I'm looking for suggestions on how to make a gourd trellis/ arbor. This is a picture of what I got so far.
I've looked high and low and still haven't decided how to build the thing yet. Pics would be great!
Okay the plan is starting to come together. I got some free wood off Freecycle and also purchased a few pieces from Home Depot. Also found a somewhat cheap source of bamboo poles. This thing will be 6.5' tall x 4' wide x 16' long. I'll update the pics as my work proceeds. Does that sound like plenty of room for some Loofas planted 18" apart?
Mornin'...Dean, I am such a gourd beginner i couldn't be a good source of advice. I am really good at watching from the sidelines and saying "yeah! that's lookin' great!" Please post lots of pics because i am going to need something for my 6 bottle/birdhouse gourd plants to hold on to after they spill over the side of the raised bed. I can use your trials to plan and build mine... heheheh! i read on another thread about a cheap material called a masonry ladder. If i understand correctly they are long and thin but very strong. I will try to link it later for you. They are less than $3 at the big box home improvement stores.
Almost done building this thing. Need to add some cross beam on the top and finish the trellis part so they can climb up. Hopefully the support on the top will be enough to handle the weight of the gourds that I'm hoping for. Because I used 1x2s there.
Jeez, all in one day! I think with the cross beam in place you will be in good shape. The trellis( is that the square wire in the pic?) will take up some of the weight. Yours looks as good as the ones on a professional gourd farm site (www.grandgourds.com... go to growing, and there are pics of the trellis set up there) sorry i can't figure out how to link for you.
Have you grown gourds before? What are you going to do with the luffas? My gourd plants are still babies, but i have high hopes. I expect to make a big splash on the birdie real estate scene in my yard next spring! Possibly diversify into toad abodes. This is my first try at gourds.
Yes, there is some square wire in that pic. At first I was debating running it along the side. But now I'm thinking of putting the cross beams atop the structure then put the wire fencing up there. Then I'll have to figure out something different for the side that will have the gourds growing on it.
I've seen that website before. I tried contacting the guy, but couldn't seem to make the message screen work.
Yes, I have grown gourds once before. Must have been 20-30 years ago. When I was living in the country I planted a few on the back side of a pig pin. They were growing like gang busters everywhere across the ground and into trees. There actually edible when young. I wanted to try a few out to find out what they taste like and let a few develop for the seeds and sponge. I hear you on the high hopes thing. It's the same for me here if they don't cover this structure I may be disappointed after all the work I invested in this thing.
Looks Great! Very professional. Your Loofas should feel privileged to grow on it. I showed this to my husband, and i think we will use it for a model. I guess i was underestimating my gourd's needs by thinking an old card table frame with lattice on the top would suffice. It won't. So, Thanks for the inspiration.
I'd love to see a picture of your gourds once they have grown up the arbor.
Dean, I think your trellis looks great! Are the legs anchored to the ground at all? I grew louffas a few years ago with good success; a neighbor had given me seeds believing they were okra since he had harvested them when small. I let some mature and dry on the vine for sponges. Good luck!
No, the legs are not anchored at all. But the holes are 18-24" deep depending on the elevation. I'm hoping that'll be enough to keep the wind from blowing it over. I still need to add the trellis part to this thing. I'll post some pics when they start to grow.
Yeah! I wanna know too. What do the luffa blossoms look like? and how is the trellis holding up?
Mine are starting to scoot pretty fast, and the flowers are very pretty. I have only had male flowers, but today i saw a few teeny tiny female buds. They are very cute with the curvy form of birdhouse/bottle gourds.
I set up a trellis but the gourds didn't seem to care. Mine are all over the place; i think I have about 20 that will come to maturity. But the vines (which I have now tipped) are all over the trellis, the fence, the ground, my neighbor's tree... It has taken them a long, long time this time -- I would guess I planted them at least five months ago -- and they are nowhere near "ripe."
Why such unrulyness? has the weather been different than other years?
I didnt get much vine growth, at least not what everyone warned me about. I was afraid they would take over, but this was my 1st try. Big plans for next year are beginning to hatch in my gourdy little brain. (sinister laughter...heh heh heh)
Speaking of sinister, anyone know of a thread, etc. that has some pics of halloween themed gourds?
Hhmmm... that is great, since mine are to end up in the trees. Oh, but if too tall to pick, then how to get a hole in it ? Duh. That is the problem with me, never thinking thru to the end. *sigh*
I guess i oughta get organized to plan out the trellis/structure for next year. anyone know if morning glories would grow well with the gourds? I also thought about the cardinal climber vine, or even hyacinth beans. I am hoping for it to be pretty enough once covered with vines to be a backdrop for a hummingbird and Butterfly garden.
scarletbean, mine are growing with some accidental honeysuckle, which didn't seem to hurt them any. Some are finally beginning to lose their green. I will post pictures eventually. I'm sure you could figure out a way to get them out of trees? Although they don't seem to have any limit, so maybe not.
Sigh. Rotten news. For some reason, and an experienced gardener could probably tell me what the reason is, the vines died before the gourds could dry on the vine. I am still leaving them on there in the hopes that they won't just rot, but I don't know that this is possible. Anyone out there know? If they are just going to rot, I may as well pull them up and start preparing the garden for next year.
The question is are the gourds rotten? Is so then all is lost. But if the vines died, as they would normally at the end of the season, but the gourds aren't rotten, then everything should be okay.
If the gourds are firm remove them from the vine being careful to leave the stems intact. Then put then in a dry place with plenty of air circulation. This can be outside, just under cover and off the ground. This helps them dry faster. Leave them alone until they are dry and light weight and when shaken the seeds rattle around inside. Depending on conditions, the gourds may take many months to completely dry and cure. Just leave them alone.
"Patients is a virtue, possess it if you can. Found in some women but rarely in a man!!"
Thanks, helenchild. Several of them are still attached to the vine; a few are obviously rotten, and I am discarding those. I thought I would just leave them all on the vine until either success or failure was apparent, but in order to get the garden ready for spring, I really need to remove the vines. I will do as you suggest (I have a screen porch which will do for leaving them alone) on some of them, and leave what I can out in the garden. Fingers crossed! There are some gorgeous gourds and it kind of breaks my heart to lose them.
brigidlily, mine did the same thing, the vines died with the gourds still growing. I left them for a while and then just did exactly like helenchild advises. i only lost one out of 7 to rot. the others have dried out fine and dandy. I am making plans to stain/varnish a couple over this coming weekend. I scrubbed the mold off and it sort of looks like burled wood, so i thought a wood stain might be pretty.
I wound up pulling them from the vine, and letting them sit under the table on the screen porch, and while I don't know how thick the shells are, only a couple of the very young ones rotted! So, as soon as it warms up enough to get wet outside, I will be bleaching them and HOPEFULLY making things out of them! Yay!
brendak, seems Dean_W isn't DG subscriber anymore. :-(
So I doubt he will be following up with news. Too bad. I was wondering myself.
If growing is a lot of trouble or just not possible there are a bunch of good online gourd sellers. eBay too.
Since I like to relief carve I usually buy gourds from several big growers out in CA and AZ. I do this since I need the thick shelled gourds and the ones I grow here in by yard don't measure up. For the most part they have quality gourds at a fair price, at least I think so.