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When to Plant Melons

Melon seedlings

Plant melon seeds directly in the garden 2 weeks after the last frost date. Start transplants 2 to 4 weeks before setting out, which can be done 4 weeks after the last frost.

Plant late and early varieties at the same time to provide a succession harvest of melons over a month-long period.

Grow melons in light, fertile, sandy, or loamy soil rich in organic matters. Avoid heavy, poorly draining soils.

Save space by training vining varies up a fence or other support. Tie branches with a soft cloth and support melons with slings.

Types of Melons

Summer melons include true cantaloupes and muskmelons. These come to harvest in about 3 months toward the end of summer.

Winter melons include casaba, Charentai, Crenshaw, honeydew, and Persian which take 3 to 4 months to reach harvest. These are usually ready until late autumn or early winter.

Melon sprouts growing in the vegetable garden
Melon sprouts growing in the vegetable garden

Melon planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Feb. 15-Mar. 15
Feb. 8Feb. 15-Apr. 1
Feb. 18Feb. 15-Apr. 15
Feb. 28Mar. 1-Apr. 15
Mar. 10Mar. 15-Apr. 15
Mar. 20Apr. 1-May 1
Mar. 30Apr. 10-May 15
Apr. 10Apr. 20-June 1
Apr. 20May 1-June 15
Apr. 30May 15-June 15
May 10June 1-15
May 20 
May 30 
June 10 
Young melon plant in full growth on plastic sheeting warming the soil
Young melon plant in full growth on plastic sheeting warming the soil

Melon planting details

  • Sowing depth: ½ -1 ½ inches (12mm) or slightly more
  • Space between plants after thinning: 2-6 feet (30-45cm)
  • Days to sprout: 4-10
  • Days to harvest: 70-120
  • Storage period: 2 weeks refrigerated
  • Seeds per 100-row feet: 1 ounce
  • Suggested varieties: ‘Charentais’ (true cantaloupe), ‘Ambrosia’ and ‘Sweet ‘n Early’ (muskmelon), ‘Burpee’ Early Hybrid’ (Crenshaw), ‘Honey Pearl’ (honeydew), ‘Casaba Golden Beauty’ (Casaba).

More melon growing articles:

How to Grow Melons

How to Grow Watermelons

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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