As the days get longer and warmer, it’s the perfect time to embark on a new garden project (like a watermelon trellis!) especially as late spring and early summer are ideal for planting summer fruits like watermelons.
These large, round, and full-of-flavor fruits offer a ton of health benefits, provide essential refreshment during hot summer days, and can even be used as a disguise next time you need to rob a convenience store or bank!
The trouble is, watermelons are big.
The fruits weigh around 15 to 30 pounds apiece, while a single vine can reach up to 20 feet in length. To maximize on space while still enjoying the fruits of your labor, why not try growing your watermelon on a trellis instead?
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Vertical gardens capitalize on the available space, create shaded areas for other plants and animals, and give the fruit themselves better ventilation, thereby reducing the risk of fungal diseases.
With a watermelon trellis, the only thing restricting you is your imagination and budget.
The good news is…
If you’ve got a lot of imagination, you won’t need a big budget – especially not once you’ve been inspired by these 10 ideas!
Psst… Don’t miss our other post – 15 Sturdy Grape Trellis Ideas! Many of these trellises and arbors are awesome for watermelon too.
10 Great Ideas for a DIY Watermelon Trellis
1. The Simple A-Frame Watermelon Trellis
This simple style of DIY watermelon trellis by A Farm Girl in the Making is made out of almost any material strong enough to support the heavy fruit.
There are plenty available to buy, but you can easily make your own out of some off-cuts of wood and stout wires.
Many of the designs I found used twine or cordage instead of wire, but these looked a little too flimsy to support the larger varieties of watermelon. This one, on the other hand, is robust yet uncomplicated.
2 Easy DIY Watermelon Trellis
Nylon or wire mesh is supported by a galvanized steel frame that is bolted into place to create a structure capable of supporting the weight of a large watermelon vine while giving it plenty of growing space and ventilation.
Perhaps not as easy to construct as the A-frame watermelon trellis, it’s nevertheless straightforward and liable to outlast your first harvest.
3. Old Spring Bed Watermelon Trellis
I love this watermelon trellis idea by My Sweet Cottage, partly because I have an old bed I don’t know what to do with and partly because it requires few DIY skills to construct.
Strip the old bed apart until you’re left with the frame and the springs and secure it to a garden wall or greenhouse.
Alternatively, you can build your own planter and incorporate the watermelon trellis into your design.
While I’m not convinced it would be strong enough to support the larger varieties of watermelon, like the Crimson Sweet (see it at True Leaf Market) or Charleston Gray (see it at Eden Brothers), it should prove strong enough for the smaller types, like the diminutive yet delicious Golden Midget (see it at True Leaf Market).
4. T-Posts And Twine Watermelon Trellis
This clever yet simple idea by Seed Savers Exchange makes the melons decorative as well as delectable. All you need is a few T-posts and some twine.
Start by installing the metal T-posts so that they lean out at an angle. Now tie the twine to each T-posts to create the watermelon trellis.
Plant your watermelon seeds or seedlings inside the V-shaped structure, training them along the trellis. As they grow, the flowers and fruits will hang on either side of the V, creating an attractive garden feature.
5. PVC Trellis
I’m not a big fan of PVC because it perishes too easily in sunlight and, in Africa, we get a lot of that!
This lightweight, pliable watermelon trellis by DIY Network, however, is designed to be covered with melon vines most of the time, so should last at least one growing season.
One of the joys of PVC is that it’s light and easy to work with. You don’t need much DIY experience to make this watermelon trellis, and, in terms of materials, all you need is a few PVC pipes, elbow joints, primer, and some glue.
6. Arched Trellis for Watermelon Plants
Create an eye-catching feature by building a garden archway to support your watermelons!
While some designs are complex and require some serious carpentry, others can be cobbled together using a few branches and some garden wire.
We found this image at A Piece of Rainbow.
7. Mobile Trellis For Mini Melons
In some areas, the weather doesn’t play ball for the full 80-day growing period required by the watermelon, which is where a mobile trellis comes into its own.
This inventive design (found here) means you can start your seedlings off in a greenhouse and then move them outside as the weather gets warmer.
If the temperature starts to drop before the fruit starts to ripen, simply move them back inside again!
Look closely, and you’ll see the fruits have been given additional support with some innovative DIY melon slings.
8. Bike Wheel Trellis
Upcycling is always my first choice, and these bicycle-wheel trellises by For the Love of Skinny were too cool to overlook, even though they may be more suited to cucumbers and potentially not quite robust enough to support a watermelon vine.
You could probably get away with this design if you replaced the twine with wire and found some way to support the base, but only if you were growing a small watermelon variety, not if you were hoping to cultivate the world’s largest watermelon.
9. Upcycled Vintage Tool Trellis
While this design by Sadie Seasongoods looks supremely funky, it would need a little more backbone if you wanted to grow watermelon on it.
Perhaps a couple more utensils to create a more A-framed structure would do the trick?
I would also recommend using wire instead of jute, which, being biodegradable, doesn’t seem to last long.
10. Cattle Panel Trellis
Similar in essence to the A-frame trellis, this is one of the quickest to construct so, it’s ideal for those, like me, who may have only just noticed that summer’s on the way.
Built using a cattle panel (like these) with some metal posts for support, it creates an attractive arch that’s tall enough for you to walk through, giving you easy access to your melons.
Watermelon Trellis Guide
Do Watermelons Need a Trellis?
Watermelons don’t care if they’re growing up or out – they just love to grow!
Some say growing vigorous watermelon vines on your lawn works well, while others say growing it vertically prevents fungal diseases and increases the watermelon yield.
I grow mine on the lawn but just keep in mind that you can’t mow the grass underneath – it looks pretty messy!
The choice is yours but, if you’re short on space, training it to grow on some kind of climbing structure allows you to grow other things at the same time.
How Tall Should a Watermelon Trellis Be?
For small melon plants, like the Mini Love, for example, a trellis of around 6 feet is sufficient.
Larger watermelons will inevitably larger, stronger structures.
How Do You Support a Watermelon on a Trellis?
Most melon varieties need some kind of support as they ripen and there are lots of different methods for supporting them.
You could use old nylon stockings, or mesh, lattice, bamboo shelves, soft plant ties… the list is almost endless.
I even saw someone using old mesh carrot bags for the purpose which seemed to work effectively and complements the style of an upcycled vertical trellis.
You Don’t Need Acres of Space
You don’t need acres of space to successfully grow a crop of watermelons!
As long as you choose your variety with care and build trellises according to the needs of the vine, its trailing stems, and ripe fruit weight, you should be able to enjoy the health benefits of sweet watermelon all summer long.