Cantalope Question

Andy writes: Well, my garden is doing well and I have prolific cantalope growing. I have noticed that the cantalope vines come out of the hill, and spread all around for 10 feet or so, never penetrating the ground. So it is obvious that all the nutrients and water are coming thru the hill they are planted in.,..,
So, here is an idea I might try next year....
I plan to make a raised "hill" of, maybe, 1 foot on a side and 6 inches high, bounded by landscape timbers or a metal ring...
I figure I can just water the hill , and keep it weed free, and let the rest of the garden go to hell with grass and weeds. Since the cantalope grows ONLY from the hill, and the vines just rest on the surrounding terrain, it doesn't matter what happens to anything but the hill.....
So, does anyone have a clue as to whether this idea will work ? Or am I overlooking some basic fact of gardening that would require me to keep the surroundings weed free for the spread of the vines ?
Thanks for any discussion on this matter......
.. Oh..... and would the same apply to cucumbers and watermellons. ?
Andy in Eureka , Texas
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I'd think that the weeds will compete with your cantaloupe for water. Sue Los Banos, CA - cantaloupe country.

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The way I do it is to mound up some of my best dirt with some manure in it and run a piece of drip hose down the middle. You won't be able to get in and water too well once the vines start growing. It's a big plant and as all the water's coming from that little mound it needs allot of water. I mulch around the mound. I've used plastic and also newspaper covered with grass clippings. If you leave it bare the weeds will comperte with the vines for light and go to seed too.
This works well as a garden rotation method as the melon patch mostly rests for a season. Then I move it the next year to another spot. If you're putting a garden on grass it's good for that too as the only spot to clear is where the mound is. The grass dies under the mulch and is ready for the next year.
Watermelons are the same. Right now I have a mound about the size of a grave. I'm trying a mulch of green plastic which is supposed to be good for melons.
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[snip]
I think you/ll find, as the season wears on, roots emerging from the vines well away from the hill.
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TQ wrote:

Andy comments:
Well, the cucumber season is about over and I have gotten dozens of them, and there are NO roots from the vines other than in the hill.....
The cantalope are almost ripe, and the vines are 10 feet long, and there are no roots except in the hill......
Of course, I don't know what the roots under the hill do, but I really doubt that they are growing much horizontally..... The vines grow out very very quickly, and the soil is clay.....
Have you had any experience that conflicts with mine, or are you just speculating ?
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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Some vines put out "roots" which only help to hold the vine in the wind. They are not for water.
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growing.
that
vines
The roots that grow at the nodes along the vine are called adventitious roots. I see them every year on my cucumber and squash plants and have seen them on pumpkin and watermelon, too. Not sure if these roots merely anchor the vine or provide water and nutrients,too.
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I never had a problem with cantaloupe, but my watermelons suffered from sun scald (sunburn) if I kept the weeds cleaned away. That was when I lived in Arkansas and had them planted in sun light all day. I wouldn't worry about the weeds much, except that they hide snakes and small melons.
Dwayne

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While it is true that cantalupes vines grow from a base root, the feeder roots spread out underground in much the same manner as a tree. As with a tree whose roots spread out with canopy, so do cantaloupe and watermelon vines for that matter spread out undeground with the vines. They will seek out water and nutrients, Confine them too much much and you will stunt the vines. AndyS wrote:

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