Best Fertilizer For Cantaloupe

Homegrown cantaloupe tastes far better than store-bought cantaloupe, and watching your cantaloupe grow bigger every single day is absolutely addictive!

But I have found that no soil can adapt to cantaloupe needs the first time, you need to fertilize them according to their growth stages for the best results, this article shares everything you need to know about fertilizing cantaloupes and provides suggestions for natural DIY sources as well as trusted brand by-products, based on my years of experience growing this awesome fruit.

Why Fertilize Cantaloupe?

Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients that your cantaloupe needs at the early stages of growth to develop strong roots and vines. Without these nutrients, the roots and vines may not develop sufficient strength, the leaves may be small and thin, which can hinder the plant’s ability to flower and fruit.

During the fruiting stage, a large amount of nitrogen fertilizer is required to build a large cantaloupe. Without enough fertilizer, your cantaloupe may be small and the fruit netting may not be good. Additionally, potassium fertilizer is needed to ensure the fruit tastes sweet enough when it ripens and builds its sweetness.

When Fertilize Cantaloupe?

I fertilize my cantaloupe at every stage of its grow.

  1. Seedlings: When the plant has its first true leaves, I use a liquid fertilizer that I mix half-strength to fertilize it
  2. Transplants: About 10-12 days after sowing, when your plant has its first two true leaves, it’s time to transplant it to the garden beds or pots where you intend to grow it. Before planting, add a handful of vermicompost right below where you intend to place the plant. This will help boost your plant’s roots and provide the best conditions for them to grow stronger.
  3. Vining: A few days after transplanting, when you see your plant growing well and developing more leaves, it’s time to fertilize it again. At this stage, your plant needs a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous to build strong roots, stems, and leaves.
  4. Flowering & Fruit Set: About three days before the female flower prepares to bloom, you will need to use a fertilizer with less nitrogen and more phosphorous and potassium. This will help with blooms and fruit set.
  5. After Pollination and Building Fruits: At this stage, your cantaloupe will be getting bigger every day, and the plant needs a large amount of nitrogen to build up the fruit. Make sure you fertilize your plant with a fertilizer that has a large amount of nitrogen at least 3 weeks after pollination.
  6. Before harvesting: About two weeks before harvesting (each variety will have different harvesting days), fertilize your plant with less nitrogen and more potassium. This will help the plant build beauty netting and sweetness.

What Should I Consider When Fertilize Cantaloupe?

Soil Test and Prepare the Soil At First

Before planting cantaloupe, it is essential to get a soil test done to determine the nutrients required for the plants. The soil test will provide recommendations on what nutrients need to be added to the soil before planting.

Spread the recommended fertilizer in the area where you will plant your cantaloupe before putting in the transplants (Of course, if you are growing your cantaloupe in a container, a soil test doesn’t make much difference to your fertilization schedule).

In case absent of the soil test, you can apply an all-purpose fertilizer like 10-10-10 fertilizer at planting, according to label directions.

Types of Fertilizers

Depending on your times and schedule to choose the right type of fertilizer that suits your needs. Fertilizer comes in one of 4 types: granules, water-soluble granules or powders, spikes, and liquid.

  • Granules: Granular fertilizers do not require mixing and slowly release their nutrients. I put out granular fertilizers when I plant my transplants outside so they can get a head start on growing big vines. Granule fertilizers may take a while to release enough fertilizer to feed your plants, especially if the soil stays dry.
  • Liquid fertilizers: Liquid fertilizers are either concentrates that require mixing or ready-to-use products. I prefer concentrates. Liquid fertilizers are available to cantaloupe vines immediately. However, they have to be used more often than granular fertilizers.
  • Water soluble fertilizers: Water soluble granules or powders dissolve in water so you can pour the solution around your plants. You can also sprinkle the fertilizer around your plants and water them. This type of fertilizer is immediately available to your plants. Water soluble fertilizer can leach out of the soil when you water your plants, especially in sandy soil.
  • Spikes: Spikes are granular fertilizers formed into spikes, these fertilizers are stuck in the ground three to six inches from each tomato plant. The spikes release their fertilizer over about eight weeks, so they are an easy type of fertilizer to use. Like granular fertilizers, the spikes may take a while to release enough fertilizer for your plants to use.

