Growing Watermelon Vertically
It can be done! With some caveats… (see below)
We’re growing watermelon vertically! But, we’re doing it a little differently than you may be used to seeing, by mixing ground growth and using tomato cages for vertical support.
We’re doing this so we can grow more watermelon in less space and keep our plants contained in their growing area!
Watermelon, even though you can grow one every other Garden Grid square (here’s a quick video about that), will grow vines that cover far more space than those two squares. Which is okay! The vines will commingle with other watermelon plants until this ground area is covered, and then eventually grow outside of your garden bed… which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to keep a tidy garden, limited on space, or have curious furry friends (we’re speaking from experience here).
This is where vertical support comes in. By adding vertical elements, the vines can grow along the ground and as the ground gets covered, they can then grow upward instead of outward. This helps you keep everything more contained in your planting area. Some vines may still venture out, but you can simply move them back into your garden, onto the vertical support. Here are tips for adding vertical support when using a Garden Grid™.
1) Watermelon Types. We’re growing Sugar Baby watermelon. This is a smaller, lighter variety of watermelon making it easier to support vertically with something light like a tomato cage. Large watermelon varieties may prove too heavy for tomato cages, so something stronger for vertical support will likely be needed. Also, keep in mind that even though you can grow one watermelon plant for every two Garden Grid™ squares, you don’t have to. You can grow less, which may be preferred for really big watermelon varieties.
2) Supporting The Vertical Melon. As the fruit matures it of course will get heavier. Fruit and vegetables that are grown vertically and hang, often grow a thicker stem in response to the weight, so it doesn’t fall off. However, we get intense storms with a lot of wind and don’t want to risk a swinging melon falling off of its stem. So, we will be supporting the melons as they mature. You can do this in a variety of ways, but in general, you can take a cloth or fabric and make a sling that ties to the vertical support and goes under the melon to help keep it in place.