Keep fruit that have got to the ripening stage dry, and well exposed to light and air. The night temperature should range about 70°, for Melons ripened in a low temperature and damp atmosphere are scarcely eatable. Be careful not to water crops that are nearly fully swollen, or the chances are that they will burst and be spoilt. The best way is to mulch the surface of the soil with a little leaf-mould or rotten manure to prevent the surface of the bed from becoming too dry, and from cracking. Late crops that are swelling rapidly should be kept warm, and, now that the nights are longer and cooler, should have fires put on to prevent the temperature from sinking below 70° to 75°, according to the state of the weather.

Melon Forcing #1

Late crops will now require more assistance from fire-heat. The night temperature should not be less than 70°, and when ripening warmth and dryness are indispensable to anything like good flavour. Melons can now be kept longer, after being ripe, in the fruit-room than in warmer weather.

Melon Forcing #2

Sow for early crops in a temperature of 70°. A good way of raising young plants is to sow a few seeds in 4 or 5 inch pots, half filling the pot with soil; and as soon as the plants grow above the rims of the pots, earth the young plants up. Do not stop them if to be grown on trellises near the glass; but if to be trained on the surface of the bed, stop them as soon as the young leaves are expanded.

Melon Forcing #3

Those sown last month will be ready to plant out this month. If in dung-frames or pits, plant two in the centre of each light on a ridge of soil. As the roots advance to the sides of the ridge, add soil by degrees. Grow with as little water at the root as possible, and beware of scorching in changeable weather. The night temperature, with coverings on the glass, should be about 70°. Presuming that the plants have been stopped before being planted, they will now have three young shoot seach. Train these regularly over the bed, and stop them when they reach to within a foot of the sides of the frame. The lateral growths will show fruit. Sow twice this month for succession-crops, as directed last month.

Melon Forcing #4

Those planted out last month will be growing freely. Water moderately at the root, and mould them up by degrees, applying a few inches of soil as the roots appear at the sides of the ridges. Let those that are trained near the glass in Melon-houses grow to within a foot of the top of the house before stopping them. Let the air moisture be moderate until they show fruit on their lateral growths. Give more or less air daily, and keep the night temperature at 70°. Plant out those sown last month in stronger soil than is desirable for very early crops. Sow fur succession-crops at the beginning and end of the month.

Melon Forcing #5

Apply fresh linings to dung-frames whenever the heat shows symptoms of declining. Sow and plant out succession crops. Increase the supply of moisture in the air and soil in the case of all plants that have set a full crop, Keep the heat at 70°, with 10° or 150 more with sun. Look over those in bloom at mid-day, and impregnate those that are ready for it. Stop the laterals one leaf beyond the fruit. Plants trained in Melon-houses near the glass may be occasionally syringed, except when in bloom, on the afternoon of bright days.

Melon Forcing #6

Where the fruit are advanced towards full size give less water or they will be apt to burst. As soon as they show signs of ripening, just give sufficient water to enable the plants to mature the fruit, but no more, and expose the fruit to full sun, and give air more freely on fine days. Impregnate succession crops on fine days whenever the blooms are ready; stop the laterals one joint beyond the fruit. As soon as a full crop is set give the soil a good watering; and if the plants are trained on trellises, mulch the surface of the soil with rotten manure to keep it moist with less frequent waterings. Sow and plant out for succession crops.

Melon Forcing #7

Now that there is more natural warmth, and more air is required, pay careful attention to crops in Melon-houses where the bottom-heat is derived from hot-water pipes. More water is required under such circumstances than in the case of dung-beds. It is a good plan to midch the surface of the soil with rotten manure to prevent evaporation, and consequently frequent waterings. When water is necessary, give sufficient to moisten the soil in preference to more frequent and less effectual waterings. Fruit that are ripening should be kept rather dry and well aired, and exposed to the sun, to bring up the flavour; but, on the other hand, avoid starving the fruit into ripeness. Sprinkle advancing crops on fine afternoons. Impregnate, stop, and regulate advancing crops. Now is a good time to plant for August supply, and to sow for later crops. Use a stronger soil, and use more rotten manure for the heat-of-summer crops than for earlier and late crops.

Melon Forcing #8

Much more water will now be required by those swelling their fruit than is necessary early in the season. Give thorough soakings at longer intervals instead of frequent surface-dribblets. The surface of the beds in Melon-houses, where the plants are trained up the roof, will benefit much by a top-dressing of horse-droppings. Syringe every fine afternoon until the fruit begins to ripen, after which give more air and less moisture; but avoid starving the plants. Plant out for late crops, and attend to such as are in bloom by daily impregnating them.