Hales Best Cantaloupe is a classic heirloom muskmelon. It is a reliable heavily netted melon that produces a slightly ribbed 1.8-2.7 kg (4-6 lb) melon that is on average 17 cm (7”) long and 15 cm (6”) in diameter. The juicy salmon orange flesh is simply delicious with a strong fruity scent. The melons are mostly fleshy with a small seed cavity. They are produced on strong vining plants that can reach 1.5 m (5’) long and about 30 cm (12”) high. This classic heirloom has stood the test of time and has just recently returned as a favorite melon for gardeners to grow.
Direct sow seeds in the garden after the last frost date, or start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date for your area. Select a location with full sun exposure and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Sow seeds 1-2cm (½-1”) deep, spaced 60-90cm (24-36”) apart in rows spaced 1.5-2m (5-6.5ft) apart. Keep the soil moist and warm (21-27°C/70-80°F) to promote germination. Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days. Thin seedlings to one strong plant every 60-90cm (24-36”) when they have developed their first true leaves. Cantaloupe plants prefer consistent moisture throughout the growing season, so water deeply once a week, or more often during periods of drought. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing season. As the fruit develops, support it with a sling or soft material to prevent it from breaking off the vine. Harvest cantaloupe when the fruit has turned fully ripe and has a sweet aroma. Cantaloupe typically matures 80-100 days after planting.
Soil Conditions: Well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Soil pH: 6.0-6.8 Planting Depth: Sow seeds 1-2cm (½-1”) deep. Germination: 7-14 days. Height at Maturity: 20-30cm (8-12”) tall, 1.5-2m (5-6.5ft) wide. Days to Maturity: 80-100 days. Watering: Keep soil moist and provide consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Sun/Shade: Full sun. Spacing after Thinning: Thin seedlings to one strong plant every 60-90cm (24-36”).