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07/30/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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AP/Joe Hermosa

I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. I might have been wilting during the latest spate of hot, humid weather, but my melons are loving it. It's easy to get passionate about cantaloupes, honeydew, and crenshaw melons. The sweet flavor, aroma, and juiciness have inspired many over the years. A 16th century French monk once wrote of a Charentais melon, "Oh, flower of all the fruits. Oh, ravishing melon! "

To grow the best melons in Vermont remember three things: heat, water, and fertility. Keep plants well watered and add an organic fertilizer monthly. If you haven't planted your melons in black plastic, consider laying some down as a mulch around the vines even now. The plastic heats the soil, hastens the melon growing process, and conserves soil moisture.

Once 2 to 3 fruits have set on a plant, prune off the other flowers, fruits, and tips of the vines to send more energy to ripen these existing melons. If you notice powdery mildew on the leaves, spray plants with a mixture of 1 part raw or skim milk to 9 parts water. This milky solution keeps mildew from spreading.

Now for this week's tip, it's time to pinch some flowers. If you're growing window boxes, containers, and hanging baskets of vining annuals such as calibrachoa, petunia, and scaevola, pinch back the vines to just above a side shoot and fertilize to stimulate bushy growth and more flowers for the rest of the summer. 

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about the Rose of Sharon!  For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!

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Growing Melons In Vermont How To Grow Melons
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