Red kuri, like all squash and gourd plants, spreads over vast areas as it grows. Plant red kuri vertically to maximize growing space in your entire vegetable patch!

Growing red kuri squash up a wall or an arch makes it possible to grow these delicious chestnut-tasting vegetables even on a balcony, terrace or any garden that has limited space.

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Advantages of growing red kuri vertically:

Red kuri growing vertically is a great solution for many small problems that might be encountered in traditional, ground-hugging cultivation.

  • Space is saved because the plant doesn’t need to sprawl around for light.
  • Red kuri fruits hang freely in the air which protects them from blemishes and insects that crawl the ground.
  • Maturing fruits get more sun which makes them ripen faster and sweeter.
  • Leaves are less vulnerable to fungal diseases like powdery mildew since it’s easier not to wet them when watering, and fungus spores don’t splash up to contaminate them.

Choosing the right spot for vertical red kuri:

Most important is exposure: your red kuri plant needs as much sun as it can get, even at young stages.

  • Prefer locations facing South or South-West and avoid shade from overhanging trees or buildings.
  • If walls are of a very light color like white or cream, provide for adequate watering: the intense light means the red kuri squash plants will be needing more water.

Setting up the structure:

You can either work with a lattice along a wall or set up a self-supporting structure that you can place anywhere in the garden.

Movable structures make it possible to test different locations along the garden, but a fixed set-up is more likely to last longer.

A strong lattice is set up against a wall and red kuri squash is climbing up it with a bright red fruit in the centerGrowing red kuri squash up a wall:

First of all, remember that what you build must last an entire season and support the weight of grown red kuri fruits.

  • Securely attach a horizontal support bar or rail towards the top of your wall. Use screws that are suited to the wall’s building material.
  • If possible, add more horizontal rails at two-foot intervals (50 cm) to minimize sway and movement of the structure.
  • Use coated mesh wire with a spacing of 3 to 5 inches (8 to 12 cm) for the growing structure itself. Affix it strongly to the top rail and to every horizontal rail.

Plant the squash seedlings at the bottom and water generously.

Growing red kuri squash up a pergola, arch or treillis:

Red kuri plant growing up a trellis on a low raised bedAgain, the full weight of the grown squash will weigh down on the structure which must be quite stable.

Fruiting red kuri flowers are vulnerable at the beginning stage and don’t like being disturbed. If the structure moves too much, the fruit will abort and fall off.

  • Purchase a sturdy pergola. You can also use iron bars or 2×2 in (5×5 cm) wood beams to shape the structure.
  • Iron bars can be shaped to form arches, whereas wooden beams are better suited for pyramid-like shapes or fence-like structures.
  • Between the structural beams or bars, attach coated wire mesh (size 3 to 5 inches or 8 to 12 cm). Alternatively, weave simple coated wire between structural posts to criss-cross around the shape.

Red kuri squash growing to the sky:

If you’re setting this up on a terrace or balcony, provide a large garden box filled with very rich soil. If in the garden, why not install a raised garden bed to welcome this demanding crop? Amend the soil with mature compost. One-third to one-half compost is great and the soil can never be too rich for red kuri squash.

Close-up of a red kuri tendril ready to wrap around a twig, with budWhen the first red kuri stems start growing, tether them to the wire mesh. Once red kuri tendrils have locked on, there is no need to tether the plant any longer. Wire mesh is the ideal size for the tendrils to wrap around on, since anything that is larger than a finger is a bit too large for the plant to twist around.

You can guide new growth along the structure if ever shoots are spreading too far outwards.

Red kuri fruits usually aren’t heavy enough to pose a problem for vertical growing. There is no need to “bag” the fruits or otherwise relieve the weight, as might be the case with heavier squash and gourds like pumpkins, butternut gourd or spaghetti squash.

Harvest the red kuri fruits when they’re already bright to deep red and when leaves start yellowing off.

Check on first frost dates in your area because red kuri fruits exposed to freezing don’t keep for as long. Hanging in the open air makes them more vulnerable to frost than specimens grown on the ground.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Red kuri on fence shared by Maja Dumat under © CC BY 2.0
Red kuri climbing wall shared by Maja Dumat under © CC BY 2.0
Red kuri growing on treillis shared by Noel/adobestock
Red kuri tendril shared by Amanda Slater under © CC BY-SA 2.0

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