the soil temperature is at least 60°F. Space transplants 3-4 feet apart in rows 5-6 feet apart. Apply 1/2 cup of our complete fertilizer dug in well around each plant.
TO DIRECT SOW: Soil temperature must be above 70°F for decent germination. Like most vine crops, melon and watermelon seeds require even moisture levels to prevent rotting. The soil should be moist to the touch. Space and fertilize as you would transplants. Watermelon seeds are less tolerant of cool conditions than cantaloupe. They are best adapted to the warmer, longer season areas of the US. In more difficult climates, the use of plastic mulch is highly recommended. Plastic mulches increase the soil temperature and air temperature close to the plants during the day, and using a floating row cover like Reemay or Gro-Therm can also increase your success. Monitor the temperature under the row covers on hot days especially early in the season.
DISEASES: Select disease-resistant melon varieties, as bacterial wilt and powdery mildew are common problems. Watermelons are subject to several wilts, and fungal and viral diseases. Most can be controlled with good soil management, proper rotation, garden sanitation, and by not using overhead watering methods.
INSECTS/PESTS: Control insects, especially cucumber beetles, with Pyrethrin or a floating row cover.
HARVEST: Cantaloupe will easily slip from the vine when ripe. With other melons, check the leaf where the fruit is attached to the vine. The fruit is mature when this leaf begins to yellow. Watermelons are ready for harvest when the tendril closest to the fruit is dry and brown or when the bottom side of the fruit is yellow. Melons and watermelons will not ripen off the vine. Pick in the cool of the day and chill quickly. Store melons at 35°F and 95% relative humidity. Store watermelons at 45°F and 85% relative humidity.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 80%. Usual seed life: 3 years. Days to maturity: from date of transplanting. Add 10-15 days if direct seeding.
KEY TO MELON DISEASE RESISTANCE AND TOLERANCE
A | Anthracnose
AB | Early (Alternaria) Blight
F* | Fusarium Wilt
PM* | Powdery Mildew
*Numbers indicate specific disease race.