This year’s gourd crop has been a challenge. We started out in my zone 5 growing zone with a dry warm April and went into a wet cold May. June seems to be improving but so far my gardens have been challenged with the weather. I have been saved with cold frames, hot beds and other gardening techniques I have picked up over the years.
As in the past I started all my gourds using the Styrofoam cup method. You can read about it here: http://thegardenersrake.com/gourds-a-different-approach-to-growing-them
My gourd crop consists of 12 varieties that include ornamental, small, medium and large gourds. I am also growing the dishrag or luffa gourd.
All the gourds have finally been moved into the gardens and in raised beds with row covers, just in case we have a cold night. The raised beds are near an old swing set so that the gourds will hang and not sit on the ground. This prevents a flat side and even coloring. I use pantyhose as slings for the gourds when they get bigger and heavy. This prevents the gourds from ripping off the vine.
My goals for my gourd crop this year are:
- To have the long handled gourds get very long and to tie a few knots in some of the handles while they are growing. They will need to be three to four foot long to have a nice knot.
- Have several bushel gourds get big enough that I can make nice sized end tables out of them. I have planted the bushel gourds separately and used compost heavy with sheep manure to help them get a good size. It also helps to pick of some of the blossoms and have only one or two gourds per vine.
- Make several different types of instruments out of the gourd crops.
- Have the luffa gourds do well enough that I can try to make a luffa soap from a few of them.
No matter how many years I grow gourds they are always my surprise crop. Gourds add fun to the gardens. And the fun continues six to 12 months later when the gourds are dried and I can create with them. Instruments, wall hanging, two and three dimensional art pieces or birdhouses are only a few ways to use gourds.
Tags: creating with gourds, growing gourds, uses for gourds, ornamental gourds