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Growing Rockmelon, also Canteloupe

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
T                 S S T

(Best months for growing Rockmelon in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 68°F and 90°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Sweetcorn, Sunflowers
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Leaves and flowers
  • Young melons

Start in small pots then transplant when no danger of frosts. Plant into a raised mound to provide good drainage and warmth. Provide plenty of water.

Ready to use when the fruit falls from the vine

In the United Kingdom start the seeds in a heated greenhouse with plenty of light.

Rockmelons may need hand pollination with a soft brush.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Rockmelon

Cut in half and scoop out and discard the seeds.
Sprinkle with some ground ginger or serve plain.

Your comments and tips

17 Sep 10, Jancis (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Can you tell me anything about how long it takes until the leaves sprout from the seed tray? I need to know!!!
12 Dec 11, Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
There are a couple of photos on the rock melon page. Click on them to make them larger.
20 Jan 17, Ron Leggett (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I am trying manual pollination. Not a lot of success. Do I need to pinch out the leaders to promote more lateral growth and more flowers?
16 Jan 18, Hanneke Koevoet (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Do I need hand pollination if see quite a lot of bees in the flowers
21 Jan 18, Norma Bowden (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, when you say the fruit is ready when it falls from the vine, does that mean the withering of the plant where the melon is attached? Also, should the melons be lifted from the soil as they grow bigger by placing something like a piece of wood under them? Thank you
17 Sep 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
The older varieties when the skin would start to go yellow the fruit would come away from the vine easy. It would be fully ripe in a few days. Some of the newer ones don't turn yellow. How long to harvest is a guide to picking. Try one and see if it is ripe. Put dry grass/straw under them if you have wet soil.
12 Oct 18, Mary (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Where I live at Mount Bruce the temp can be cold with semi high wind is there any special care needed when tending to my rock melons
15 Oct 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Just plant when they say so and try to protect them from the wind a bit. I didn't think they would grow in cold places.
18 Feb 19, Edith (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a patch of garden that was covered by polythene due to illness and I planted 3 rock melons into small holes that I made. They have flourished and there are melons galore. I think the heat from the polythene must have helped. I find that the plastic does not drain the water when it rains, and I am worried that the melons will spoil against it. I have tried to lift them and put netting and wood underneath as many as I can. Can I harvest them and will they ripen when they are off the vines. I will pick them all as there is rain coming if they will ripen themselves. They are nearly ripe as I cut one and altho it was not ripe and yellow I could eat it. They are a good size. bit in fact.
19 Feb 19, mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I don't believe they will ripen if picked unless they have started to ripen already. Rockmelons will break from the vine fairly easily when starting to ripen. A rather gentle pull and they will come away from the vine. A bit hard to tell when to pick without this sign. At this stage a good down pour of rain and they will take up heaps of water and split. Melons seem to take a long time from growing to a good size and to then ripening. I had some ripening the last 4-6 weeks and most just split or just went rotten. They are a spring crop in SE QLD Australia. Good luck.
Showing 1 - 10 of 11 comments

The older varieties when the skin would start to go yellow the fruit would come away from the vine easy. It would be fully ripe in a few days. Some of the newer ones don't turn yellow. How long to harvest is a guide to picking. Try one and see if it is ripe. Put dry grass/straw under them if you have wet soil.

- Mike

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