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I ran across someone mentioning a list of plants that could be trellised to save space in the garden. The list included plants I think make sense, like peas and tomatoes and beans. But melons were included in that list, which I thought was kind of strange.

I know that they're a vine plant, but there's no way it could support the fruit hanging from it. So how would you trellis a melon plant?

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Slings made out of nylons appear to work. For more information, you may want to read this article from Square Foot Abundance.

melon sling made out of nylons

Now, there are some important things to consider.

  1. Melons are heavy, so they will require a very sturdy trellis. This means you'll need to sink the posts deeper than usual and also use a thicker material for the vines to climb. The article recommends livestock panel, which is a steel grid with roughly a 1/4-3/8" diameter. I suspect you could make one with some small rebar and a welder as well.
  2. Melons are water intensive to begin with, raising them off the ground will intensify this. Just like any other trellised plant, the distance from the ground means they'll need more water than they would otherwise.
  3. Melons won't want to climb the trellis on their own like pole beans would. It will take some gentle training to get them to climb. (If they will climb at all, you may need to tie the vines to the trellis.)
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There are some that climb on their own, like Minnesota Midget, to name one. –  J. Musser Aug 25 '14 at 16:36
In the UK in Victorian times, mesh slings were always used to support the weight - melons were invariably grown up and tied into supports on a wall, for the extra heat from the brickwork and often, the fire pits set into the walls, which kept the walls warm in autumn and winter, if necessary. –  Bamboo Aug 25 '14 at 17:10

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