Inspired by Vegetable Orchestra, the Vienna-based orchestra that plays instruments made of fresh vegetables, a scientist is growing trumpets and guitars in collaboration with the band.
Wolfgang Palme from the Horticultural College and Research Institute Schonbrunn is working with the 13-year-old musical band to develop the next generation of carefully cultivated instruments.
Palme approached the musical group, which has played its experimental pieces in concert houses all over the world, because he is interested in promoting the diversity, beauty, and seasonality of vegetables to the public.
The orchestra told Palme that they could use two new types of instruments in particular: trumpets and guitars.
For both, Palme thought gourds would be a good choice, in part because they can be dried and used over and over.
To create these new instruments, he is taking two approaches: First, he bought the seeds of some unusual cultivars that grow in trumpet- and guitar-like shapes, and he's growing them in the outdoor garden.
Second, he is adapting an ancient Chinese technique of growing gourds into forms, or moulds.
For the instruments, the Vegetable Orchestra made plaster casts of trumpet shapes, both straight and spiralled. They also bought a cheap ukulele to use as a mould.
Palme has hung the moulds in a greenhouse and is attempting to coax gourds to grow into them. He says that strings for the guitar will likely come from cucumber or melon plants, which have strong fibers.
"I think it will be successful," New Scientist quoted Palme as saying.