Can muskmelons be started indoors?

Question: 

Can muskmelons be started indoors?

Answer: 

For an earlier crop, muskmelons can be started indoors.  Sow seeds indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the anticipated outdoor planting date.  Muskmelons can be planted outdoors in early May in southern Iowa, mid-May in central Iowa, and late May in northern portions of the state.

Muskmelons and other vine crops are somewhat difficult to transplant.  When starting vine crops indoors, sow seeds in peat pots, peat pellets (Jiffy-7's), or other plantable containers.  Muskmelon seedlings grown in plantable containers suffer little damage during the transplanting process.  As a result, transplanting success is usually high.

Sow 3 to 4 seeds per container.  Later, remove all but 2 seedlings.  Transplant the seedlings outdoors when plants have 1 or 2 true leaves.  Prior to planting, harden (acclimate) the seedlings outdoors for a few days in a shady, protected location to lessen transplant stress.  

Tags: 

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on . The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.