This is going to be my second year growing mellons, so I'll give you some of the ideas I arrived at from my experiences and the tips I have picked up.
Cantaloupe is a vine that will not tolerate cold weather, and yet it also should not be grown in a spot where they get direct sunlight all day. A shaded area with lots of indirect light is supposedly best, according to the hints I got from "WEEKS SEEDS"
(I'm growing their giant varieties of both watermelon and cantaloupe this year)
Watermelon does well in full sun, Honey Dew (like cantaloupe) is best planted in a shaded or partly shaded area.
Common knowlege seems to say plant them in groups (or "Hills') of about five or six, but the best way is to set the seeds about a foot apart in a row, and train them to grow at right angles
to the row, something like the teeth of a comb. Spacing the plants apart a bit allows the roots more room so they don't compete with eachother. I also think it makes the best use of available space.
You can expect the vines to be around ten or more feet long when full grown, fifteen wouldn't be unusual.
My plan for many of my melons is to plant them along the northern border of my lot, and let them grow towards the sun (southward) which they will try to do anyway. For the ones needing shade, I have a treeline to the east that I will put the Honey Dew and Cantaloupes next to.
Plastic sheeting is a good idea for the vines to lay on, because it will keep the bottoms of the ripening mellons dry so that there is less chance of them rotting. Vines like these are almost impossible to weed around too - so the plastic also gets you around that problem. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TILL UNDER THE WHOLE SHEET - just the part where the roots of the plants will be.
You can spread mulch on top of the plastic, or bury the edges, or place landscape timbers around the edge to hold the plastic down. Or some combination of all three - you don't want the wind to get up under a big tarp! It will take off like a large sail...
Another reason for doing it this way is so that it's easier to see the vines and melons. At the end of last year when I thought the melon patches I had were completely done, I found about eight more mellons hiding here and there, several of them I nearly ran over with a riding mower!!!
"MELLON" by the way is also correctly spelled "MELON", it doesn't seem to matter which