Melons are frost-sensitive, warm-season annuals that require high levels of fertile soil, water and full sunlight. They need a minimum of 15°C to germinate and will do well both as a field crop or trellised off the ground.
Start directly in the soil (2-3 seeds per hole) or in seedling trays and at two true leaf stage, transplant to where they are to grow. The flavour of melons develops in the last two weeks prior to ripening. So proper harvesting is essential to getting the best from your plant.
There are a number of ways to ensure optimum harvesting. Smell the blossom end of the fruit: If you can smell the fruit then it’s ripe. Push the base of the stem with your thumb; if the fruit parts, then it's ripe (this is called slip-ripening). Also, watch for a yellow/orange colour change, depending on the variety.
Regular watering is important. A deep watering 3 times per week is adequate. Irregular watering causes cracks and fruit-splitting, especially when the plants are dry for a number of days and then heavy rains set in. Plants that are better watered will tolerate heavy rains without splitting.