How to Train Vines Over Arches
A plastic greenhouse is used. The height at the central roof ridge should be 3.2 m, while the eaves are 1.8 m high. The greenhouse should be 7 m wide.
Size of Arches
For cucumber, the arch should be 1.8 m high and 1.0 m wide. For squash, the arch should be 2.0 m high and 2.7 m wide ( Fig. 5). The arch should be made of bent metal rods, plastic, or bamboo poles.
Culture of Vines
The planting distance for cucumber is 90 x 50 cm (22,000 plants/ha); for squash it is 300 x 30 cm (11,000 plants/ha). To train the vine, growers should carefully remove the lateral branches from each plant (see Table 1). Cucumber plants should be topped.
The labor requirements for crop management and harvesting when the vines were trained under arches were 13% lower than when the conventional vertical string method was used (3,724 man-hours/ha, compared to 4,291 man-hours/ha for the conventional method). Labor requirements for harvesting were much lower ( Fig. 6). Arch training reduced the labor demand of harvesting by 56%. This was partly because the arches made the ripe fruits more visible, so that harvesting operations were more efficient.
Training cucumber plants over arches improved their photosynthetic efficiency, compared to the conventional method of training the vines on tightly stretched vertical strings. Light interception increased, because the vines at the top of the arch were lying horizontal, and secondary vines were well spaced. This resulted in better fruit yields from both the main and secondary branches. The yield from arch training was 69,117 kg/ha, 57% higher than the conventional method, which produced 44,083 kg/ha. The percentage of fruit belonging to the highest quality grade was 93% higher in arch training than the control. For squash, the arch training method gave a larger leaf area, and an increase in the yield of marketable fruit of 31%. Furthermore, arch training lowered the incidence of powdery mildew.
Complete disease control at the early growth stage is necesary, particularly of downy mildew in cucumber, since the plants are topped for training.
Index of Images
Figure 1 Vertical Strings: Conventional Method Used for Cucumber
Figure 2 Arch Training of Cucumber
Figure 3 Conventional Method of Growing Squash in Greenhouse
Figure 4 Staking: Arch Training of Squash
Figure 5 Squash Trained Over Arch Early in the Harvesting Season
Figure 6 Later Stage of Harvest Season
Table 1 Pruning and Trimming of Vegetable Vines Grown on Arches
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