This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The public seem to be inclined to drop the familiar name of Musk Melons, and are adopting the old style cognomen of Canteloupe. The Germantown Telegraph says that the culture of this garden fruit is becoming more general. Almost every person having a garden of any size is beginning to try his hand at it, and it can be done with almost as much success as raising a crop of corn. The ground should have a warm exposure and be friable - clay mould not being adapted ; the bill should be dug out eight to ten inches, two feet in diameter, and filled with well-rotted manure, rich soil and sand - turnpike dirt is excellent as a substitute for the latter. Five or six seeds should be put at equal distances about an inch in depth, and the "hill" should be even with the other soil. The hills should be about six feet apart each way, and the plants, when they have passed all danger, should be thinned out to two or three in a hill. The beds must be kept clear of all weeds and grass, and when the vines commence running they should not be disturbed, as the rootlets connected with the vine, and by which it is largely supplied with nourishment, will be broken.
The ground, as the vines begin to extend, should be gone over with an iron rake, especially after a heavy shower, to loosen it and give these rootlets a chance to take hold. The seed should be planted at the time of corn-planting.
Sowing round the hill, a few inches distant, early radish seed, will sometimes protect the young plants from the bugs, and always will be more or less beneficial. Should bugs appear, a sprinkling of weak whale-oil soap and water will soon send them adrift.
The best variety of cantaloupes to plant, in this section, is the " Citron," the "Jenny-Lind," and "Cassaba." The Nutmeg is too late for us. There is a white canteloupe, which is remarkably fine, but it seems only to be a "sport," and not a distinct variety.
There is no reason why all our farmers should not have a patch of canteloupes for family use. A plot of ground 40 by 20 feet would be enough for a moderate-sized family.