How to Garden: How to Grow Charentais Melons
About Charentais Melons
Charentais (Cucumis melo) are small, one to three pound single serving melons. The name, though odd to some is really an easy word to say, pronounce it as (Shar-en-TAY).
As with all Cucumis, Charentais melon seeds work as a gentle, natural dewormer for people, chickens and other pets and livestock.
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Growing Charentais Melons
Plant Charentais melons in well-drained soils. Turn in as much organic matter as you can. Mushroom compost is an excellent choice for growing melons in. Planting the vines on a hill is a good idea but it is not necessary.
Apply a thick layer of mulch to the entire planting area. Place growing fruits on a straw or other clean bedding to prevent rotting.
Use an organic fertilizer such as caterpillar frass tea to feed the plants. That is all you need for healthy, vigorous vines and loads of fruit.
Fertilize foliage with a weak solution every time you water. Once a week, fertilize with a small pile of aged frass beside each plant. Water well before and after fertilizing to prevent burning the plants.
Fruits are ready to pick when they have a strong "melon" smell. They do not tend to slip from the vine; instead, the melons turn a straw-like color. The most telling signs are color, scent and sound when thumped. Fruits sound like any finished melon when thumped.
Caterpillar Frass Fertilizer
All I used on my Charentais melons was caterpillar frass tea. Caterpillar frass is caterpillar poop. I collected Cataba caterpillar poop during the "frass season". I then stored it in a bucket with water and a few rotting leaves.
You know it is ready when you smell it. It will smell metallic and honestly, like animal poop.
Caterpillar frass will burn plants if too much is used.