_Sowing date:_ As soon as they'll germinate outdoors: at Elkton, May
15 to June 1. Thin to a single plant per hill when there are about
three true leaves and the vines are beginning to run.
_Spacing:_ Most varieties will grow a vine
reaching about 8 feet in
diameter. Space the hills 8 feet apart in all directions.
_Irrigation:_ Fertigation every two to three weeks will increase the
yield by two or three times and may make the melons sweeter. Release
the water/fertilizer mix close to the center of the vine, where the
taproot can use it.
_Varieties:_ Adaptation to our cool climate is critical with melons;
use varieties sold by our regional seed companies. Yellow Doll
watermelons (TSC) are very early and seem the most productive under
the most droughty conditions. I've had reasonable results from most
otherwise regionally adapted cantaloupes and muskmelons. Last year a
new hybrid variety, Passport (TSC), proved several weeks earlier
than I'd ever experienced and was extraordinarily prolific and
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