Short Season Melons

Time Melon Planting

Rapidly Maturing Melons for Home Gardens

Melons, any melons, be it Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, requires extended periods of warmth to concentrate their sugars. That means sun-drenched days to produce the lush vines that produce the carbohydrates that sweetens the melons that pleases the taste buds. But they don’t need endless days of summer weather. There are Plenty of melons that can be grown in summer-starved places from Montana to Maine and into Canada by using varieties that mature in 75 – 85 days or less.

Temperature extremes can be detrimental to watermelon growth and development. The best daytime air temperature for growing melons is from 70 to 90 F. When nighttime temperatures drop below 50 F most melons tend to lose flavor. When daytime temperatures are 90 F or higher for several days The plants frequently drop flowers or simply won’t set fruit .

Watermelons require anywhere from 65 to 90 frost-free days to fully develop. Cool temperatures will damage young watermelon plants, retard their growth and reduce production. Despite all these drawbacks gardeners in cooler regions can still successfully grow Melons.[See Frost Dates].

  1. Select the Proper Variety
  2. Start Melons early , indoors
  3. Use heat retaining Plastic MulchPlastic Mulch

Select the Proper Variety

Their are some heirloom varieties of melons , and some hybrid varieties developed that will mature within a relatively short time frame.

Vert Grimpant Melon aka Green Climbing Melon, more commonly known as Vert Grimpant is a French heirloom. A vining melon that is generally grown on a trellis, but can also be sprawled. The melons themselves are relatively small as melons go, only weighing 1 – 2 lbs each.

Yellow Doll Watermelon/ 65 – 70 Days. 6 to 8 lbs. Deep green light stripes. Flesh is bright yellow. Sweet

Golden Midget Pink Watermelon. Yellow rind Maturity 70 – 80 days

Blacktail Mountain Watermelon . 70 Days – Red flesh, very sweet. Melons have a dark rind and weigh up to 12 lbs. each.

Jenny Lind Melon. Green-fleshed cantaloupe that weighs around 1 lb. Maturity 70 days.

Cream of Saskatchewan Watermelon. Super-sweet white fleshed heirloom watermelon. 4 – 10 lbs. 80 Days

Sweet Siberian Melon. Yellow-fleshed watermelon 6 – 8 lbs. 80-85 Days

If Possible – Start Melons Indoors Early

Starting your melon seeds indoors, especially in cooler climates is always advisable. About 4 weeks before the last frost date in your region is best -See Frost Dates. Use containers large enough so the plants don’t become pot bound {root bound} before transplant day.

Use Heat retaining Plastic Mulch

Using Black Plastic Mulch when growing melons in cooler climates dramatically increases not only quality but also the quantity of your melons. Soil temperature under the black plastic mulch only increases by about 5 degrees F, but the plastics surface is much warmer than the normal temperature of the soil. The heat is retained where it does the most good , under the vines.

Using black plastic also helps to retain the moisture in the soil and suppresses weeds. As the melons ripen, the black plastic will help reduce fruit spoilage by preventing the melons from coming into contact with the soil, which is a breeding ground for many soil borne plant diseases.

Red Plastic Mulchred plastic mulch will also work to better enhance growth in many varieties, the red plastic reflects red light wavelengths into the plants. This triggers the release of natural plant proteins that stimulate rapid growth and development. However – Red plastic mulch heats up rapidly in the summer sun. If the plants aren’t big enough to provide ample shade , the accumulated heat could easily scorch them.