Cantaloupes and other melons are among the tastiest, juiciest fruits of summer. Because all melons grow on sprawling vines, it’s smart to provide support for them and their fruit, which can grow quite large and weigh several pounds. If you don’t build a trellis for your cantaloupe vine, slugs and snails and other ground-dwelling creatures can eat your harvest before you know it’s ripe. Cantaloupes that grow on the ground also are prone to rotting because of the damp soil under them. It's wise to plan to support your vines with a trellis before you plant your cantaloupes.
Building a Cantaloupe Trellis
Plan your trellis before you plant your cantaloupe plants. If you grow them next to a fence or building, you can prop up a purchased lattice on which your cantaloupes can climb. If you will be planting your cantaloupes in an open area, you’ll need to construct a sturdy trellis that is eight feet tall by several feet wide, depending on the number of cantaloupes you plan to grow.
Construct your freestanding trellis before you plant your cantaloupes to prevent stepping on young plants. Measure the area where you want it based on the size of your lattice: most purchased lattice is 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, which is a good size for the top of your trellis.
Dig holes for your four corner posts that are 2 feet deep. Set your 2-by-4s into the holes one at a time, fill in with quick setting concrete, then mix in water according to package instructions. Hold each corner post steady until the concrete begins to set.
Attach the 2-by-2s to the tops of the 2-by-4s to make a rectangular frame. If you nail your 2-by-2s together before you place them on top of the supports, it will be easier to work with them while you’re standing on a ladder.
Place your purchased lattice on top of the 2-by-2s and then nail it in place.
Things You Will Need
- Purchased lattice
- Four 10-foot 2-by-4s
- Quick setting concrete
- Two 2-by-2s, 8 feet long
- Two 2-by-2s, 4 feet long
- When your cantaloupe vines begin growing long, train them to the 2-by-4s with green nursery tape or old nylon hose to prevent damaging the plant. You might need to tie them two or three more times to ensure that your vines grow up the trellis, but after that they should climb on their own. If you purchase plastic lattice, it will last longer than real wood lattice.