Cantaloupes are warm-season plants that do not tolerate frost, so you plant them outside once all danger of freezing has passed in spring. You'll need to protect the melons from late, unexpected frosts early in the season. Throughout summer, providing enough water for fruit production, as well as the proper nutrients for the plants, ensures that you have an abundant harvest of well-formed cantaloupes.
Water the bed immediately after planting. Continue to provide 1 to 2 inches of water a week in a single, deep watering, as opposed to frequent shallow watering.
Lay a 2-inch layer of mulch on the bed around the plants. This conserves soil moisture while also keeping the developing fruit off the ground, which prevents some insect and disease problems on the melons.
Cover young cantaloupe plants with row covers or by placing an upside down box on top of them overnight during late-spring frosts. Remove the cover in the morning once temperatures warm--or the plants may cook inside the covering once the sun shines on them.
Cultivate the soil between plants and in rows with a hand cultivator or hoe. Break up the top 1 inch of soil with the cultivator to prevent weeds from taking root. Cultivate once or twice a week.
Harvest cantaloupes as they ripen. Pick once the skin behind the ribs turns yellow and the vines near the fruit turn brown. Twist the melon gently to harvest. If ripe, it will easily pull from the vine.