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Plant description:

There are two types of melon: the summer varieties, collectively known as muskmelons or netted melons after the appearance of their skin, and popularly called sweetmelon, spanspek, rock melon and cantaloupe; and the smooth-skinned winter melons, which include honeydew and watermelon. Botanically, melons fall into the same family as cucumbers and require similar treatment in cultivation.

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Botanical Pronunciation: KOO-koo-mis MEL-oh

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Botanical name

Cucumis melo; Cucumis citrullu

Plant Care


Common name(s)



Planting instructions

Prepare basins of well-manured soil, 300mm in diameter and 1.5m apart.Plant five to six seeds per basin, about 15mm deep. Thin out to three plants when 100mm tall.


Keep the basins free of weeds, and water the plants well in dry weather. Feed every two weeks with liquid fertilizer once the flowers appear.

Interesting planting ideas

Plant near garlic chives, mint, morning glory and pennyroyal.

Interesting info

Botanically, melons fall into the same family as cucumbers and require similar treatment in cultivation. Recommended varieties: Hales Best, an orange fleshed sweet melon; green-fleshed Honeydew.(Watermelons are not really suitable for home gardens as they occupy too much space for very little return). Most melons grow on vines along the ground, but some small-fruited varieties, such as Jenny Lind, will grow on trellises, This is a handy space-saver in a smaller garden.
Rich in minerals and vitamins B and C, melons are an excellent diuretic flushing the kidneys.

Possible problems

Don't plant melons near potatoes, sweet potatoes or radishes or near citrus trees. They seem to dislike one another and each stunts the other's growth.

Common pests and diseases

Aphids, pumpkin flies (to control the latter, make a bait solution of Malathion plus 100g sugar per liter of water; spray onto the leaf surfaces when the first flowers appear, repeating as necessary). Mildew.


Melons should be really ripe when picked, as they do not improve after picking.Ripe muskmelons develop a slightly yellower color and feel soft at the blossom end when pressed.The netting on the skin becomes more pronounced, the color changes from dark green to grey-green and finally to yellowish-green and the fruit smells delicious.


Five plants should yield enough sweet- or winter melons for a family of four.

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