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.

squash plant
The trellis net provides a surface on which to hang the vines.

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.

squash plant with trellis net
The tendrils function as anchors for climbing plants or other systems tutoring and get as much light as possible.
trellising chayote Squash plant
HORTOMALLAS trellis net used in chayote squash plant cultivation is the best option against traditional methods of wire strands

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.

Raffia twine
Raffia Twine can fail and when it does the whole espalier fall to the ground like in case of this momordica charantia bitter melon. Trellis netting makes it so much easier to deal with.

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.

cucumber net
Cucumber plants like squash plants, require trellising system that can support the weight of the fruit and allow to increase the planting density.
cucumber tendril
The tendrils are attached to trellising system which reduces labor and increases the acreage.

Bióloga Myriam Nazario
Abdelnour, A., C. Ramírez y F. Engelmann. 2002. Micropropagación de chayote (Sechium edule Jacq. Sw.) a partir de brotes vegetativos. Agronomía Mesoamericana…/Estudio_socio-agronómico_de_la_producción_de…chayote

FAO. Cultivo del chayote. 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.

comentarios (0) Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cuadro verdeCategories