I seem to have this problem in my yard. My gardens multiply!
I know one reason is that Theme Gardens fascinate me. I also like change and the unusual.
One year when it was time to start the crops I was again pondering the age old question, “How am I going to support the gourds?” Of course if I just let them spread on the ground I wouldn’t tackle this question year after year.
As I was enjoying the wildlife in the creek the thought of a tee-pee structure popped in my head. This would look great for the smaller ornamental gourds and could be mixed in flower beds and near bushel baskets.
I decided on one large tee-pee and several small ones scattered about the back yard. I like to separate growing the smaller gourds from the larger gourds because I save gourd seeds and don’t want them cross pollinating.
The smaller tee-pees were easy to assemble using a basic tee-pee structure of wood posts from trees and tying them together at the top. I wasn’t concerned about the weight of the ornamental gourds and thought adding flowers at the base for color and pollination benefits would be wise. I placed the pole ends in a small hole and staked the poles in place. I also planted one rattail seed (a type of radish that grows into a big bush with white flowers and a beanlike pod. They are hot!).
TIP: I plant radishes by cucumber, squash and gourds plants and let them flower. Cucumber beetles do not radishes that flower and go to seed and will stay away. I have used this method for years and have no cucumber beetle damage to my plants.
These tee-pee mini gardens would be colorful, attract bees and add interest to the yard.
The larger tee-pee was more of a project and I talked my nephews into helping. I used six large poles from trees and had holes in the ground dug to place the poles into. They were also staked and tied to make sure wind would not bring them down.They were tied with heavier cord two foot down where they met and crossed. Every two foot I placed a softer cord for the vines to crawl on. After making sure the poles were secure I started planning the rest of the gourd garden.
This garden had a large base and would hold about five different kind of the lighter weight gourds. I would clip the ends of the vines so that the growth would go into the gourd not the vine. I again planted a couple of rattail radish seeds and also added more flowers that bloom at night. The larger gourds get pollinated at night so evening blooming flowers are beneficial.
I was planning on growing Apple gourds, Bottle gourds, Canteen gourds and Dipper gourds on this tee-pee. The larger gourds needed a stronger support and I had the perfect item…. the swingset.
GARDEN TIP: As I start growing larger gourds I have to think about the weight of the gourd on the vine and if it will break the vine. I keep an eye on the gourds and if they start getting big I get out my never ending supply of pantyhose and make a sling to cradle the gourd and the the stem where it’s attached to the vine. I attach the sling to the poles or cord. This added step will protect the vine and gourd from too much weight.
Overall I grow 25 to 30 different types of gourds. I do try and limit the amount of seeds I plant so that the crop isn’t too big.
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