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are supports necessary for squash/melons with long vines?

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a ( on
Tue, Mar 8, 11 at 19:17

I made a post recently asking for plans for supports for stuff with long vines (any sort of melon and any type of squash).

Basically are supports really necessary for non-bush plants that have long vines (by bush types I mean squash and melons that have shorter vines and a more compact growth habit compared to stuff that sprawls with its growth habit and has very long vines). Will it hurt the plant if I don't use supports( put stress on the plant, make it more prone to disease, etc.)

Would I have to worry about the fruit snapping off of the vine due to the strain of weight being put on the plant if I didn't use supports (such as a trellis, a cage.....anything for the vines to climb on)

The varieties of plants with long vines I want to grow (watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew) although they have very long vines and aren't bush types, their fruit is smaller and weighs less compared to some other melons.

Here is what I'd like to grow listed below...

Tasty Bites Cantaloupe: each fruit weighs 1-3/4 pounds to 2 lbs. (don't know how many fruits each plant bares, doesn't specify)

Discus Buttercup each plant bares approx. 3 squash, each one 3 lbs. (this is a bush type, I'm just concerned about the weight......if you grow with no support, if the vines will snap off, or if the fruit will snap off from the vine); it's pretty much weight range of 3-12 lbs.

Butternut squash (the variety yields 4-5 squash per plant, each is 1-1/2 lbs. so basically 6 to 7-1/2 lbs per plant; again it's not the vines I'm concerned about it's no support with that much weight being supported by the plant with nothing like a trellis, etc. for it)

Watermelon. This is basically what I'm concerned about. Although the fruits are smaller compared to other melons (2-4 lbs. per fruit) it yields 3-5 fruit per plant which is about 10-20 pounds.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: are supports necessary for squash/melons with long vines?

Long-vined squash, pumpkins, melons, etc. are customarily planted directly into the ground rather than in containers. They have huge root systems to go with their long vines. The vines are permitted to spread along the ground -- 10, 15, 25 feet or more -- and the fruits develop right there on the ground in perfect safety.

I wouldn't dream of growing any of my long-vined favorites with the 12 and 15 foot vines in a container any smaller than a half-barrel and then only a single plant rather than a full hill. For a full hill I'd want at least 4'x4' square by a foot or more deep (for a closed container rather than a raised bed placed over dirt).

Any book on container gardening will have information about what you can plant in what sort of pot and what will and won't require supports.

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