Summertime Melons in the Garden
What we call cantaloupes are really muskmelons. True cantaloupes are hard-shelled melons from Europe. Honeydew melons are different from muskmelons in that the skin is smooth, the flesh is green, and the scent is markedly different. Unlike muskmelons, honeydews can be stored for up to a month. Muskmelons stop ripening after being picked from the vine, but honeydews will continue to ripen a bit, though vine-ripening is best.
In cool areas, black plastic mulch can be used to warm the soil and keep weeds down. Melons use a lot of water while they are growing, but taste best if ripened under drier conditions. Set ripening fruit on a soft bed of straw, or a coffee can to keep moisture from damaging the fruit. Melons also grow well on a trellis, which saves space and increases airflow, helping to prevent fungal diseases.
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED: 1 to 2 weeks after average last frost, and when soil temperature is at least 70 degrees F, ideally 70 degrees F to 90 degrees F.