Tutoring squash plant and other climbers with tendrils
How to use tendrils of the squash plant to work in your favor.The chayote squash plant (sechium edule) is from the cucurbitaceae family on which tutoring and trellising techniques may be applied for crop management and increased yields. But what is tutoring and how does it work? Training plants using a support netting method for the plant in the growing and development stage, uses vertical poles on each side of the plant (or along the whole furrow) and with trellis net tensioned in between. Supporting the plant´s stems and leaves encourages growth until the maturity of fruit and besides the benefits to the plant, it allows better fields labor management, fewer workers and disease control. The squash plant´s natural growing requirements and its needs for healthy growth includes a good climate affections, as it being a tropical plant requires of a good rain fall or irrigation, as a creeper starts developing semi-ligneous stems and branches with spiraling tendrils (as a support system) and their typical ovoidal fruits (pear shaped), with some variations of its skin with or without thorns. The easy part for this vegetable is its propagation method that provides shoots throughout their vegetative life. Peaking maturity of fruit approximately at 90 days and a life production expectancy of approximately 14-18 months. As in it’s general description we can see how easy is to grow squash plant, it is demanding regarding the soil composition as it needs it to be rich in organic matter and to be well drained, since it is affected by floods, heavy water saturation or acid soils. That is why vertical and horizontal tutoring with trellis netting is recommended as a vegetable support, since humidity excesses, the lack of aeration or sun light may increase the possibility of fungus and parasites appearing on the fruits or leaves and even in the root system. If we tutor this vegetable vertically from the stem we avoid direct soil contact, we are able to better protect the plant by reducing damage to the plant allowing foliage to grow with more density upwards, as to pollination for the flower, increasing sun light exposure which increase photosynthesis, a better aeration and air flow in between the leaves, decreases diseases and harmful pathogens for the plant. From the fruit production point of view, a healthier plant tutored with net produces better colored fruits and of a homogeneous shape; an improved handling of the plant and its fruits increases the end result to the farmer, together with a better use of fertilization and biological control. It is estimated that a a healthy chayote squash plant may produce close to 250 fruits per year. For example if we had 550 plants per hectare we could produce up to 137000 quality fruits competitively for a high margin market. Bióloga Myriam Nazario BIBLIOGRAFÍA CITADA Abdelnour, A., C. Ramírez y F. Engelmann. 2002. Micropropagación de chayote (Sechium edule Jacq. Sw.) a partir de brotes vegetativos. Agronomía Mesoamericana www.academia.edu/…/Estudio_socio-agronómico_de_la_producción_de…chayoteFAO. Cultivo del chayote. www.rlc.fao.org./es/agricultura/produ/cdrom/contenido/ libro09/ Cap2_4.htm 35 Gamboa, W. 2005. Producción agroecológica, una opción para el desarrollo del chayote [Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw.]. Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Costa Rica. 166-168 pp.
HORTOMALLAS manufactures and markets crop support nettings (trellising and tutoring as alternatives to the raffia twine labor intensive traditional system) that increase crop quality. Our Mission is to: INCREASE VEGETABLE CROP YIELD AND PROFITABILITY TO ALL THOSE VEGETABLES THAT NEED TUTORING AND SUPPORT USING NETTING INSTEAD OF RAFFIA. Since 1994 we help professional growers and farmers improve their cucumber, tomatoes, melon, zucchini, bean, chile, peppers crops where trellises and supports are needed. HORTOMALLAS is the ideal system for cucurbitacea and solonacea to improve their phytosanitary conditions, while increasing the solar exposure and the brix degrees. Besides the obvious labor costs savings, the use of HORTOMALLAS increases the life span of the plant, allowing longer periods of harvests and of a greater quality. Call us, our crop specialists will help you with specialized attention in the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula!