Heirloom melons are grown from seed and passed down from generation to generation. They are open-pollinated, which means they are pollinated naturally, usually by insects, but sometimes by wind. In general, heirloom melons are those that have been around for at least 50 years. If you’re interested in growing heirloom melons, Tendergold melons are a good way to start. Read on and learn how to grow Tendergold watermelons.
Tendergold Melon Information
Tendergold watermelon plants, also known as “Willhites Tendergold,” produce medium-sized melons with sweet, golden yellow flesh that deepens in both color and flavor as the melon ripens. The firm, deep green rind is mottled with pale green stripes.
How to Grow Tendergold Watermelons
Growing Tendergold watermelon plants is much like growing any other watermelon. Here are some tips on Tendergold melon care:
Plant Tendergold watermelons in spring, at least two to three weeks after your last average frost date. Melon seeds won’t germinate if the soil is cool. If you live in a chilly climate with a short growing season, you can get a head start by purchasing seedlings, or start your own seeds indoors.
Select a sunny spot with plenty of space; growing Tendergold melons have long vines that can reach lengths up to 20 feet (6 m.).
Loosen the soil, then dig in a generous amount of compost, well-rotted manure, or other organic matter. This is also a good time to work in a little all-purpose or slow-release fertilizer to get the plants off to a good start.
Form the soil into small mounds spaced 8 to 10 feet (2 m.) apart. Cover the mounds with black plastic to keep the soil warm and moist. Hold the plastic in place with rocks or yard staples. Cut slits in the plastic and plant three or four seeds in each mound, 1 inch (2.5 cm.) deep. If you prefer not to use plastic, mulch the plants when they’re a few inches (8 cm.) tall.
Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout but be careful not to overwater. When the seeds sprout, thin the seedlings to the two sturdiest plants in each mound.
At this point, water well every week to ten days, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Water carefully with a hose or drip irrigation system. Keep the foliage as dry as possible to prevent disease.
Fertilize Tendergold melons regularly once the vines begin to spread out using a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer. Water well and ensure fertilizer doesn’t touch the leaves.
Stop watering Tendergold watermelon plants about ten days before harvest. Withholding water at this point will result in crisper, sweeter melons.