These melons rock and are easy to grow
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.