Cucumis melo aka casabanana, casabanana melon allthough not to be confused with true Casabanana Melon, a different species alltogether.
USDA Zones: 3-9
Soil pH: 6.5 to 6.7
Minimum Soil Temperature for Germination 70 - 75 F - Germination in 8-10 days
Minimum Temp for Transplant [after hardening] 70 degrees F
Seed Depth for Direct seeding 1/2 to 3/4 Inch
Growth Habit - Vining
Plant Spacing 2 - 3 ft.
Row Spacing 4 - 6 ft.
Maturity 90 Days
The banana melon has the appearance of a really big banana but its actually a muskmelon, a sister of cantaloupe and cousin of cucumber. It not only looks like a banana but also has a hint of banana taste coupled with cantaloupe, as well as a hint of banana aroma. It has a salmon-colored flesh, much like cantaloupe and a yellow rind.
It is a vining warm season plant, the banana melon yields tasty elongated melons averaging 5 to 8 pounds each and up to 25 inches long.
Location - full sunlight and well-drained soil is best. A 2-inch layer of compost or dry manure should be worked into the soil over the planting area to about a depth of 6 inches.
Seeding Seeds should be sown when the soil has reached 70 - 75 degrees F and the danger of frost is long past, you can also start them indoors in peat pots about 3 weeks prior to placing in the outside soil. Like most other melons they grow well in hills or mounds, so prepare one or more circular beds about 3 feet in diameter. Make mounds at least 3 feet apart.
If direct seeding plant 4 to 6 seeds per hill, forming a circle ,seeds should be one inch deep. You can thin the seedlings once they have 2 sets of true leaves, assuming you've had a good germination rate, if not thinning wouldn't be necessary. You should be leaving at least two well formed healthy plants per mound.
Soil - Fertilizer
A Soil pH of 6.5 to 6.7 is optimal, as low as 6.2 is acceptable. For optimal fruit production, avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers.
Companion Planting Avoid planting banana melon near it's relatives, which are other melons, squash cucumbers, and pumpkins, so as to avoid cross pollination and disease-pest sharing.
Water the melons bi weekly allowing the water to seep into the soil until the top 1/2 foot of soil is thoroughly wet. Watering in the morning is advisable so the foliage is wet for the least time possible - this helps prevent fungal diseases. You might also want to consider a Drip Irrigation System. In late Summer water the melons less frequently ,this encourages the fruit to mature and reduces the risk of cracking melons.
Mulch modestly around the banana melons, this will help suppress weeds as well as retain soil moisture. However, too much moisture on these plants is not a good thing - so as said - mulch modestly. You can prevent the melons from rotting on the soil by propping them up. I usually use old egg cartons and sometimes boards inserted between the ripening melons and the damp soil, a brick will also suffice.
Harvest banana melons after about 90 days, although this varies among some sub cultivars as well as due to growing conditions.
When the melons pulls easily off the vine they are generally ready. Banana melons quickly turn yellow in a short time as it ripens. You can also check the stem of each fruit for dryness. Ripe fruits have a dry stem that is brown and somewhat shriveled.