melons and squash in raised beds?
I posted a thread about raised beds, but this isn't the same topic, just to clarify.
First off all the varieties I plan to grow will be either semi-bush or bush and they'll have short vines; this means they're compact, bred to grow in confined spaces.
The spacing per plant is 3', and this is if they're not grown in groups in hills.
Since I'll be growing them in raised beds, are the hills not necessary?
Also since the vines are short then is it necessary to trellis them?
What would the depth, length, and width of the raised beds need to be? I realize this depends on how many plants would be grown per raised beds.
I'd like to do two rows of each variety per raised bed, one variety per raised bed (watermelon in one, cantaloupe in another, butternut in a 3rd raised bed, etc.)
Would the row spacing even apply since they'll be grown in containers? Would it be a good idea to provide the row space for air circulation?
here are the varieties I plan to grow:
Goldetti (spaghetti squash)
Bush Table King (Acorn squash)
Minnesota midget, Inspire (both cantaloupe)
With the melons, the small fruited varieties tend to yield a bunch of melons per plant; the larger fruited melons tend to yield only a couple melons per plant.
Also would I need to put the fruit in slings with the melons to support the weight of fruit? Can I do this without a trellis?
Summer ball, Gold nugget (pumpkin, 1-3 lbs. per fruit)
Yellow doll (watermelon)
Sugar Bush (sugar baby watermelon)
OK there's a lot here.
I use raised beds and containers for all my veg gardening. 2011 season I did sugar baby watermelons and waltham butternut squash. Both of these varieties are full vine producing types. I also did large indeterminant heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. To do this I have a lot of trellises and nets for the plants to climb. I made all my own trellises and nets. The little bags of nylon trellis nets are too light for these plants but may work for peas and beans. Making your own nets sounds hard but really you learn one knot and you can make a trellis net or two in an evening while watching a movie.
If you have read The New Squarefoot Gardening book he has you place weed cloth at the bottom of the beds and only use 6 or 8 inches of soil/compost grow media. I don't like this though. I find my plants grow better when they can sink the roots down deep and water usage will be less also.
I am a big fan of trellises and would push you that way. I think they greatly improve the yield of your growing space. I have about 30 feet of trellis and about 100 square feet of garden or containers. For the 2011 season I was a real geek and measured all the produce I collected from the garden and there was 112.68 pounds of produce that made it into my house.
If you were to have three 4'x8' beds oriented such that the 8' length was going running north to south I would say you can have three traditional vine melon or squash plants across the back of it and guide them up a trellis. These would be planted in the first foot of the bed and other things planted in front of them.
With raised beds you can pack things a little closer because you walk around the beds and reach in. The seed pack spacing assumes you will need to walk within a row. My theory is NEVER WALK ON A GARDEN BED. If you look at many seed packs there are two spacings given one between plants and the other between rows. With a raised bed where you don't walk inside of it you can ignore the row spacing and just use the plant spacing. That said yes you need to think about air circulation. A garden full of tall tomatoes or summer squash plants will be so thick that you ask for problems. If you were to have a few tall plants in a row with lower plants on either side you will maximize the use.
Is there anything else you want to grow in the beds? Beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, greens, basil, etc?
I have attached a sample layout for a 4'x8' raised bed. In this I have segmented it into 12" x 16" areas. I would say each of these areas is good for: (for this garden I tailored it to my tastes and what we eat)
9 to 12 bush beans
4 or 5 basil plants
2 pepper plants
1 melon or squash plant
I have a few places for you to find some good basic information:
A blog titled "Our Engineered Garden" there are years of back posts with a ton of good info. The author is a Master Gardener in Alabama and does almost entirely raised beds and containers.
Book by Mel Bartholomue The New Square Foot Garden
Book by Marty Asher The 20-Minute Vegetable Gardener: Gourmet Gardening for the Rest of Us
For both books check the library. While the info is good you'll have all their info techniques down by the end of the first season.
By all means keep the questions coming.
Well see you said you could grow three traditional varieties of squash/melons in a raised bed.
I'd be growing bush and/or semi-bush types. These have shorter vines; they're also more compact, and have been bred to be grown in confined spaces.
How many bush type melons and squash can you grow in a 4' x 8' raised bed?
Also, since they're bush types they have short vines; since they have short vines, is it necessary to trellis the vines? I also have one other question.
The guidelines for planting the seeds only give plant spacing for growing in hills; traditionally that means the plants are grown in groups per hill. However since I'm growing in raised beds, I'll be growing individual plants not hills.
What would the plant spacing be for individual melon and squash plants?
Regarding what else I'd like to grow in raised beds, probably pepper and eggplant plants; possibly okra and corn. The pepper plants would be dwarf varieties.
Last edited by Hanako; 01-21-2012 at 10:25 PM.