We grow many varieties of gourds at Gourdlandia, with interesting names: Mini Chinese Bottle, Sennari, Tobacco Box, Four Inch Round, Extra Long-Handled Dipper, 100 Plus, etc. We also buy some from Amish gourd farmers in southern Pennsylvania.
Photo captions here contain growing tips, and you can get more information from the American Gourd Society.
We start the seeds indoors in pots in late April.
They need lights to grow well. We harden them off throughout May.
We put them out around Memorial Day, under row-cover bonnets, for extra warmth and protection from cucumber beetles. We give them plenty of space!
The vines take off like crazy... you can almost watch them grow.
Tendrils are amazingly strong, and we use them to encourage the vines upwards.
Unlike other cucurbits, gourd blossoms bloom at night. We hand-pollinate sometimes. This is a female blossom, pollinated.
Each female blossom has a mini version of the fruit that will grow. These tiny fuzzy baby gourds are called "pepos".
"Legendary" bottle gourds, lurking beneath the luscious leaf canopy.
Mid August, all is green. The small gourd pictured is a "Sub-mini", never gets any bigger than that.
The weight of the ball pulls these dipper gourds straight. When they grow on the ground, they are curly.
In September the vines start to die away. We leave the gourds on the vine as long as there is any life in the plant.
As the water leaves the gourd, the skin starts to mold. Inexperienced gourd growers sometimes panic at this stage. Don't worry! If it had plenty of time to mature, it won't rot. The mold will leave beautiful marks on the surface of the gourd.
Gourds can stay out all winter long, they'll dry just fine. Mice might get into a few of the weaker ones. Don't bring them in your house at this stage!
Banana gourds, all dried and ready to be washed!
You can plant the seeds, but if they grew near different gourds, the offspring will be hybrids.