Vertical Melon Growing – How To Grow Melons On A Trellis

Melon Growing On A Trellis
hanging melon
(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Becca Badgett)

Who wouldn’t like the luxury of growing watermelons, cantaloupes, and other luscious melons in a backyard garden? Nothing tastes more like summer than a ripe melon straight from the vine. Melons grow on very sprawling vines that can take up most of a garden bed though. The perfect solution is growing melons vertically.

While these fruits are heavy, you can grow melons on a trellis as long as you create a strong support system for the vine and each fruit.

Vertical Melon Growing

Few gardeners have all the growing space they would like. That’s why the vertical vegetable garden has become popular. Using trellises allow you to produce more crops than you otherwise would and often healthier crops too. This includes vertical melon growing.

Vining plants that sprawl on the ground are also vulnerable to insect pests, fruit rot, and other diseases. Growing melons vertically, that is up a trellis, allows for better airflow that keeps foliage dry. In addition, fruit is held above the wet ground and far from crawling bugs.

Trellising Melon Vines

Vertical melon growing shares all of these benefits. When you grow musk melons or even watermelon vertically, you use significantly less garden space. A single melon plant grown horizontally can occupy up to 24 square feet of garden space. Trellising melon vines has some unique issues as well.

One of the issues with growing melons on a trellis involves the weight of the fruit. Many fruits and veggies grown vertically are individually small such as beans, cherry tomatoes, or grapes. Melons can be large and heavy. If you are willing to build a strong trellis system and attach the fruit well, trellising melon vines can work very nicely.

Tips for Growing Melons on a Trellis

You’ll need to be sure to install a trellis that will hold the weight of the melon vines and ripe fruit. Encourage the vines to climb by training them up a support system such as concrete reinforcing wire. Getting the vines up the trellis is only half of the job of growing melons vertically.

Maturing fruit will hang on the melon vine from stems, but the stems aren’t strong enough to support the weight. You’ll need to provide every melon extra support to prevent them from falling to the ground and rotting. Create slings made of old nylon stockings or netting and cradle the young melons in the slings from the time they are a few inches (7.5 cm.) in diameter until harvest.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.