New to growing melons - need help
I am up North in Canada with a short growing season and would like to grow a few melons. I plan on growing these melons on 4 hugelkultur beds built aginst my fence (made of about 4 inch planks). I have seed for Minnesoto Midget; Collective Farm Women; Cantaloupes Angel Hybrid and Lil' Loupie, and watermelon Sugar Baby. I figure I would try maybe one plant of each, which are small, early, and have been grown here.
Firstly, should I start the seed indoors or direct sow? Our last frost date is next week, but it has been unseasonably cold (snow until last weekend) and will be another maybe 3 weeks until the earth has warmed up. I could have good sized seedlings by then if I started them indoors now. But can these plants handle the transplant shock and thrive?
Secondly, I need to grow these plants on a trellis because we are infested with slugs. The slugs are present because of large amounts of wood on the property, hence the hugelkultur beds to get rid of some of it. They will attack the fruit as they did when I tried Minnesota Midget some years ago on the ground. The planks of the fence would be too thick for them to twine around, so would regular trellis from the lumber yard be suitable? I have a couple of sheets left over from our deck which I could perhaps cut in half and attach supports/legs on either side. Would the fruit all have to be 'hammocked' to grow to maturity? I am saving onion bags for this purpose if needed.
So what do you think of my ideas? Does anyone think I can grow melons successfully this way? If anyone has had success with this method I am hoping to try, can you give me some guidance on what kind of trellis and when should I plant them out? Your replies would be greatly appreciated.