Rob Smith makes ham­mocks to sup­port his melons!

I need to keep my lovely fruit out of Win­ston the dog’s reach!

Garden News (UK) - - Contents -

There may not be as many seeds to sow or things to plant out at this time of year – in fact, it’s nice to be able to pot­ter around the plot and ad­mire your crops and hard work. That said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of jobs to be get­ting on with this week.

In the green­house, there’s the con­stant chal­lenge of keep­ing up with har­vest­ing, es­pe­cially the cu­cum­bers and toma­toes; with ‘Mer­lin’ and ‘Su­gar Plum Raisin’ be­ing in­cred­i­bly pro­duc­tive al­ready. And it’s not too bad a prob­lem to be swamped with crops, es­pe­cially as my lit­tle dog Win­ston is for­ever help­ing him­self to cu­cum­bers!

As my lit­tle furry friend seems to help him­self to any fruit within range, I’ve made sure my wa­ter­mel­ons are firmly out of his reach. The fruit are swelling nicely and start­ing to pull the plants down the net­ting. For this rea­son I’ve cre­ated a melon ham­mock out of a piece of old cot­ton cloth. Us­ing cot­ton pre­vents any mois­ture stay­ing on the fruit and caus­ing any po­ten­tial fun­gal prob­lems, but means it stays breath­able at the same time.

To make the ham­mock I cut the ma­te­rial around 25cm (10in) square and tie the four cor­ners firmly with Twool gar­den twine. This gar­den string (from www.twool.co.uk) is made from sheep wool and not only is it sus­tain­able, but it also has some slight elas­tic­ity and won’t cut into plants or fruit if it gets too tight, like jute can. When you’re mak­ing the ham­mock, al­low enough ma­te­rial for the fi­nal size of fruit, then sit your melon on the ma­te­rial and tie all four strings to­gether with some ex­tra to spare. I use around 45cm (1½ft)of Twool on each cor­ner, then con­nect the ham­mock to an­other piece of string tied to the green­house sup­port. I also raise the melon up slightly so there’s no down­ward drag. As the melon de­vel­ops it’ll put on more weight and be­gin to pull more; the last thing you want is for the fruit to rip the plant from its sup­ports.

Try to avoid wet­ting the fruit or ham­mock and check your fruit ev­ery time you wa­ter to keep it in tip-top con­di­tion. The ham­mock should en­sure you’ve healthy, sup­ported fruit un­til you come to har­vest.

This makeshift ham­mock will stop the plant be­ing ripped from its sup­ports

GAR­DENER The glo­be­trot­ting Win­ner of The Big Al­lot­ment Chal­lenge and a seed guardian for the Her­itage Seed Li­brary ROB SMITH

Will a ham­mock keep Win­ston from snack­ing on my melons?

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