melons for northern cooler climates, WI
I grew a few melons (Pride of WI, Netted Gem, Anne Arundel) this past year, but was mainly disappointed. It was a tough, tough summer with very cool temperatures and growing conditions for melons. Living between Madison, WI and Milwaukee WI, in zone 5, the season felt more Zone 4-ish. June was especially cool with highs only reaching the 60's, with plenty of cold rain. I think I've learned a bit in the process (I'll use black plastic mulch next season,) but I think I need expert help to really have great success next year. I wonder if you wouldn't mind helping answer a few questions? I'd like to introduce my kids to great home-grown melons.
What melon varieties have proven to do well in cooler climates? I'm open to melons from all regions (NA, Eur and Asia.)
As I mentioned, I'll use black plastic mulch next year, but do you recommend trellising for improved yields and for combatting cool weather? In combination with black plastic?
When trellising, what's the ideal distance between plants? How strongly do you feel about trellising? I have adequate space to allow rambling, but willing to trellis for more, ripe melons (though would prefer less work :)
My soil conditions are good, and I continue add organic material like grass clippings and leaves. Do you recommend anything else to help melon growth?
Thank you for whatever help you can provide. I hope this is the correct forum. If not, please advise if other forums are more suitable.
Best wishes, Rod McCrimmon