The first time you grow lucious melons vertically, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to discover why up is the only way to go. Smaller varieties grace arbors and trellises, where their personal-sized melons are kept off the ground, making them less prone to attack from insects and fungal diseases. The varieties mentioned here don’t need slings to support fruits as they ripen because the vines generally are strong enough to hold them without breakage.
Melons require a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5 and are best direct-seeded into the garden shortly after the danger of frost has passed, though they can be started in peat pots indoors under grow lights and moved out to the garden in late spring.
The variety Serenade produces baseball-sized melons with smooth, pale-green skin and aromatic, flavorful orange flesh. The Sivan F1 Hybrid is a charentais-type melon with deep-orange flesh and a sugary-sweet flavor. Each fruit averages 1½ pounds. Eden’s Gem is an early maturing variety with softball-sized fruits and luscious, green flesh; the French variety, Delice de la Table, weighs in at 1 to 2 pounds with orange, deeply ribbed skin and an appealing sugary-flavored, pale-orange flesh.
About the Author: Horticulturist Jessica Walliser dreams of growing Eastern Prince, a fruit-bearing magnolia vine, in her zone-6 garden. She is co-host of KDKA radio’s The Organic Gardeners in Pittsburgh and author of several gardening books, including Grow Organic (St. Lynn’s Press, 2007) and Good Bug Bad Bug (St. Lynn’s Press, 2008).