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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.
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.
The photo captions here contain
growing tips. You can get more information from the American Gourd Society.
Seeds! I've got seeds! Want some?
My seeds are organic, but not certified. Tested for germination, but not extensively. These are seeds from gourds that I've hand-pollinated and isolated to prevent cross-pollination. They should be "true."
Note: Smaller gourds are easier to grow. A good selection of seeds from gourds of all sizes can be found at some of my favorite seed sources:
If you've never grown gourds before, I highly recommend you read the growing tips in the slideshow above, and seed-starting tips here, before sending for seeds. Gourds require LOTS of space, good rich soil, and as much time on the vine as possible. Gourds look nasty and moldy when they're drying... DON'T THROW THEM AWAY!!!
Still want some?
This is how it works: I don't sell them, I give them away.
Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with a note saying which seeds you'd like; choose 2 or three types (see below). I'll send your envelope back with seeds! Just a few, because I want lots of people to get some. My address can be found here.
Seeds Available Spring 2021:
Hawaiian Dance Mask
The top of this gourd is sometimes straight (photo on left), and sometimes rounded (right), almost like a small African Wine Kettle. In either case, they are thick and beautiful! We'll grow these on the ground this year, as we lost several when they fell from the trellis prematurely.
Small Round Gourd
Not thick enough for a box, perfect for a night light. This vine produces an abundance of uniform dark green gourds. Of course, when they dry, they'll be light brown.
This bountiful plant will produce dozens of little cuties! At the same time, it might attract more cucumber beetles than any other cucurbit in your garden. Trap crop?
Small Unnamed Gourd C
Prolific plant, nice little gourd, still no name. 7-8" tall, pretty thick shell. I turn them into small fairy houses, among other things. What will yours become?
Indonesian Bottle Gourd
A beautiful sturdy gourd-lover's gourd! 12-16" tall. Flasks, shekeres, hanging lamps... the possibilities go on and on!
This is my favorite. I just can't get over that sweet little hook at the top, which only happens if they're grown on the ground. If they hang, the neck will be straight (see photo at right). The shell is of medium thickness, and quite dense.
It's big, it's splendid, it's a bushel gourd! With a nice little nose on the top. Each plant produces 3 or 4 big beautiful gourds, if treated with all due respect.
Bushel Umbilical Cross
What happens when one crosses a bushel with an umbilical gourd? Well that remains to be seen. If you choose this one, I'd be happy to get a report, with photos, on what grows. It will undoubtedly be big and beautiful, and most likely feature a great schnozzola!