Honeydews are a type of muskmelon, closely related to the cantaloupe, and well-known for their tasty, edible fruits. The honeydew has a smooth skin (which can be white, green, or yellow) and sweet, juicy flesh (which range in color between white, orange, and green). Most honeydew melons grow best in warm climates with a fairly long growing season or when started indoors before the final frost. Yellow flowers are either male or female and attract beneficial pollinators.
The Sweet Delight honeydew melon earns its name with its super-sweet flavor, making it great for snacking. Melons weigh up to 8 pounds each, with light green coloration both inside and out. Tolerant of wilt, it’s easy to grow and a good choice for satisfying your sweet tooth.
Seed Depth: 1/2–3/4″
Space Between Plants: 2–3 seeds every 18″
Space Between Rows: 18–24″
Germination Soil Temperature: 65–80°F
Days for Germination: 3–5
Sow Indoors: 3 weeks prior to the average last frost date.
Sow Outdoors: When soil temperatures reach approximately 65°F and any danger of frost has passed.
Prefers a hot climate and doesn’t do well in cold weather. Not frost tolerant. Plant seeds or transplant young plant starts outside in the late spring or early summer once all danger of frost has passed. In warmer climates, melons can be planted at any time as long as the soil temperature is between the recommended range (65 to 80°F).
Natural: Full sun.
Artificial: Prefers warm weather, so an HID lamp will be the best choice for your plants. Also grows well under fluorescent bulbs.
Soil: Prefers a sandy soil with a high amount of organic matter. A pH of 6.0 to 7.0 will keep plants healthy and nourished.
Soilless: Germinate seeds in a vermiculite, perlite, and/or well-rotted manure and compost mix.
Hydroponics: Will thrive in a hydroponic environment but requires a larger set-up than most other plants because of its tendency to sprawl.
Water: Requires moderate levels of water. More water will be needed when first transplanting until the fruit is beginning to form. Once the fruit reaches medium size, taper off watering as too much will reduce the flavor in the fruit and make it bland. Don’t worry if you see its large green leaves wilting under full sun in the heat of the summer: this is totally natural and leaves will bounce back to fullness in the evenings and mornings.
Nutrients: Requires high levels of nutrients, particularly potassium and phosphorus. Fertilizers with higher levels of nitrogen may be used in the earlier stages of growth to help the leaves of your melon plant prosper. The better developed the leaves are, the more sugar they can produce and the sweeter your melons will be. Once the plant starts to flower, however, lower the amount of nitrogen and increase potassium and phosphorous to encourage fruit growth.
Foliar: A kelp-based foliar applied every couple of weeks once the plant starts to flower will help them produce large, healthy melons.
Disease(s): Although this variety is resistant to Fusarium wilt, you still need to watch out for:
Deficiency(s): If your plants have faded and leaves look light green, your plant might have a nutrient deficiency. This can be remedied by applying a balanced nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium fertilizer or compost.
Rotation: A 2- to 3-year rotation away from all plants in the cucurbit family is recommended. Don’t follow melons with corn. Try to plant melons in plots that were previously home to tomatoes, legumes, or leafy greens.
Companions: Grows well with corn, other melons, peanuts, radishes, squash, and okra. Avoid planting with potatoes or chard.
Harvest: Fruit is ready to harvest when the vines begin to turn brown and the rind of the fruit has turned a pale green color. You should also notice a delicious fragrance emanating from ripe fruit. The vines near the melon may start to crack as well, which is a good indication that the melon is ready for pickin’. It can be difficult to estimate when melons are ripe, but once one has ripened they will generally all be close. To harvest, snip the vine close to the top of the melon.
Storage: Can be kept in the refrigerator once harvested, but this will start to change the flavor of the melon. We recommend storing at room temperature and using within 2 or 3 days for the best taste.
Fun Fact: Turkey and China rank number one and two for worldwide honeydew production, with the United States coming in third.
Preserve: Melons freeze quite well. In order to freeze honeydew, slice in half, remove the seeds and cut into chunks. Place these in freezer bags and save for another day! Fruit and rinds can also be preserved in a syrup or made into delicious pickles. Be sure to follow canning and preserving instructions carefully.
Prepare: All parts of the fruit are edible! The flesh is most commonly eaten raw. Cut the melon in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Seeds can be eaten after drying and roasting. The rind is best used for making pickles, or it can be cooked and eaten.
Nutritional: Contains moderate levels of vitamin B, high levels of vitamin C, and decent levels of antioxidants, potassium, and fiber.
Medicinal: Due to the presence of high levels of vitamin C and potassium, honeydew may help support blood vessel and skin health as well as cardiovascular health.
We’d recommend cutting down the amount of sugar you use in this Spicy and Savory Sweet Honeydew Melon recipe if you’re making it with homegrown Sweet Delight melons, but either way, it should be delicious.