How To Plant Muskmelon Seeds: Care & Harvesting

Native to central Asia in Persia (Iran), Muskmelon is a popular fruit that is both commercial and homegrown. Muskmelons come in edible green and orange flesh. Muskmelon seeds are easy to grow; they can be grown indoors or outdoors depending on the intent of growing and the available place.

Muskmelon seeds are commonly grown on terraces and gardens. Hale’s Best Jumbo, Hearts of Gold, and Rocky Ford are the most common varieties of muskmelon seeds that grow well in the home garden. The procedures of planting muskmelon seeds are the same as other crops, however, some underlying principles have to be considered.

Seeds Preparation

Muskmelon Seeds
Fresh muskmelon seeds

One of the most important steps when growing muskmelon seeds is the seed treatment done before planting. Doing this ensures good germination rates and healthy plants. The pre-seed treatment and preparation are:

-Seed Viability: Testing the viability of the muskmelon seeds helps to reduce economic losses and crop failure. Inspect the seeds to ensure they are free from any physical defects such as cracks, mold, or insect damage. Place the seeds in a bowl of water and discard the ones that float, as those likely won’t germinate.

-Soaking: This is a seed preparation method that ensures fast germination of the muskmelon seeds. You should Soak muskmelon seeds in a wet tissue overnight before planting. This softens the seed coat and hastens the germination process.

These seed treatment and preparation procedures increase the chances of germination and survival rate of muskmelon seeds after planting.

Related: 3 Simple Methods of Carrying Out Seed Viability Test

Growing muskmelon Seeds Directly

Muskmelons grow best in warm, humid climates; it prefers well-drained sandy loam soil with a pH range between 6.5 and 7. The soil temperature should be at 70 degrees F.

Musk melon is a sun-loving plant. It is very important to carry out proper land preparation on the soil; muskmelon melon grows best on beds or ridges. This will allow easy rooting and reduction in pest infestation.

Sow muskmelon seeds at ½ inch deep with a spacing 5 inches apart. Watering is done immediately after planting the seeds. You need to ensure you are not overwatering the soil; you only need to achieve damp soil and not waterlogged soil. muskmelon seeds start growing after day 5 of planting.

Growing muskmelon Seeds in Pots

Growing muskmelons in pots guarantees a good yield as well as a low incidence of pests and diseases. You can be sure your muskmelons will be adequately fed the required nutrients for their productive growth. To successfully plant muskmelon seeds in pots, you need:

  • A garden pot
  • Potting mix
  • Watering can

The garden pot should be at least 14 inches wide and perforated to avoid waterlogged situations and better aeration. Plant muskmelon seeds at a depth of ½ inch in nutrient-rich potting soil. Cover the seeds and water immediately. In addition to adequate watering, muskmelons need ample sunlight. They need about eight hours of direct sunlight every day.

Harvesting and Storage

Muskmelons are ready for harvesting after 90 days of planting. Ripe muskmelons naturally separate from their vines; a slight tug from the vines using the thumb will easily detach muskmelons from their vines. The muskmelon fruit is not ripe if it has to be forcibly separated from its vine

muskmelon fruits
Mature muskmelon fruits

One of the signs that muskmelons are ready for harvest is the color change, some varieties appear darker or brighter in color when they’re ready to pick. Usually, ripe muskmelons have an ivory-yellow color. A sweet aroma is also an indication of muskmelon’s maturity.

After harvesting, muskmelons must be handled carefully to avoid bruising during handling and transportation. Before storage, clean harvested muskmelons by using a clean wipe to remove any trapped dirt or debris. Muskmelons can be stored in a cool place, or the refrigerator.

Common pests and diseases of muskmelons

Muskmelons are susceptible to various diseases and pests while growing up; the notable ones are:

-Powdery mildew: Muskmelons are prone to powdery mildew; it is a fungal disease that is characterized by the appearance of white, powdery growth on the leaves, stems, and fruit of affected plants. Fungicides for powdery mildew are available in stores.

Powdery mildew on muskmelon leaves
Powdery mildew on muskmelon leaves

-Bacterial wilt: Some muskmelons are prone to bacterial wilt. If you want to protect muskmelons from bacterial wilt, try to avoid overwatering them. Using reflective mulch and improving air circulation is important to minimize disease pressure.

-Rusty leaf disease is another important threat to muskmelons. The disease is seed-borne and often affects the underside of leaves and tender shoots. Fortunately, a good control strategy includes rotating crops and monitoring for unusual symptoms.

-Leaf spot: Leaf spot disease is another serious problem in muskmelons. The disease begins as small, yellowish spots that spread into large, necrotic patches. The patches may be surrounded by a chlorotic area, and they may also be brittle and cracked.

Pests: Cucumber beetles are another major problem of Muskmelon; they feed on the stems and leaves of the plant and transmit a bacterial disease. Cucumber beetles and their larvae can burrow into the developing Muskmelon fruit. Aphids are another common pest that may attack muskmelon and result in low yield. Raccoons and groundhogs are notable vertebrate pests of muskmelon fruits.

Organic pesticides can effectively control insect pests; they are safe and pose no harm to the environment. Also, Pest traps can put an end to the menace of vertebrate pests. Chemical control of insects can’t completely prevent the outbreak of muskmelons. Keeping the area free of weeds is essential as these insects often migrate between plants.

Related: Use The Principles Of Crop Rotation To Control Crop Pests And Diseases

Read also: How To Take Care Of Muskmelon Plant

End Notes,

Good growth of the Muskmelons seeds is dependent on several factors such as the environmental conditions and care after planting. Proper control of pests and diseases can ensure increased yield of the Muskmelons. The source of the Muskmelon seeds also determines the survival and performance of the seeds. Ensure you buy your seeds from a reputable source.  

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