Home grown melons have that taste of pure magical sweetness that is so sadly missing in the mass cultivated melons sold in bazaars. What is more, sweet melons and watermelons are, thanks to the conducive climate, one of the easiest and fastest fruits to grow – whether or not you have an actual garden.
Grown in the ground, melons, of all kinds, require very rich soil and perform best if grown on a slightly raised mound of either pure organic compost (covered over with just an inch or so of soil), or a mound of old, well rotted organic manure, with just a three inch deep pocket of soil on the very top, in which to plant a single seed.
Mounds with a diameter of three feet and a central height of six inches are ideal for sweet melons, and of four feet and eight inches respectively for watermelons. They are best located three to four feet apart so that these fast growing plants have plenty of room to ramble.
The reason for growing them on mounds is for drainage purposes as, although they need lots of water on a daily basis, if the area where the plant stem emerges from the soil gets too wet, the plants will rot and die.
Melons can also be grown in very large clay pots or other large containers having a depth of two to three feet so that the roots have plenty of room to grow. The same soil mix should be used as for growing them in the ground and the mound rising above the pot/container rim; this will aid essential drainage.
Melons are serious sun lovers; the central growing tip of each plant should be nipped out after the plant has developed six leaves. This encourages the plant to send out lots of side-shoots and thus produce lots of delectable melons for the table. Regular spraying with organic seaweed solution boosts plant health and fights mildew.
– B Khan
First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 5, 2013.