Gardeners searching for something different or unusual to grow in a home garden might opt for Chinese bottle gourds (calabash gourds) on a trellis. With a support system similar to a grapevine trellis, Chinese bottle gourds will have the strong support system they need to thrive in a sunny growing area. Provide adequate water and fertilizer throughout the growing season and a bumper crop of calabash gourds will follow at the end of the growing season.
Cultivate the sunny growing area in the spring after the last spring frost occurs. Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches with the garden spade. Add 3 to 4 inches of compost to the top of the soil. Work the compost into the soil with a garden spade.
Sprinkle the granular fertilizer over the soil using 4 lbs. of fertilizer for every 100 feet of planting row (use this application rate to figure fertilizer requirements for smaller areas). Work the fertilizer into the soil with the garden spade. Rake the soil surface smooth.
Hammer the trellis into the soil approximately 6 inches behind the point where the Chinese bottle gourd seeds will be planted and approximately 6 inches beneath the surface of the soil.
Plant the seeds 9 feet apart--calabash gourds require extensive growing room. Cover the seeds with 1-1/2 inches of soil. Saturate the soil with water immediately after planting.
Keep the soil area evenly moist while the seeds germinate. Do not allow the soil to dry out, yet do not water to the point of creating puddles in the soil.
Tie the vines to the trellis when they are long enough to reach the trellis. Attach the vines to the trellis gently with plant ties to train the Chinese bottle gourds to grow up the trellis.
Provide water for the Chinese bottle gourds if less than 1 inch of rain falls within a one-week-period. Water the soil to saturate it evenly.
Apply a second fertilizer application when the vines are 1 to 1-1/2 feet long. Sprinkle the fertilizer over the soil approximately 1-1/2 feet from the plants. Work the fertilizer into the soil with the hand rake. Water the calabash gourd plants generously immediately after applying fertilizer to ensure the fertilizer soaks into the soil.
Fertilize the Chinese bottle gourds a third time when the gourds form on the vines, following the same application technique used in Step 8.
Control weed growth around the soil area to prevent the weeds from encroaching upon the Chinese bottle gourds. Pull the weeds by hand to remove them, taking care not to disturb the shallow root system of the calabash gourds.