Is it possible to grow a watermelon (or cantaloupe) vine that can bear fruit in July or August in zone 7? I would like to have it ready during the hot and humid days of summer. Would I be able to do it if I start the melon in March or April? Are there any seeds in particular I should purchase or can it be done with the 3-for-a-dollar packages at the dollar stores?
In Amherst, most watermelons planted around the first of May should have ripe melons in the first two weeks in August. Small early melons like Yellow Doll, Mickylee may get you melons a week or more before the standard melons. I grew up in Fluvanna county and we always had Dixie Queens and Golden Honeys by August 10.
I am zone 4. Zone doesn't mean a thing with annual vegetables.
What matters is frost dates.Our last frost date is May 15, so we set plants out near end of May.
For us, going backwards from end of May, seeds are planted April 15 into a 1½ x 1½" pot. Keep them in bright sun. We have a greenhouse. They need to stay short.
To set out, make a hole in well tilled soil. Add a little water. Take plant out of pot without disturbing roots. Works best if pot is on dry side.Put the plant in the hole & press the soil around it.
Keep the weeds out of the melon patch.
A 80 day melon should be ripe around August 1.
Go to an online seed company to get seed.
Muskmelon seed that we use are, Halona from Johnny's, Super Star from Harris & Athena & Orange Sherbert from neseed.
Watermelon, we use one from commercial vendor that minimum amount is 500 seeds.
Get an Allsweet variety.
So I start the melons sometime in March and put them out May 1, weather permitting. (The last two Aprils were hot and this March was also warm). I can gather enough leaves and scraps to make compost. From what I've read manure is also needed. I have had late success with Sugar Baby and last year I tried Crimson Sweet, but they all split open before they could be harvested. Thanks for the advice.