Earlier in the season I posted some pictures of gourds from a roadside stand. It seems like gourds are an icon of harvest and their colors and wildly varied shapes lend themselves to crafts and decorations.
They are not hard to grow, my mother used to plant some in her postcard patch of garden and we had our own harvestings in October for little cornucopias, etc. at Thanksgiving time. I think every craft store and most groceries carry them for sale.
I live in Amish country, and the Amish seem to enjoy making frugal use of things, including gourds. There are plenty of birdhouses, and feeders made from a certain type of variety, Lagenaria siceraria.
Gourds are lovely just on their own in groups of a single variety or a combination of many types. Some people paint them- I’ve seen amazing ones at the Berea Artisan center. And there are decorated gourds that have been woodburned. Some of them have a high level of artistic craft! Amazing world of gourds -interesting (maybe little known) facts.
A Few Growing Tips
- gourds can be grown in hills as you would grow squash and pumpkin, gourds that are left lying on the ground will flatten on one side and may be susceptible to rot.
- Once harvested, they will need a cool, dry place to complete the drying process.
- Let your gourds ripen on the vines as long as possible. Wait until the stem turns brown, but harvest before frost.
- Thin-shelled gourds dry best when hung in a mesh bag.
I especially like the Turk’s Turban type, Cucurbita maxima. that is the one pictured at the top of this post.
I grew some gourds in my garden one year, and was very proud of my harvest. I put a basket full on the front porch, and the squirrels ate every one! I didn’t even know they were edible.
Those darn squirrels! If it isn’t tulip bulbs or birdfeed , ti’s gourds on the porch….
I had no idea they’d do that.