Grow melons in the greenhouse

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A juicy melon is a treat on hot summer days - especially if it is not from the supermarket, but from its own harvest. Because melons can also be grown in our fields - provided you have a greenhouse and plenty of room.

The word "melon" comes from the Greek and means "big apple". But melons do not belong to the fruit, but to the family of the cucurbits and are cultivated, just like these, once a year. Watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) are at home in Central Africa and even newer varieties only grow in protected greenhouse cultivation. Most of the fruits, which are botanically referred to as "tank berries", dark green and round globular, striped at most oval and light green. For some years now, you can also find fruits with almost seedless yellow flesh. Sugar melons (Cucumis melo) are from Asia. Here we show you how to successfully cultivate the popular fruits yourself.

Step by step: grow melons

Sow melons

Young plants melons in the greenhouse

Sow melon seeds individually (left). Plant the melon seedlings (right) into a greenhouse

The seeds are sown individually in small pots with seed soil four to six weeks before the planting date. Place them in a bright, warm place and keep the soil evenly moist. The optimum germination temperature is 22 to 25 degrees. Plant the seedlings in the middle of May at a distance of 80 to 100 centimeters into the greenhouse. Before, the soil is supplied with plenty of compost. You can grow the plants on strings or trellises to save space or spread out flat.

Melon plant

Cultivation of melons in the greenhouse

Melon plant (left). Per plant you should allow a maximum of six fruits to ripen (right)

June bathing, when the plants have three to four leaves, promotes the formation of female flowers. The cotyledons are also removed to promote ventilation near the bottom. In summer, you cut off all the side shoots regularly behind the fourth sheet. Per plant you should allow a maximum of six melons to ripen, the rest is removed. Bed the fruit on straw so that it does not rot on the moist, humus-rich soil in the greenhouse. From August, the melons are ready for harvest.

Recognize ripe melons

Recognizing the maturity of melons is not easy. Basically, melons are ripe 90 to 110 days after sowing. Because the color of the peel does not change during maturation with watermelons, the "knock test" is a clue. Ripe fruits make a dull sound when you knock on it. Sometimes the leaves turn yellow near the fruit, the shoot dries up and the support surface of the melon turns from white to yellow. Cracks around the stem indicate maturity. Cantaloupe melons (for example Charentais or Ogen melon) have a ribbed or smooth shell, net melons (for example Galia) have a ribbed or reticulated. These sugar melons are ready for picking when their shells turn yellow and an annular crack forms around the stem. The ripe for consumption is reached when the stalk completely dissolves from the fruit and small sugar droplets escape from cracks at the stem end.

Cultivation tip: Charentais melons

Charentais melon

The maturity of Charentais melons can be recognized by the scent

In southern France, it is considered the queen of melons: The Charentais is indeed the smallest among the sugar melons - the intense, sweet aroma of juicy fruits is unique. Cultivation experiments of the LVG Heidelberg have also shown that varieties such as 'Gandalf', 'Fiesta' and 'Cezanne' are relatively cold-tolerant: They also bring good quality in this country, if you prefer in the pot on the bright windowsill and from mid-May in the unheated Culture house cultivated.

Video Board: Growing melons vertically in a greenhouse.

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