Monday, July 6, 2009

Grow your own gourds for Fun
Cannnonball .. basketball.. banana.. tobacco box.. long handled dipper.. penguin.. canteen.. hard shell warty
Turn these into these.................................... ~!~!~!~

Gourds are pretty easy to start and grow. If you have a sunny location and a warm summer your set. If your summer isn't a long hot one.... get a jump start with some seeds started in the house or greenhouse. You can order gourd seeds online or get them from a garden shop in some areas. I have bought gourds to decorate and used the seeds from those to grow. You have about 30 types or more of gourds to pick from.

Pre-soak your seeds over night in warm water between 2 paper towels on a plate. Set the the plate on the top of a warm appliance or on a garden heating pad. Not your home heating pad~!... It isn't water proof and you could get shocked.
The next day carefully place your seeds about an inch deep, in dirt, in a small pot or yogart size container. Put about 4 pencil size holes in the bottom of each pot.

This gives you a great jump start on the growing season. In the house they will sprout in 2-3 weeks. If they have to sit in the cooler outside soil .... it might take a month to have them come up and be happy little plants. Keep them warm with some sunlight at a window with or without the heating pad, moist and watch for them to grow their first true leaves. Once they are about 4-6 inches or all chance of frost is gone.... Go plant your baby gourd plants.

Plant them outside in an area about 10 x 10 or smaller if you have a fence or trellis for them to grow up.
Take the dirt and make a hill of dirt about 1-2 feet around and 6-8 inches tall. Scoop out a bit of the dirt to make a bowl shape on top of that. You can transplant 2-3 of your gourd plants 3-4 inches apart in each hill. Be gentle with your gourd plants tender roots. Some garden bugs love gourd plants and cause the plant to get a virus. Ask your garden shop for a nature or chemical protection plan to protect them.
Growing. Growing. Growing. Water them and then just sit back and watch. If you are growing them up a trellis give them a bit of guidance by gently training them up.

Harvesting the gourds~!... The vines will start to die down sending a message to the gourd to start hardening off. Some gourds take til the next spring to dry and get a hard shell. They can sit out in the field or garden through several frosts. Don't be sad that some gourds will naturally rot. You will be able to see the soft mushy rotten ones, so just toss them out. Try to not pick them up by the stem. A long decorative stem is very desirable and attractive. Cut your stems to your preference and get set to let them sit and dry.
Drying your gourd... They need a dry well ventilated space. On the patio under cover, in a greenhouse or under the house eaves. You can set them on a wooden palette or something to keep them from the ground moisture. Remember it may take several months for the hard shell to cure. If you shake them, you will heard the seeds rattle and they are pretty dry.

Mold on the gourd. This is natural~! Mold on the outside is different than a rotten soft mushy spot on the gourd. Gourds dry by pushing out the moisture from the inside to the outside. Don't have them in the basement or any other living area. The molds in the air can cause allergic reactions, respiratory illness in healthy or those with breathing problems in the first place. Some growers wear gloves at this point to handle the gourds.
Washing dried gourds... do this outside in a well ventilated place. I use a big wash tub and fill it with warm soapy water, get a good scrub brush and use a lot of good old elbow grease. Scrub..Scrub..Scrub till the cows come home. You may still have mold stains but the gourd will now be ready to dry again but for just a day or two in a warm place.

Decorating your uncut gourd...Now the fun starts. Paint them, apply clay to them to make a face...
Small egg gourds or bottle neck gourds are fun for children to work with. Decorate as Easter eggs, or snowmen. Paint, glue decoration on them.
Decorating, painting and gluing is just fine inside and with children working on the craft.
Carving out a gourd...Do this outside. don't breath the dust and mold... be up-wind while doing this. Remember the mold spores can cause health issues.
You can turn your gourd in to a a bird house, a bowl with a lid or a vase. So how to cut into the gourds. It depends on what kind of openings you need. I have used a hole saw to make a bird house opening. I have used a key hole saw to cut the top off for a lid... or a drill to make holes for hangers or stick decorations in. All the drilling or cutting you do needs to be done outside.
Save your seeds for next years plants~!


  1. WOW WOW WOW Sue! I am just amazed at all of the wonderful and useful things that can be created from gourds....from eye candy to bird houses, it looks like you can let your imagination be your guide! Did you paint the ones you've pictured? they're all great, but I'm loving the one w/ the doggies especially!

    Thanks for a most interesting post!

  2. Yes, I have grown all of these gourds and did the art work. Thank you so much for your nice compliment. Susie

  3. This is just wonderfully inspiring, Susie! Your art work is amazing! As a cat lover, I'm especially crazy about the little cat! Jane

  4. WOW, Susie, I love gourds and what lovely pictures you have taken to show them off...Great Job.

    VFA = Village Folk Art

  5. This is great, Susie! I've tried growing gourds without success, but after reading your info, I'm going to try again.

  6. Thanks Susie for the post! Beautiful artwork on the gourds! I had a friend give me a gourd to paint once...haven't tried it yet, but it's on my "to do" list! Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I have never tried to grow gourds, but I used to paint on them! Thanks for the lesson. I might have to try it for my grandkids...I am sure they would get a kick out of them!


  8. Susie Im so glad you posted this! I have bunches of gourds my dad grew last year and have been meaning to clean up them but just kept putting it off. Now I am inspired to do something with them.Thanks~~Pam

  9. Absolutely wonderful!! I really love your decorated gourds! They are very beautiful and original! Good work!

  10. Susie this is just amazing, thank you for sharing all the info. I've always loved to use gourds in my fall decorating and this is
    inspiring to do a bit more with them.
    I appreciate all the growing information you shared too.

  11. What a wonderful and informative post! I may have to try and grow some. Thank you so much Susie! :> )

  12. Gourds are wonderful to grow.I love the cottage gourd.That is just beautiful.You do awesome work.XXOO Marie Antionette

  13. Susie, You just put me in the mood for Autumn! Pumpkins and gourds are my favorites in the Fall! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thank you Susie,
    I'm really glad you posted about the gourds because I grew some in Georgia and they were doing well, but I moved before I could see them fully grown.
    I think I will give it another try next year.
    Your information is most helpful!


  15. DANG!!! I'd love to try to grow some, but I could never make such beautiful things from them as you do!
    Thanks so much for sharing that whole process with everyone :)


  16. What a fabulous post Susie! Your hand painted gourds are beautiful. I loved reading about the process and looking at all of your photos!

    Karen :)

  17. This is great info... it makes me want to start a gourd garden. I might just have to do that next spring. :)

  18. how interesting - thanks for posting this, Susie... I was talking to someone about this years ago and they told me to put the gourds right in my dishwasher to clean them up. Although I never tried it, I was always leary because of all the stuff that would wash off.

    Now, if you would just give us some painting lessons - I might stand a chance! :)

  19. Susie,

    Wow !.. Very detailed lesson on growing and decorating gourds ! Wonderful info and photos ! Your creativity is wonderful ! Loved the post !


  20. Susie you make it sound rather easy to grow and prepare your own gourds for painting. But first I think you have to have a green thumb, which I don't have. But your painted gourds are gourdgeous! Thanks for sharing the process with us.


We'd love to hear from you!