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how much trellis for melons?

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how much trellis for melons?

Post  odessa on 7/1/2013, 5:36 pm

I've planted sugar baby watermelons, cantaloupe, and honeydew in 11 containers using Mel's volume and soil information. They're at the point where I have to build the trellises. 

The best location is a 3' wide slate path, with good sun for 12'.  To fit them all, I either have to space them one per foot or trellis both sides of the path and put them 2 deep.  My trellis will be in sections 6' high by 4' wide, and I have 6.

If I put them 1 foot apart, I could build the trellis going straight up (as normal) and then continue the netting up and over, anchoring it with tent pegs on the far side of the path.

My questions are: What is the vining pattern of melons?  Do they get wide, tall, both?  
Will either of these ideas work, or am I overcrowding?

If these are terrible ideas, I can put half of the melons elsewhere.
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  batmap on 7/7/2013, 4:04 am

I have very little experience using trellis, but melons can become quite heavy. Unless I missed something, you may be able to add pockets to hold/support the fruit. Paisley Carrot suggests "Because I trellis my melons, I always choose varieties that stay really small. Each fruit from my varieties only reach 1-2 pounds. When the melon gets the size of a baseball, I use old stockings or tights to gently support them on the trellis."
 
I grew up with large melons in the garden, but it sounds like your ideas will work. AFAIK they spread out and flower/fruit randomly across the soil, rarely climbing due to fruit size.
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  sanderson on 7/7/2013, 11:43 am

I have two 4 foot cantelopes growing up a small trellis and I use stretchy plastic string to secure them to the vertical runners. Lots of flowers all the way up but I don't know if they will get pollinated. Can't tell male and female apart at this point! I have read that support is not necessary for the individual fruits, just the stalks. The stalk will thicken if it needs to hold the weight.

I will update in the fall when I find out if the author was correct! Tiny back yard so everything has to grow vertically!
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  odessa on 7/7/2013, 1:03 pm

Sanderson, how wide is your trellis?  Is the cantaloupe growing as just one vine, straight up? 

 I'm doing this in stages, so if melons get big and heavy, I'll support them.  At the moment all I'm building is the metal and netting trellis, in 6' high by 4' wide sections.  The question is how many watermelon/honeydew/cantaloupe plants will fit in each trellis by the end of the season?
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  sanderson on 7/7/2013, 1:51 pm

The trellis is a fan-shaped type.  It is screwed to the 4 x 4 treated post that is part of our inner privacy fence and side arbor.  We tried three times to have a bougainvillea grow there, but they all died during the winter freeze.

The container with the cantelopes is a 1 foot cube so I planted 2, one seedling and one direct sow.  The greener one is from the seedling.  In the photos you can see the 2 plants secured to separate "stakes."  The plant on the right has a second vine hanging down that I need to remove.  Sniff.

Mel states that the nylon netting is strong enough for little watermelons and cantelopes, so you should be okay.  My only concern with your 6' high Mel-trellis is that the vines will grow taller.  Maybe you can just let them drop over to the other side.  I have the upper horizontal rails of the arbor to tie my vies to if they get really tall.  I think I read or saw on uTube that you can plant one every linear foot of the SFG box.  So you could have 4 cantelopes in front of each of the 4 foot wide trellises.  I don't think 4 on one side of a trellis and 4 on the other side of the same trellis would work.  Too crowded, someone is always being shaded, and the trellis could fail with double the weight.

I'm trying to visualize your set up but I am not sure if I have it right.  Are you able to install a cattle panel going up, over with a peaked roof and back down.  Some where there are photos of what I mean.  It could be awesome.  Photos of your area with pots and trellis just staged would help understand your situation.  

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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  HiDesert on 7/11/2013, 8:23 pm

I have 3 plants per 3ft wide trellis. It's a little crowded with that spacing though. Next year Im going to do 2 plants per 3ft wide. Here's a picture.


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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/11/2013, 8:38 pm

HiDesert, kewl! Smile  Your set-up is similar to one of my Tomato set-up. What kind of string are you using?
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  HiDesert on 7/11/2013, 8:54 pm

I'm using Dalen Gardeneer 5-Foot x 15-Foot Trellis Netting from Amazon. This stuff is pretty tough, I have cantaloupe, small watermelon, tomatoes and cucumbers growing up this string.
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/11/2013, 9:42 pm

The $5 15footer, or the $14 30footer? Thanks.
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  HiDesert on 7/11/2013, 9:56 pm

Its up to you. It's the same stuff just different sizes. If you have several trellis to make Id go with the 30ft one, if you only have a couple to make Id go with the 15ft one.
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/11/2013, 10:05 pm

Added to the Budget-list Smile 
(along with 20 other items already planned, like a Cherry pitter. Got any good recommendations for that too? Smile 
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  camprn on 7/11/2013, 11:01 pm

@LittleGardener wrote:Added to the Budget-list Smile 
(along with 20 other items already planned, like a Cherry pitter. Got any good recommendations for that too? Smile 
I borrowed one from a friend like this one. I pitted 4 pounds of cherries in 15 minutes with it. I think there are a few other ideas in this thread. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9437-what-s-your-favorite-kitchen-gadget?highlight=gadget

Whichever trellis that is chosen it needs be sturdy and strong enough to support all that extra weight. Additionally, the growing fruit, if it gets heavy, may need an individual sling for support. Good luck.

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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/12/2013, 12:01 am

... like a Cherry pitter. Got any good recommendations for that too? Smile 
[/quote]
@camprn wrote:
I borrowed one from a friend like this one. I pitted 4 pounds of cherries in 15 minutes with it.
Kewl Very Happy glad it works good for you. If I ever mentioned to family I found a cherry-picker for only $70, I'd be homeless Shocked ; so this one doing 4 cherries at once  http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-International-GPC-5000-Cherry-It-Multiple/dp/B0026RI3TU/ref=pd_sim_sbs_k_6 - is about our speed for $13 Very Happy 

@camprn wrote:
Whichever trellis that is chosen it needs be sturdy and strong enough to support all that extra weight. Additionally, the growing fruit, if it gets heavy, may need an individual sling for support. Good luck.
'Good luck' sounds about right. - How about transplanting them into pots (like the 12 deep ones for also sweet potatoes), and when they get too heavy to hang from the 5-foot Chain-link fence, just let them finish wandering... on the ground on top of newsy papers, since we have available space. Does that sound more doable?

Thanks for reminding me of that discussion. Good things in there too Smile
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Re: how much trellis for melons?

Post  odessa on 7/12/2013, 7:27 am

I put the trellis up yesterday after finding a different sunny spot where the tubs won't kill grass.  I put one watermelon and two honeydew or cantaloupe in each 4' section.

Meanwhile, deer ate all the blossoms off my tomatoes.  And I just figured out that it's not mildew killing my squash, it's (also) vine borers.  I might have caught it too late....we'll see.

Next year will be SO much easier!
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