Have you thought about growing cantaloupe indoors? I will be growing cantaloupe from seed indoors and will show you how to grow cantaloupe in containers under lights.
Growing Cantaloupe From Seed Indoors
I will be growing Burpee Ambrosia Cantaloupe Melon Seeds in containers. I will be using a 2-gallon fabric pot filled with coco coir.
They have just popped up. One has been up for about a week the other has been up a couple of days. Not very impressive right now but that will change.
This pot previously had bush beans in it. Beans are a legume which means the nodes on their roots add nitrogen to the soil.
Here is some information about Ambrosia Cantaloupe from Burpee:
• Ambrosia’ has been Burpee’s top-selling cantaloupe melon for over 20 years!
• The thick, firm, flesh is sweet and delicious right down to the rind. 6″ melons average 5 lbs. each.
• Plant Height is 15″. plant spread is 36″. yields 6″ fruit.
• Melon plant vines yield bumper crops and are mildew resistant. Disease-free means easier growing!
• Expect a harvest in 86 days, harvesting cantaloupe fruits when they change from green to yellow or tan and easily break away from the vine.
I did some research and found each melon plant can produce 4-8 melons. The 36-inch spread is manageable for my kitchen garden.
Although the height is listed as 15 inches I will be growing my cantaloupe vertically on a trellis. I will show you how to grow cantaloupe vertically as things progress.
Of course, you can try a different type of cantaloupe to grow indoors but I have always had good luck using Burpee vegetable seeds so I keep using them.
Growing Cantaloupe From Seed Indoors With Lights
Cantaloupe plants require full sun outdoors. If you want to grow them indoors you will need to use a LED grow light.
I can easily cover a 3 x 5 area with this light. I run it 12 hours a day with a timer. Not all plants need high light as cantaloupe does.
So I put my light-loving crops directly under it and lower light crops like lettuce or herbs around the edges.
How To Prepare Cantaloupe Seeds For Planting
I like to germinate cantaloupe seeds with a paper towel. I use a small plastic container that has a tight-fitting lid.
Here are the steps I take to grow cantaloupe from seeds indoors:
1. I sterilize the container with a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
2. Then I place a moist paper towel inside the container. I drain off any excess water from the container.
3. I place the seeds on top of the paper towel and put the lid on.
4. I keep the container in a warm place.
5. After 7-14 days the seeds will have sprouted.
6. At this point I make a small hole for them in their container. I place them in the hole root down and bury them so the top of the seed husk is at or just below the soil line.
7. As they come up in a few days the husk will often be clinging to the leaves. It will usually fall off on its own but if it doesn’t you can carefully remove it.
Here are my cantaloupe seeds ready for sprouting
Sprouted cantaloupe seeds after 6 days and ready to transplant
If you look carefully you can see a bit of green leaf starting to show. They will be going into a 2-gallon fabric pot filled with coco coir.
That’s it. If you want you can place them in a small pot and grow them as a transplant.
Not all seeds will always germinate so if you decide to start your seeds in pots you will want to plant more than one and then thin out to the strongest plant.
But I prefer to sow my sprouted seeds directly into the final container they will grow in.
How To Grow Cantaloupe Vertically
When cantaloupe is planted outdoors it is usually allowed to sprawl out. But indoors there is less room.
So I am going to grow my cantaloupe vertically instead to save space for some other plants.
I will be using trellis netting to train the vines upward and I will probably need to come up with a way to support the melons as they grow.
According to Burpee, the melons weigh about 5 pounds each, and since a plant can produce 4-8 melons that’s a fair amount of weight that needs to be supported.
My Simple SIP System
I use a SIP system or sub-irrigated planter system that is very simple to set up.
At the heart of it is a tray that measures 32″ x 18″ with 8″ sides. You could use one that is larger or smaller but this is what I have right now.
Inside the tray, I place fabric pots filled with coco coir. I use 2-gallon pots for my veggies.
I mix my nutrient solution and pour it into the tray. So the plants are being bottom watered or sub-irrigated.
I will top water once when the pots are set in the tray. The medium in the pots needs to start out moist for efficient wicking. Otherwise, all watering is from the bottom up.
The fabric pots and coco coir both allow the pots to wick up water from the tray. When the nutrients are all wicked up I add more.
Because the plants are being fed nutrients constantly you will not need to use as strong a nutrient solution. Half-strength seems about right.
I don’t let the pots sit in water that is very deep for very long. I just want to make sure the pots don’t get dry.
So this simple system works well for me. It could be automated by adding a float valve to the tray attached to a remote reservoir but I don’t feel the need at this time although I am considering an autopot DIY project or buying an autopot system.
Cantaloup Seedlings With Trellis Added
Here are my cantaloupe seedlings about 10 days later and up against their trellis. I only kept 2 seedlings because of space issues. The tray is shared with peppers and tomatoes.
I am planning on growing my cantaloupe vertically but I know they can spread out to a 3×3 space. With the trellis, I think I can handle 2 plants.
Growing Cantaloupe From Seed Indoors More To Come
I will be updating this cantaloupe grow regularly. For now, I am waiting for my cantaloupe to start growing and vining. Then I will add my trellis and we can watch them grow and fruit together. You might want to bookmark this page for updates.
Growing Cantaloupe From Seed Indoors With Lights 3 Weeks In And Flowering
So my cantaloupe has been growing for about 3 weeks and is starting to flower. These plants are not super healthy.
I think they were suffering from calcium and magnesium deficiency. It’s not uncommon in coco coir, especially under LED lights that require increased magnesium levels.
So I increased the amount of calmag I was using and also added some Epsom salts that contain magnesium and also some sulfur.
The plants are starting to green up nicely now. Hopefully, they will start to set fruit soon. Stay tuned for more updates soon.