Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Growing Gourds

Gourds are very closely related to cucumbers, squash and melons. They dry out to have a nice hard shell and a hollow inside in which seeds rattle around in. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. For some reason they do well in the humid Arkansas climate.

If you decide to grow gourds give them a wall or trellis to grow on. They don't require a lot of water and in fact to much water will cause the gourds to rot. when growing gourds if you find that your getting more male flowers and no female flowers you need to snip of the first 12 inches of each vine. This will cause the vine to produce a new section and that will have female gourds on it. You can recognize them as being the flower with the small gourd shaped ball at its base. Hand pollination of gourds will result in a lot more gourds than if you just leave it up to mother nature. I often pick male flowers and put them in a plastic back in the refrigerator to ensure that I have males for pollination when the females open.

Most gourds have bright yellow flowers or orange flowers like squash blossoms but some of them have white flowers. Any gourd with a white flower will bloom at night to be pollinated by flying night insects such as moths. Beware of this when searching for female flowers because these will have to be pollinated by hand at night.

As you can see by the picture below. A little creativity can go a long way with a dried gourd.

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