The trellis recycled

Same metal structure, different trellis attachments. Let’s see how the bittergourd (left) and winter melon (right) plants manage to co-exist here.

The winged bean plants finally gave up the ghost, and we stripped away their withered remains from the old structure that we were using for a trellis. It happened that there was a new bittergourd plant looking for a new home at the time, so that got planted out there, with a new ladder-like trellis that I not only grounded securely, but also attached to one of the horizontal bars.

You may recognize the design from my impromptu cucumber trellis of several months ago. It worked well so I decided to include it in my gardening repertoire.

Looking at the bittergourd plant happily working its way up the “ladder”, I realized that this structure would actually be perfect for my next generation of winter melon plants. It’s stronger than anything I can readily throw together, and was waiting, like a blank slate, to be used. I decided to use it.

My tying skills seem to improve with each new trellis attempt. Here, the vertical stands are lashed to the horizontal bar, then the zig-zag string is put in. Then, the horizontal supports are laid out and also lashed to the two perpendicular bars. I may add a few more horizontal poles to the winter melon side of the trellis. Anticipating the heavy fruits, I’ve used the strongest bars that I have. I hope they’ll be enough.

The next winter melon plant, potted, was already growing in a shady spot and winding its way up the neighbouring plants. I felt it was worth the risk of shocking the plant in doing a transplant to the ground – a measure that I hope will result in bigger winter melons in the near future. The vine was already about three metres long, and I realized that the shade didn’t suit it because the lower leaves were spotted with powdery mildew. I disentangled the tendrils and managed the transplant on a nice cool evening – the time of day chosen so as to cause less stress to the plant. I made a similar “ladder” for the winter melon plant and was impressed when the vine not only stretched all the way up to the to horizontal bar, but also almost across the quadrant that was assigned to it. I was forced to add more horizontal poles for it immediately – something that the bittergourd plant won’t need for perhaps another week. I watered it heavily with a strong dose of seaweed solution, which I’d read helps to tamp down transplant shock, and left it to rest in its new home.

The day following the transplant, I was rewarded with the sight of the newest tendrils at the apex of the vine already curling around the supports. I guess that means the vine will survive. I hope it does!

And so the trellis will now start a new cycle, with new plants. In just a few weeks, it will be covered with growing vines and leaves, followed by male and female flowers, after which will come the fruits. I am especially looking forward to seeing the winter melons growing voraciously, and if I can project my thoughts onto the plants, it will be a bountiful harvest indeed!

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