Many people have asked me over the years “How long will a gourd vine grow?” or “How much space in my small garden should I dedicate to growing a gourd plant?” My answer has always been that one gourd plant will take over your whole garden. The vines grow so long that they would reach to the top of a telephone pole if allowed. I can tell from their expression that my answer is a little hard to believe. Is it really possible that any plant can grow that much in just four months? I think the amazing gourd plant can and we are going to try a little experiment to see.
We didn’t think our local power company would appreciate us trying to grow one on their poles so we dug a deep hole and planted our very own forty-foot telephone pole. Digging the hole was pretty routine, but convincing that heavy telephone pole to jump into the hole and stand up straight was a much bigger challenge. Fortunately, we have a kind neighbor with a backhoe to help persuade it. I definitely would not recommend trying to do this at home, it was a bit scary. Next, we took two gigantic pots and filled them with a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and topsoil. From our fields, we took two healthy baby gourd plants and planted one in each of the pots. With a touch of fertilizer and a lot of water, our babies are ready to start their journey.
These two gourd plants will get all the love and attention we can give them for the next four months. Every day we will check to see if they need water, fertilizer or a little pruning. We will hand train the vine until they get too high to reach. We will do whatever we need to make this experiment successful. Our biggest concerns are the things we can’t control like certain diseases; severe thunderstorms or a cold, wet summer. With a little luck and skill, we hope to be happily surprised by these amazing gourd plants.
For those of you who don’t have the patience to just sit and watch a gourd plant grow inch by inch, we have decided to turn this little experiment into a game. We are still figuring out all the ins and outs of how the game will be played but this will all be figured out just in time for our July 15th newsletter. All the rules and how-tos will be listed in that newsletter and also on the homepage of our website under “The Amazing Gourd Plant”. The concept of the game is for you to guess how much the plant will grow in about a two week period starting on July 15th. You could even win one of three gourds if your answer is one of the closest to the actual growth. Make sure to read the mid-July newsletter to get all the details and to see what gourds are up for grabs to the winner for the first week.