These melons rock and are easy to grow

Central and North Burnett Times - - GARDEN - with Angie Thomas Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates.

ROCKMELONS or can­taloupes are one of sum­mer’s favourite fruits, adding colour and fra­grant sweet­ness to a fruit salad or com­bined with pro­sciutto for a gourmet sweet and savoury treat.

If you’re en­joy­ing rockmelons this sum­mer, con­sider grow­ing some at your place. In the trop­ics and sub­trop­ics, rock­melon seed can be sown year round, though per­form best from March sow­ings when con­di­tions are drier.

In tem­per­ate and cool ar­eas, start sow­ing seeds in early to mid spring. You can get a head start by sow­ing seeds ear­lier in trays of seed-rais­ing mix, ready to plant out the seedlings af­ter any chance of frost has passed. Rock­melon plants should be about 1m apart and are a great com­pan­ion plant for grow­ing un­der­neath corn. If you are short on space, try grow­ing rockmelons up a trel­lis and sup­port the de­vel­op­ing fruit with net­ting bags or panty­hose.

Be­fore di­rect sow­ing seeds or plant­ing out seedlings, mix some fer­tiliser into the soil, which will help to in­crease the soil’s or­ganic mat­ter con­tent (which im­proves soil mois­ture-hold­ing ca­pac­ity).

ROCK­MELON DIS­EASE WATCH: Like other plants in the cu­cur­bit fam­ily, rockmelons can be sus­cep­ti­ble to dis­eases such as downy mildew and leaf spots. Downy mildew symp­toms in­clude yel­low­ing and mot­tled fo­liage and leaf spots start as yel­low spots on up­per leaf sur­faces, pro­gress­ing to brown spots with a yel­low halo. Spot dis­eases can also in­fect the fruit. Downy mildew and leaf spot dis­eases are more com­mon dur­ing pe­ri­ods of wet, warm or hu­mid weather. Use a fungi­cide to pre­vent and con­trol dis­ease.


Rockmelons are a sum­mer favourite.

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