The Q&A Archives: Charentais melons grown on a trellis?

Question: I am going to try to grow some Burpee Charentais Melons. I have a small concrete patio garden with several small patches of exposed dirt around the edges. I have one very sunny spot with about three square feet of soil. I would like to grow Charentais Melons on a trellis in this spot. Will it work and how many seeds should I plant, what type of trellis should I use, and how should I prepare the soil?

Answer: You can grow almost any melon on a trellis as long as you provide support for the developing fruit. Watermelons might be too much of a challenge, but Charentais melons should be fairly easy to support by making a sling out of expandable material such as old nylon pantyhose and placing each fruit in a sling. Prepare the soil by incorporating lots of organic matter (aged compost, leaf mold, or aged manure). This will help it drain well, retain just the right amount of moisture, and provide nutrients to the roots of your plants. The size plot you have will probably support 2-3 plants. Sow about 6 seeds, just so you can choose the most vigorous plants when they come up. You'll need a rather sturdy support system for the mature vines and fruit. A ready-made wooden trellis will work, especially if you place two on adjoining sides of your garden plot and wire them together. You can customize your trellis so that the wings go beyond the edges of your garden. When the vines begin to grow, they will disguise the trellis. After several fruit have formed you can pinch the ends of the vines out to stop additional vine growth and to direct the plant's energy into ripening the melons.

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