We have a problem in growing mirlitons (chayote, Sechium edule) in Louisiana with early frosts killing the vine before it can flower (October-November). Currently people use a sprinkler system which is wasteful, but I recently read a suggestion that we grow on a hops trellis that can be lowered onto the ground and covered with straw for the frost duration. I would appreciate any ideas of a 7' high horizontal trellis that can be temporarily lowered to the ground, perhaps with pulleys. We typically use cattle panels, wire fencing, and netting for the trellis so that it is light-weight. Any ideas? Thanks
See examples of current trellis systems on our photo page at:
The system I've seen for hops is like a may pole with a hinge and pin on the bottom. When ready for harvest you pull the pin and drop the pole and attached trellis to the ground.
You could modify this to have several poles with trellis between. With a pulley system in place you could pull all the pins and then lower all the poles onto one side
The traditional Hops trellises I've worked with are pole, cable and string affairs.
The poles are set in the ground and the cable is over the top of each pole (to be able to drop the cable they use pulleys along the tops of the posts).
They then use double twist strings and "tent" stakes as the climbing structure for the hops, to harvest they cut the strings by running a knife along the cable.
If you made your cable long enough so you could lower it to the ground, you would have the system you are talking about.
I would think that by coiling the excess from raising the cable into place, using a cleat and a piece of rope to tie the extra cable to the end pole, you would be setup nicely for dropping the vines so you can protect them from the frost events.