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Melon - Seeding and Spacing

Melon planting dates in Utah vary depending local climate conditions. Planting often begins in midApril in southern Utah and may be as late as early June in cooler areas of northern Utah. Planting is recommended after danger of frost has passed. Local freeze dates can be accessed through the Utah Climate Center. All melon seeds germinate poorly at soil temperatures below 60°F (seedless above 70°F) and the most rapid germination is around 90-95°F. Melons grow best when temperatures during the day are 75-85°F and when night temperatures stay above 60°F. Temperatures above 95°F may result in poor plant growth, flower abortion, or fruit set problems.

Plant and row spacings vary with cultivar, equipment, irrigation approach, and market requirements. Typically, in-row plant spacing ranges from 18 to 30 inches apart in irrigated land to 36 to 48 inches apart in dry land. Typical row spacings vary from 6 to 10 feet apart. Higher yields occur with closer spacings but require more nutrient and water management.

Plant seed of open-pollinated varieties at 1-2 pounds of seed per acre at a depth of ½ to 1½ inches (depending on soil moisture, time of year, and irrigation availability). Hybrid seed is much more expensive, so reduce seeding rates by modifying planters to only plant one seed at the desired in-row spacing. Once seedlings have emerged and have 1-2 leaves, thin stands back to the desired in-row spacing.