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My first batch of rock and/or honeydew melons are growing quite rapidly so I figured it was time to try out the trellis idea. Here's a start I made. For support I used 4 bamboo poles cut to about 1.6m each. The struts are river reeds from an outdoor garden screen I had lying around. I'll add more struts as the vines grow. Only time will tell whether the trellis will be strong enough. Fingers crossed!

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From what I have read, the fruit will need support - a sling made from a fabric (eg old stockings or rags). I am not sure that the fruit can just dangle - I assume not and when I get to it, I will be putting mine into a sling. With Rockmelons, once they are mature (but not necessarily ripe enough to eat) the vine drops the fruit off. So unless it is supported, it will crash to the ground. You've started a great idea here Joseph, the design looks practical if a little light for the job :-)
Thanks for the reminder, Elaine. I suspect the river reeds can't handle the weight of the fruits. I'll have to add stronger horizontal struts to hang the slings in the form of more bamboo canes. Hopefully there will be fruit to support! Which also reminds me, I may have to hand pollinate the flowers. If I remember rightly, these melons produce male and female flowers that need assistance in the absence of enough bees.
you could cut small notches in the bamboo and bind the twine into the notches - it would stop the twine from sliding down once it gets weight on it

Now, I'm not trying to be a smarty pants, but how does it work naturally?  Is the problem that when they grow across the ground they get mildew?  (Checking Joseph's key words.)  I'm figuring nature usually has a way of pulling this stuff off sucessfully (unfortunately, not always how us people define sucessful). 

Your plants' so advanced already!! I'm still trying to germinate mine ^^

Did you get the bamboo canes from Greenbank you mentioned?  I started building mine on the weekend too, but using what I can find from supermarket packets which are quite thin .. hopefully I'll get strength by numbers... ^^"  

yeah, these look really good!

The plants look incredibly healthy Joseph.

I would have to agree that the structure seems a little flimsy to hold vine and fruit. I use star pickets hammered deep into the bed for the peas and beans and they get pulled sideways.

Will watch with interest as I grew these for the first time last year with limited success. In fact the only melon I got any fruit off was the Banana Melon and then I had to beat the rats to it.

I've only ever grown one rock melon :(

I still haven't grown a moon and stars watermelon :(

the only watermelon i've ever grown successfully was in melbourne! how ridiculous

very disappointing! 

 

Lissa, the structure is holding up well. It is supporting the weight of 11-12 rockmelons and honeydews, each about the size of an orange with some shaped like a pear or jambu, rather deformed looking honeydews I'm afraid.

I'm very keen to see how this goes Joseph, I have very limited space here and would love to grow melons 'vertically'.  I have some wooden stakes which I use for my tomatoes, might see if I can make a frame from those.  

Someone mentioned on this site recently about looking for free bamboo to use for this trellis idea?  Well, on my way to Sunshine Coast last weekend we passed a humungus clump of it growing "wild" on the side of the Bruce Highway (up an embankment) near Nambour.  I reckon it must have been a rogue bush which escaped from the Ginger Factory, as they grow a lot of bamboo there.  We couldn't stop to check it out though, I SO wanted some!!  If anyone else is driving that way, keep a lookout for it..

disclaimer..  Tracy in no way advocates the removal of plants from the wild, nor does she recommend climbing embankments on the side of major highways to access said wild plant.  (hee hee)

be careful of snakes i would guess

@Florence, I planted these seeds at the start of Sep. I wasn't expected all of them to germinate. I've culled the weaker plants but they are still a bit crowded. Since the photo was taken a couple of days ago, most of the plants are taller than the struts. Composting the bed really does work!

Our dog groomer gave us a few bamboo poles, as you can see they are still quite green. Sadly they cut down and discarded a heap of bamboo the previous week and would have been happy to give them all away to save themselves a trip to the tip!

@Lissa, I'm hoping with the square frame and a bit of even weight distribution the structure will hold. Mind you, if (and that's a big if) I were to get 30kg of fruit, I'll be needing to go metal.

@Tracey, I saw the same thing yesterday! A huge clump of wild bamboo at Cabbage Tree Point near the power cables. Unfortunately you'll need a boat to access the site and only at high tide, unless walking (sinking) through 50m of mangrove mud and fighting your way through hordes of giant mud crabs is no deterrent.

disclaimer. Harvesting the said mud crabs may prove to be too great a distraction for some.

 

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