Hi Sarah, I planted some in a little tray and left on a sunny window, wook about a month for 1 to germinate but I now have a seedling and planted around 12 of them. Hoping the others come through too
The season is quite short for fruit like melon you should have plants ready to plant out by June or you risk running out of time for them to ripen.
About 20c should do it.
If growing your melons in a greenhouse (like I do, in NE Scotland), you will need to hand pollinate the flowers to get the melons to set. Once they are on its amazing just how fast they swell. The taste is amazing too. I recommend the varieties: sweetheart and Jade Lady. you will also need to provide support (canes) to grow the plant up and use old orange net bags to support each melon. Good luck!
The female flowers have an ovary - a swelling - behind the petals, and the males, of course, don't. When you have both open at the same time (and last year when I tried it for the first time I had all male flowers at first), remove a male flower with visible pollen, take off the petals and rub it onto a female flower or three. Do this daily until you have a few melons per plant swelling. You could probably use a little paintbrush instead.
If you can grow them outdoors (Cornwall? Scillies?) the bees will save you all this trouble. I'm impressed you can grow them in NE Scotland, Simon!
They do indeed swell really fast, and Charentais which I grew last year and have started this year, were delicious, if small. (Seeds 39p from Aldi!)
The growing tip is the extreme top of the plant, where the new leaves and stem are forming. Melons bear their flowers (and therefore their fruit) on side shoots; pinching out the tip encourages these side shoots to form. I seem to remember reading that you're supposed to pinch out the side shoots, too, a couple of leaves beyond the fruit.
Good luck - let us know how you get on