Growing melons on trellis

melissia(7)June 7, 2009

Would someone elaborate on growing melons on a trellis, or verticle? I am going to try it this year. . . so far dh has put up a cattle panel by my watermelon, canteloupe and cucumbers -- I read somewhere that I should not grown them verticle because they are ground runners and they won't do as well verticle. . .opinion?



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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I trellis melons and have for years and they grow just fine. We always have plenty and, in fact, I believe I get better yields on trellised plants because I don't lose any to rot from lying on the ground or to pillbugs/sowbugs, which in my garden will eat any veggie down fairly close to the ground. Also, since the plants are growing vertically, they have better air circulation around the foliage and seem to have less disease problems, which is important since many of the diseases that attack melons are worse when moisture levels are high.

I am growing several kinds of melons (Pike, Prescott Fond Blanc, Early Frame Prescott, Jenny Lind, Kansas, Charentais, Crane, Delice de la Table, Pink Banana, Eden's Gem, Ambrosia and Hales' Best Jumbo) and all of them are trellised. After melons form and begin to enlarge, I either make "slings" for them from cheesecloth or I slip a knee-high stocking over the melon, being careful not to knock the melon off the vine, and tie the stocking to the trellis. You also can use netting to make the melon sling. It takes a little practice to find a way of tying it that works for you. This gives the larger melons support as they enlarge. Some of the smaller melons don't need support.

I have grown small watermelons on a trellis in the past, but am letting them grow on the ground this year.

You have to do whatever works for you. Trellising them works for me and it allows me to grow many more melons than I'd have room for if they all sprawled on the ground. To make it work as well as possible, you have to have good soil so the roots can make a good root mass and support all the top growth, and you can't let them get too dry.

Trellised melons are very easy to pick as you don't have to spend your time bent over looking under the foliage on the ground and hoping you don't find a snake instead of a melon.

Commercial growers often grow melons on trellises in high tunnels, and you can see how they do it at the link below, which probably will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about melons. Since commercial growers use the techniques that give them the best yield for the amount of space used, that further validates trellising as a useful technique to employ while raising melons. Although commercial growers (and some home gardeners) prune their melons, I don't---in our heat, they need all their leaves to protect the melons from sunscald.


Here is a link that might be useful: Trellised Melons Grown In High Tunnels

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 10:06PM
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I've trellised cantaloupe in the past, and am doing it again this year. Don't make the mistake I made my first year by going cheap and quick with your trellis. I made the trellis out of 1/2" PVC and nylon netting. All was well until the melons started to get heavy, the wind came up and my PVC snapped and I had melons on the ground, some still whole, some not so much.

This year's trellises are 1/2" conduit and netting. I'm confident these will hold up under a good cantaloupe crop and strong wind. And I really didn't spend any more money on the electrical conduit than I did on the PVC.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:07AM
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Thanks for both of your input -- I will be doing the sling thing and George, I beleive my trellis is strong enough -- I used t-posts and cattle panels.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:43PM
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The framework has maintained under the weight of plant and fruit, but now the netting is ripping away from the frame where I zip-tied it. Next year I'll get nylon netting instead of the plastic (it was free so I let frugality override engineering).

Live and learn.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 2:32PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I think every single thing I have ever learned about gardening has come via the "live and learn" method. Or, at least those are the things that I have remembered the best.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 2:38PM
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