Cantaloupes, a type of muskmelon, grow best in well-drained and slightly sandy soil. These plants should be direct seeded when the soil temperature is consistently above 60 degrees. Cantaloupes grow best when seeded in rows in a flat garden space, but they can also be grown in containers or raised beds.
Prepare your garden space by tilling and removing rocks and large clumps of soil when the soil temperature is consistently warm.
Dig a furrow the length of your planting space using a hoe. The furrow should be approximately 2 inches deep.
Plant your cantaloupe seeds. Seeds should be planted in hills, in groups of four to six. The groups should be approximately 4 feet apart to allow the vines room to spread.
Water the seeds thoroughly. Melons need a lot of water; as your seedlings sprout and grow, be sure that the soil is consistently damp.
Chickens can eat cantaloupe seeds and flesh as well as all other melons, such as watermelon and honey dew melon.
Hybrid cantaloupes are developed by crossing varieties. The seeds from hybrids may be sterile, and if they germinate and grow, they don't produce melons like the original. Look for melons or seeds labeled open-pollinated or heirloom to ensure that the seeds will have the characteristics you want.
Collecting and Drying
Scoop the pulp from a mature cantaloupe and break it up into a glass jar. Stir or shake gently to loosen the pulp from the seeds. Pulp and bad seeds will float to the top, while good seeds will sink to the bottom. Once separated, spread the good seeds in a single layer to dry for about a week.
Store dried seeds in an airtight container such as a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid at temperatures below 75 degrees. If the seeds are thoroughly dry, you can freeze them for long-term storage.
Fill individual peat pots with a potting soil formulated for seed-starting. Water the soil until it is evenly moist but not soggy.
Plant two cantaloupe seeds per pot. Sow them to a ½ inch depth.
Cover the pots with a plastic bag, which helps preserve moisture in the soil during germination. Set the pots in a warm, 75 to 90 degree Fahrenheit, room to germinate. Best germination occurs at 90 F.
Remove the plastic bag when the seeds begin to sprout. Move the cantaloupe to a warm, sunny windowsill and water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Both tomatoes and cantaloupe should be watered weekly. Give at least 1 inch of water, enough to soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Water in the morning or early afternoon.