Way back in 2011, we bought one of those deck canopies with the nylon roof and mosquito netting all around from a big box retailer for whom one of us worked at the time. With employee and other discounts, I think the cost was about $200. The very first winter, we left the nylon roof in place and it was destroyed by snow load. Such is life. We should have taken it down, as the instructions warned us.
The gourds have made such an interesting and beautiful canopy, we plan to try other vines next year. It would be unwise to grow gourds repeatedly in the same spot, so next year we will try runner beans and/or hyacinth beans, to help restore the soil fertility. Gourds need heat, water, and rich soil to create that huge mass of foliage. For the earliest possible start on the season, plant the seeds indoors in peat pots. They will need about 30 days after germination to get large enough to transplant. The plants should go in the ground in early to mid-May, when the soil is warm and the weather is settled. Leave them until frost kills the vines, at which time the ripened gourds can be harvested. Martin gourds will keep all winter in a warm, dry location, and can be used for all sorts of craft projects, not just birdhouses.
We are learning about luffa and will have more to day about this gourd as our experience increases.
One of the best things about this canopy is the cost. The ill-fitting replaccement roof we ordered was about $75. Two packets of gourd seed set us back less than three bucks, and I still have seeds left for next year.