We've got some adorable little cantaloupe growing on our leaning trellis system. I like the idea of growing small-ish melons on a trellis for a couple of reasons:
1. in a square-foot garden like ours, space is at a premium. Getting those vines to grow vertical keeps them from taking up too much valuable garden real estate.
2. Keeping them off the wet ground should keep them better protected from rot and pesky critters.
Just left hanging, though, the melons would soon grow so big that they'd just fall off the vine. To solve this problem, each little melon gets its very own hammock in the shade!
I used old, pitted-out t-shirts to create the hammocks. I can get 4 hammocks form each shirts: 2 long strips from the front and 2 long strips from the back, discarding the sleeves.
Once a melon is about the weight of a cucumber, it's ready for its hammock, I tie each end of the hammock to the trellis, gently cradling the melon so that it still has plenty of room to grow.
Obviously, if this were a huge garden, this method would be impractical. I can't even imagine manufacturing individual melon hammocks by the hundreds! For us, though, it's very do-able. Girl 1 and I each have different varieties planted. So far, she's "winning" because she's had more melons in need of hammocks than I have. :) Oh, well. We all mature at different rates. My girls will need their own support in due time!