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Melons – July Gardening Tips from The Culinary View

Tips for your Garden in July

as recommended by Charla Anthony

With harvesting winding down for most of the spring planted crops, there are a few edibles like cucumber and squash that may be planted again for a fall harvest. While small plants may need a bit of protection from the summer sun, many gardeners find it worth the effort to get a second crop.

Things to plant:
– Seeds of corn, cucumber, Southern field peas, okra, pumpkin, summer squash, winter squash, cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon.
– Small plants of cucumber, eggplant, peppers, basil, comfrey, Mexican mint marigold, oregano, mint and thyme.

Things to harvest:
Corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peppers, field peas, squash and tomatoes. Also, blackberries, blueberries, figs, peaches, plums, grapes and melons. Harvest the edible flowers of day lily, garlic chives and Mexican mint marigold.

July is most often associated with watermelons in Texas, but for me it is also cantaloupes. And, has been since a 1976 visit to west Texas, when I was introduced to Pecos County cantaloupe, one of the most fragrant, sweet versions I’ve ever tasted. I learned that weather, water and soil make for perfect growing conditions in that part of Texas. Thereafter, some of those delicious melons came home with me from our annual July trip. Scientifically, we are talking muskmelon, but the terms are used interchangeably in this country. Growing on trailing vines, it is identified by its netted skin.

Growing your own may not yield the same results as in Pecos County, but it allows you to leave the fruit on the vine to ripen fully. This provides amazing flavor for ripe, ready-to-eat fruit. Unless your garden is large, there may not be room for a traditional melon patch, but you can still grow cantaloupes by growing them on a trellis and supporting the fruit.

Plant: April to mid-June and the last 2 weeks of July in Central Texas
Light: 8 hours of full sun
Water: 1-2 inches per week
Soil needs: Well-drained sandy or sandy loam
Fertilization: small amounts in 2 to 3 applications

Harvest when the cantaloupe is fragrant and the stem separates (slips) easily where the vine attaches to the fruit. This versatile melon is more than a dessert or snack. Use it as an ingredient in salads, salsas, side dishes, entrees and drinks. No matter how you cut it, melons are a traditional summer treat in Texas.

Charla Anthony is the horticulturist for Brazos County at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, 2619 Texas 21 W., Bryan, Texas 77803.
For local gardening information, visit the website: Gardening question? Call 979-823-0129 or email

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