One reason NOT to trellis melons and pumpkins

I have done my share of trellising projects in my garden over the last few years.  Today I would like to share with you one good reason NOT to trellis the bigger vines of melon, pumpkin, squash and gourds.

In the photo above, I have circled in yellow the area where my vines left their raised beds. If you look closely you will see that in each case the original vine has died. Perhaps due to lack of enough rain, and perhaps due to a vine boring insect (I have no idea which) all of these vines have died off in the original spot where I planted the seeds.

But look again and you will see that, indeed, they live!

These types of vines will sprout new roots anywhere they come into contact with moist soil. Given enough time, the new roots will grow large enough to support at least a portion of the vine. In this case the new roots are keeping my vines alive and growing, even through their parent plant is dead and gone.

If these were trellised, I would have lost the whole vines when the one and only set of roots died back.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks – great advice and it’s a very cool botanical quirk. I’m seeing the same thing with our butternut squash (it’s powdery mildew, though, not a vine-boring insect.)

  2. Posted by Dave on August 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for this post! I learned this the hard way over the last couple weeks. My trellised squash and melons were doing great all summer, and then suddenly the main vine turned yellow and started dying from the bottom up. Now I’m squashless. 😦

    I took the plants off of the trellis to see if they can be saved. It will be interesting to see if they recover or not.

  3. Posted by graham on February 16, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Very good point! An Austrian farmer named Sepp Holzer used the opportunistic rooting habits of kiwi vines to provide food for an entire apartment building. A kiwi is planted at ground level. When the vine reaches your balcony, just bury part of it in a container of soil to bolster the shared system of roots.

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