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For thousands of years gourds have held limitless potential for human creativity. They can be turned into bowls, bottles, birdhouses, toys, cups, ladles, instruments, scrubbers, and anything else one could imagine. The fruit is usually not edible and should be left on the vines until the rind is dry and hard with a lightweight feeling. When the seeds rattle, the gourds are ready for crafting.
Gourds are frost sensitive plants that prefer full sun and tolerate a wide variety of soils.
In warm regions, gourds should be direct seeded outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. In northern climates, start seeds indoors 4 weeks before the last frost date and transplant outdoors once the danger of frost has passed and warm nighttime temperatures prevail.
Sow seeds 1" deep and 6” apart. Seeds will sprout in 7-14 days. Thin seedlings so that mature plants are 12-18" apart.
Gourds require a long growing season and take up to 100-120 days to mature. Gourds can be left in the field through frost until fully dried (cured) or store in a protected location until the exterior is fully cured. When the seeds rattle, gourds are ready for crafting.
Gourds act much like squash in pollination, and some in fact are in the squash family. An insect pollinated annual, all members of the gourd family regardless of Genus and species are high producers of nectar, making them very attractive to honeybees. Gourds in the Lagenariasiceraria class will cross with each other, and the TN spinning top being a Cucurbita pepo will cross with summer squash and pumpkins of the same species. Luffa gourds are not in danger of crossing with other gourds. Leave the gourds to cure, and when dry, the gourds can be broken or cut open and the seeds separated from the dry pulp. Dry and wet gourd pulp can irritate skin and the respiratory tract so use caution when cleaning seed.