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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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  • Just for the record, C. melo will climb more easily than watermelons. You'll probably want C. melo varieties that don't slip when ripe (some of those can well support the fruit on a trellis, as long as they have enough potassium, calcium and such). C. melo loves support (although I prefer big cages to trellises). Apr 5, 2022 at 0:55

2 Answers 2

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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, 2014 at 16:36
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    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, 2014 at 17:10
  • @Bamboo there are a lot of practices that have been mostly forgotten. Modern life isn't as efficient as it once needed to be for survival.
    – Escoce
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:26
  • @Escoce - well, I think its more about societal change in that Victorian houses that once employed 20 gardeners no longer exist and back then, you couldn't buy melons in the shops here either - now, who's got the time for all that netting of fruits? Only someone who's fully retired but still fit, I'm guessing...
    – Bamboo
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:29
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    @Escoce - oh don't, I try not to think too much these days, its far too depressing, Mankind seems to be very far off course one way or another but then maybe its always been of course - power and money seem to matter most...
    – Bamboo
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:44
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I have used this method for 9 years using the same cattle fencing 16' x 50" with awesome results. So easy to train the vines. When hanging the the larger 20-30 lb melons I strip tie 1/4"d x 2"w x 60"L furring strips or 1/2 pvc cut to width above and below where the melons are falling, this prevents the melon from putting too much stress in one area and distributes the weight evenly across the panels width. I also use T-shirts in place of stockings for the heavier melons and they work great. Similar to a hammock.

The smaller melons and cantaloupes don't require much preparation and I tie the ends of the stockings to the panel and cut a small hole in the center where I'll place the baby melons, this works great and prevents the stockings from tearing and allows plenty of room for the melon to expand. Plus size stockings a must.

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