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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Building A Snake and Apple Gourd Garden: For Drying not Eating!

I love gourds. I can't tell you why. It might even be a bit odd. I am fine with that.  I grow them out of interest and for my kids. Gourds come in dozens of shapes and if you let the dry on the vine, they last virtually forever. They can be stained, glazed, and painted. Some can even be turned into birdhouses, hence the birdhouse gourd.

This project can easily be used to grow edible squashes, gourds, cucumbers, and anything that climbs. I am going to present this in pictures mostly because it is self explanatory.

The keys to this project are:


  • Make sure the supports are strong enough to hold the weight of the crop
  • Keep the plants spaced, so they can grow to full size
  • Add extra supports when in doubt
  • Manage for disease, specifically powdery mildew and other mildew (yes sulfur spray or dust)
  • Add fertilizer to start. Gourds feed heavily as do most vine crops
  • Vary the way you tie the horizontal string supports to the posts

The Empty Space to be Turned


The plot was covered in that wood that is now stacked behind it. That wood was used to build my bench supports for my transplants.

Turned

Five Stakes to Support the Weight of 4 Gourd Plants

The Gourds Grown from Seed and Peat Moss Amendment

Dig the Hole.  Add Amendments and Fertilizer.  Gourds Feed Heavily.

Gently Break Up the Root Ball and Plant

A Planted Snake or Apple Gourd

Jute Strung Post to Post to Support the Growing Vines

It is important to tie the jute/string to different posts and in different ways so the weight of the vines and gourds bares in various ways across the whole support. Notice the bottom string is tied (left) brown post to (right) white post. The upper sting is tied from (left) brown post, (behind not tied) past the white post, and (right) tied to the brown post. Just do this randomly. The supports will be stronger in the long run.

Side View to See the String Supports

The Four Gourds and Support System