It’s kind of like singing Christmas carols in February I guess, talking about cantaloupe in November. But it’ll be a long winter, so I’m ok with that.
Last spring I had some extra tomato cages, the ones made out of 5′ concrete reinforcing wire. There was quite a bit of information available about growing cantaloupe vertically on fencing, but not much at all about growing them in cages. This made me a little leery of the concept, but I plunged in anyway (the cages are marked in red, because they’re a little hard to detect). I placed a piece of cattle panel over the top of the four neighboring cages, just in case the vines needed more support or real estate once they made it to the top…
As the melons grew, things became more and more hopeful. I watched them daily and restrained the over-eager pioneers that wanted to shoot right to the top by winding them around the circumference. Baby melons started to appear and I made sure to train them to grow outside of the cages, because the openings are only 6″ (one drawback of the system). The melon hills thrived and grew nicely up the towers.
But disaster struck before they could be harvested. The beautiful healthy cantaloupe and watermelon crop was attacked by a soil-borne virus and died within a week.
The extension agent I talked to said there was nothing I could do. So I may try one cantaloupe tower next year, but it was too wrenching an experience to repeat. Live and learn.