|Latin name:||Cucumis melo 'Galia F1'|
|Guarantee:||1 year growth and flowering guarantee|
|Leafs all year:||No|
|Harvesting:||August - November|
Honeydew melon seeds require no prior treatment. You could however steep the large seeds in lukewarm water for 12 hours – this encourages germination. Honeydew melon plants have male and female flowers. To encourage pollination it is advisable to plant and grow 2 or 3 at the same time. (Bumble) Bees will do the rest.
How to Sow
Honeydew melon is just like the cucumber in that it is a real heat lover. Sow indoors or in a greenhouse from mid-April. You can also use a mini greenhouse, using some fairly large turf pots filled with good potting compost, or just in a simple potting tray. A combination of seedlings, plugs and a mini greenhouse makes it very easy. Best is, if you can somehow heat your mini greenhouse from below. The seeds will germinate, no problem, if you can guarantee a temperature of at least 20 °C (day and night). Do not allow the seedlings to dry out! Plant one seed per pot - poke it into the compost to a max. 0.5 cm deep with the end of a pencil and cover with potting compost. Stand your mini greenhouse in a good spot on the windowsill.
The seeds will germinate within the week, depending on the temperature. A few days after germination, alter the humidity in the greenhouse by opening the lid. Once the seedlings reach a height of 10 cm they must become acclimatised to the normal air humidity. To do this remove the mini greenhouse lid for one hour on day one, then 2 hours on day 2 etc. After five days, they will be used to normal humidity and they can be potted up to larger pots. This will be necessary sooner than you think as the water melon is a fast grower! Allow the young plants to enjoy 20 °C for as long as possible to encourage good growth.
If you do not have a mini greenhouse, a simple seed tray covered with plastic held up with bamboo sticks will suffice. Just prick holes in the plastic to vary the humidity and allow acclimatisation.
When all chance of frost is gone and night temps are above 15°C, preferably 18°C, the honeydew melon plants can go outdoors, or into the greenhouse. Honeydew melon plants prefer well fertilised, moisture retaining clay or sandy soil so choose the warmest spot in your garden. A pot on the patio would do too. Do harden them off by allowing them to acclimatise to outdoor temps. by leaving them outdoors for an hour longer every day (out of the sun). After a week of that, pot them up into larger pots. Several per pot is fine. Then place the pots in a warm and sheltered position in full sun.
Honeydew melons have a creeping habit. If any fruits end up growing directly on the ground they are liable to rot so have some straw or black plastic handy to lie under the plants. Black plastic is also handy for warming up the soil, allowing the plant to grow quicker. A plank also helps to keep the fruit from touching soil. It is preferable to lead the shoots upwards as with gherkins if the variety is small enough (up to 1.5 kg) and allows for this. Use large holed chicken wire on a sturdy frame for this. Support the fruits in nets attached to the chicken wire.
Honeydew melons grow fast and give good results from a fertiliser like Bakker's fertiliser for flowering plants, or Bakker's Tomato Fertiliser. They really need it too! Give extra water in periods of drought. Keep the bed weed free – pull them out instead of using a hoe, to prevent root damage to your honeydew melons. This will help them grow well.
Simply cut the fruit loose with a sharp knife to harvest. A honeydew melon is ripe when the fruit gives off a really strong smell of melon, and pressing on the stem end gives a slight indentation.
Honeydew melons will stay good in the refridgerator for at least 2 weeks. Their scent is strong so do pack well in tinfoil to prevent the whole fridge from smelling of melon.
A honeydew melon is very healthy and deliciously sweet. As well as sugars, they are full of Vitamins A, B and C and also contain calcium and magnesium and phospate as well as the antioxidants Caroteen and Lycopeen.