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How to Grow Gourds
Do you classify a gourd as a flower, or a vegetable? It's not grown for their flowers. While edible, do you know of anyone who has ever eaten one? Botanists classify it as a vegetable plant, so that's where we categorize it
Gourds are fun to grow. Gourds come in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes. Their unique appearance, makes them great for Fall arts and craft projects, and for decorating around the home and office. They are a member of the Cucurbita family, which include pumpkins and squash.
Did you know? Cross pollination aids in creating different colors and shapes for gourds. The cucurbita family is notorious for cross-pollination.
Varieties of Gourds:
Tip: Use gourds and other seasonal plants and vegetables in weddings, showers, and other parties in the fall.
Perhaps the most popular gourd, is the Birdhouse Gourd. People grow and dry these hard shelled gourds for use as birdhouses.
Sowing Gourd Seeds:
For planting in rows space seeds five to six inches apart.
Days to Maturity:
Hardshell varieties require 110 - 130 days. Ornamental types need about 90 to 100 days.
How to Grow Gourds:
Because they are a vining plant, gourds grow well on fences or a garden trellis. An advantage of fencing, is the fruit grows with less blemishes, as there is no contact with the ground. You may want to keep the larger hard shelled variety sprawled on the ground, as the larger fruit can break off the vine if suspended. Fencing is great for the smaller, ornamental gourds. Try growing them in a large container, and hanging them off your deck!
Tip: Place a small bed of sand under each gourd to protect it from slugs when it is young, and to reduce marks and scars on the bottom.
Insects and Pests:
The gourds should be hardened off prior to harvesting. This process is accomplished by ceasing water and fertilizer, and letting the fruit ripen and harden. A good indication that it is ready to pick are brown, dried stems.
Drying and Curing:
Gourds take a long time to dry. See specific details on how to dry gourds.
Did you know? Gourds were commonly used in ancient cultures around the world for a variety of tools and dishes.
For More Information:
There is a wealth of information about this fun plant.
Pumpkin Nook- How to Grow Gourds and pumpkins a members of the same family and are grown similarly. This site has lots of growing info.
Garden Recipe Collection - find a recipe for all your garden grown veggies.
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