Sunday, May 17, 2015

Giving Melons Room to Grow

My dilemma: How to contain the 6 melon varieties in my small space and maximize my yields? I decided to place a row of fencing across the middle of the bed to make the vines climb up and over as they spread into the empty zone. This will allow the vines to grow longer in the same amount of space. Longer vines will make more melons and I can hardly wait for the harvest!

This year I planted my favorites (Hale's Best cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Crenshaw) and some new varieties (Saskata's Asian melon, banana melon and Sugar Baby watermelon). I have pruned the vines to train them to grow from left to right in this photo. 
They follow the sun so they want to grow that direction, so that is why they are planted to the left. That allows room for them to spread. The problem is, the space is small. By going vertically, I hope to reduce the crowding and promote better air circulation. This will hopefully help with the mildew that will be coming soon. 
Last year my melons were amazing. They grew up an over my rabbit fencing that surrounds my garden. They grew beautifully suspended by the fence, so I know the rabbit fencing is strong enough if it is supported every four feet by a metal "T" stakes. 

I am also training the vines to climb the perimeter fence by poking the escaped vines back through the fence. My goal is to try to arrange the vines so that the flowers are on the inside of the fence. We definitely want the melons forming on the inside or my dad's dog will help herself to them like last year.

Vines escaping through the fence.
Vines trained to grow up the fence from the inside. I carefully place the tendrils in contact with the wire to encourage them to grab a hold.
There are lots of flowers blooming, and with this obstacle to climb there is plenty of room for the melons to grow.
Fingers crossed!


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