Best Fertilizers for Cantaloupe On The Market

If I’m unable to make my own fertilizers for my cantaloupes, I prefer using premium fertilizers from trusted brands in my garden. Below are my top 3 recommended fertilizers for cantaloupes:

1. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food Vegetables – Best for Early Stages ( Seedlings, Transplanting Outdoors, Vining)

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food Vegetables

I recommend using Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food Vegetables with an N-P-K ratio of 18-18-21 for boosting seedlings and during the vining stages of cantaloupe growth. Once your plant has developed a good set of leaves, strong stems, and roots, I suggest switching to one of the products below, as I believe the percentage of nitrogen in this product is too high for use at that stage.

Miracle-Gro is available in water-soluble forms, making it easy to use with a watering can or with the Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder.

2. Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer ( Granules): Organic Fertilizers Best For All Growing Stages

Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer ( Granules)

Dr. Earth is my top choice for the best organic fertilizer, with an N-P-K ratio of 4-6-3. This fertilizer can nourish cantaloupes throughout all of their growing stages. Its granular form makes it easy to apply, and it lasts longer than other fertilizers, reducing the frequency of applications.

Dr. Earth has been dedicated to serving the organic community for over three decades. They use only food-grade scraps to make their compost for their fertilizers, and their products contain no GMOs, chicken manure, or sewage sludge. The products are safe for children and pets, and all the products they sell are certified organic.

In addition to NPK, Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer also contains probiotics, seven champion strains of beneficial soil microbes, plus ecto and endo mycorrhizae, which help your cantaloupe plants utilize nutrients more effectively.

3. Jobe’s Organics Garden Fertilizer Spikes – Best for Flowering + Before Harvesting About 2 Weeks

Jobe’s Organics Garden Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe’s Organics Garden Fertilizer Spikes with an N-P-K ratio of 2-7-4 are my top choice for the best cantaloupe fertilizer for the flowering stage and for use two weeks before harvesting when the fruit is developing its sweetness.

The spike form of this fertilizer makes it perfect for growing cantaloupe in containers. These organic spikes contain no synthetic chemicals and are OMRI listed for organic gardening by the USDA. I always prefer to use organic products in my vegetable garden because I believe that what I feed my plants ultimately ends up in my stomach.

Natural Source of Fertilizer for Cantaloupe

I prefer using organic material to fertilize my cantaloupe, here’s some source of organic material you can use when growing your cantaloupe with perfect results!

For Nitrogen and Phosphorous Source

As I mentioned before, cantaloupes require a significant amount of nitrogen and phosphorus to develop strong roots and vines from the seedling stage through transplanting, vining stages, and after pollination when the fruit is developing.

Here are some sources of nitrogen and phosphorous that I’ve used with very good results:

  • Fish emulsion
  • Chicken manures
  • Bone Meal
  • Bat Guano
  • Soybean meal
  • Compost

For Potassium Source

Potassium is important at every stage of cantaloupe growth, particularly during the pollination stages and when the fruit is ripening and developing sweetness. When you notice your female cantaloupe flower preparing to bloom, and about 2 weeks before your cantaloupe harvest date, it’s the ideal time to apply this type of fertilizer.

To create a high-potassium fertilizer, I use both bananas (including the fruits and peels). I blend them with water until smooth, then mix in molasses and additional water. After allowing it to ferment for about 3 weeks or longer, I dilute it with a ratio of 1:20 with water before applying it to my plants.

Growing cantaloupe requires effort and experience to be successful, but it is also an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor. It’s not overly difficult, so I encourage you to give it a try and experiment with it. Cultivating cantaloupe can be one of the most enjoyable activities in the garden, happy gardening!

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