Melon spacing question

snowmanaxp(7b NC)June 23, 2009

While I wait for this years harvest to ripen, I have begun to draw up the master plan for next season in my mind.

I would love to do melons on a trellis. I have a 2 x 8 foot box that I want to use for the melons. The box runs almost directly East to West. My tomatoes and peppers are doing very well in it this year. The current trellis is 6ft high.

Melon spacing is listed as 1 melon per 2 sqft. So I could get four melons in this bed based on that. What is the rational for the 1 per 2 sgft? Is it because of the size of the vines? Could you do 1 per 1 sgft and prune heavily? Could I extend the trellis out 1 ft on each side of the bed and squeeze in another melon or two?

I really have been thinking about this too much, but I am very curious as to what other may think about melon spacing.

I have read where EG did 4 melons along a 4ft trellis (2 in front and 2 behind), but that he would not do that again. It didn't sound as if he pruned very much, if at all.

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I might have more of an answer for you in the next few weeks or so, since I wasn't paying attention and planted two watermelon plants right next to eachother and then cucumbers in the squares next to that all on one trellis. Maybe it is because the melons may get really heavy, maybe the vines too much. Maybe some sfgers have more experience that will be helpful!

Happy gardening!
My Garden Blog

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 1:05PM
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In Mel Bartholomew's original Square Foot Gardening book, he recommended 1 Melon per square foot. I'm now trying to grow 3 cantaloupes in a 1'x3' planter box with a 6' high trellis -- I'll keep you posted. (I imagine with only a square foot of soil per plant, it will be necessary to fertilize and water the vines a bit heavier than most vegetables).

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 1:22PM
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I was bad and I put two cantelope plants next to each other and did the same with watermelon, one foot beside it. Now the garden is going nuts. I was going to just let it grow on the ground outside the box but went ahead and tied it to a step ladder I put in there. I am running out of room there! Next time, I am going to make sure and at minimum, keep it at 1 plant per 1 sq foot but I might even extend it to maybe 1 1/2 sq ft if I have the room.

I hate killing perfectly good plants and "wasting space" but I think I have learned my lesson....about the space that is, that you have to at least go by the guidelines set up in the book and even then I have found that is too much. I planted bush beans 3 per square foot in a bunch of squares together and I am having trouble finding the beans and harvesting it. Very crowded. I have another two squares in another box that has 9 per sq ft right beside another I did the same! (did that make any sense?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Jen's Victory Garden Blog

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 4:12PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

snowman - the spacing was correct, but only a few fruit should be allowed to develop on each vine, so a good size can be achieved on each. I didn't prune them back, and had some really small (but ripe) melons because of it.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 11:55PM
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snowmanaxp(7b NC)

Thanks Shawn Ann, Rob, Jen and EG for all of the info, and I will be waiting to see how everything turns out this season. Especially the tight plantings.

Shawn Ann and Jen, I enjoyed viewing your blogs.

Sorry EG, I'm slow this morning. So you are doing 1 per 2 sqft? I just watched the video on your blog and they looked closer than that and they also looked like you had two vines in each square. But I must admit it was hard to see for sure.

Great video though. I really enjoyed watching it.

I would like to do 6 melons in my 2x8 bed next season. Mostly to try several different kinds of melons. That's what I love about the 1sqft tomato spacing. I can do many varieties in the space I have.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 8:54AM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

Eeek !! I did not trellis my watermelon. I only allowed 2 square feet of ground space for the watermelon ... I think I am in for some unanticipated sprawling. My only saving grace is that they are planted at the edge of the bed, so I can allow them to sprawl out of the bed if necessary.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:06PM
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I didn't trellis either. BIG MISTAKE. I don't think I'll have to worry about pruning. The man's going to mow over them for sure!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Corner Yard

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 9:02PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Snowman - There are more than one plant, spaced every 2 feet. That particular box is 12" deep, so it isn't a problem at all. I'm glad you liked my video!


    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 9:55PM
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I have a north wall that has tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pole lima beans, melons, pole beans, watermelon and lastly a squash. I have a wide ledge on the backside of that wall where I have placed a cucumber and a watermelon which are in individual pots. They are running up the back side of the trellis. Everything is planted just as the books suggest but I am worried about crouding. The squash aren't producing yet. The plants are huge. I am seeing blooms and have had only one squash in the last week. I guess I just need to be patient. I can't trim back any of the leaves because I only have about 6 hours of good sun and I understand that I need all the leaves to soak up the sun.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:18PM
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EG-You said "only a few fruit should be allowed to develop on each vine" I havent done anything to my many many blooms on both my watermelon or my cantaloupe vines. I was thinking 3 blooms per vine. Is that adequate? And is this good for the cantaloupe also? I was thinking that I could allow more for cantaloupe since they are smaller but I am not sure. I want good sized, yummy cantaloupe and watermelons this year...yummmmm

Thank you ole wise one!

Grasshopper :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 1:32PM
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