More detailed info
To get started, open the cork, shake the gourd, and tiny gourd seeds will come out. This is a mixed batch of seeds, so plant different shapes. They will keep for a few seasons. Gourd seeds are a bit finicky to germinate so plant several.
I like to create seedlings in biodegradeable pots in April or May (NJ that is) so that I can simple put the pot in the ground when it is warm enough. Seedlings are fragile.
Harvesting & Drying.
Cut them off the vine if they firm, green, and as large as you want them. By harvesting in August/Sept., there is still time for other smaller ones to continue growing.
Let most of them stay on the vine quite late (i.e. into October or November). The gourd farmers in Pennsylvania even leave them out in the fields all through the winter. No harm.
If you bring them inside, keep them in a warm, dry place. It takes a long time (several months) for them to dry out (they lose 80% of their weight!).
Don't worry as the white or black mold comes on, if it is excessive, just use a tiny amount of bleach in water to wipe the clean. I like some mold since it leaves such interesting patterns on the gourd skin. By March or April, they should be hard and dry. Do a final cleaning and they are ready to go.
Go online, to YouTube, gourd shops, and craft books to get ideas for how to use the gourds you have grown. I think gourd crafting is one of the most creative activities there is!
Examples: 3 bottle gourds (pictured) are 6.5, 7.5, and 8 lbs when just picked off the vine. Similar bottle gourds (pictured) are 1.0 to 1.25 lbs when completely dried. Hard but light!
Gourds teach us so much!
Please support our effort to promote a love for nature and a concern for our environment. Gourds are an amazing plant for leading people to understand the wonderful flora and fauna on our earth. It is our purpose to spread that joy!
On this website find our nature book, called Gourds Saved the World.
This gives you crafting and learning project ideas for young and old.
Go onto my ETSY site. For every Gourd Earth gourd you buy, I contribute one for placing out in the public. By supporting our efforts, more little gourds can be spread around the world and more people will read about the relationship between humankind and nature.
This is a learning project to help us reconnect with nature and our past.
Gourds are part of Ancient History
Did you know that the Eastern part of America was one of the indigenous agricultural centers where humankind first domesticated plants for their own needs. And the gourd was the first of those efforts. Go to my history pages to see how gourds came to be in America and the early Native American success in creating this versatile vegetable that was critical to their survival. Gourd were part of what anthropologists call the Container Revolution. Gourd can be used as canteens, bowls, storage containers, milk bottles, scoops, spoons, ladles and so much more. They were used this way for thousands of years.