View Full Version : Gourds anyone??

10-22-2001, 03:38 AM
im curious to know if anyone else likes doing anything with gourds here are afew things ihave done with them... im always looking for new ways to use them :D http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2001/STAINEDBIRDHOUSE.JPG

10-22-2001, 07:45 AM
I grew a few gourds a few years ago to do something with, but never did. Still have them, though. I've seen some neat things done with them on some sites on the web. I just did a search and found some sites.
Looks good. I think they are interesting.:)

10-22-2001, 09:58 PM
my new neighbor has like three laying in his backyard..i like what you have done w/ this one:)

10-22-2001, 11:02 PM
thank you . i forgot to say in the first post
its a bird house :D

11-02-2001, 07:13 PM
I love gourds :D
One year I grew the huge basket ones.
I will take a picture and show you soon.
I papier mache' the inside and use them for all sorts of things.
I save the inside pulp to make paper with, then use the paper for cards etc.
Your birdhouse is great. :)

11-03-2001, 09:29 AM
Wow I haven't even heard the word Gourd is years not since I moved from down south. Looks great, brought back memories to me of hanging them with my dad.

Have any more projects plan with these?

11-05-2001, 10:20 PM
Next year I want to grow bushel gourds (the big ones) and make stringed instruments from them.

I forget where I saw regular gourds used as water bottles.

11-08-2001, 07:11 PM
Here are my basket gourds from last year.
Aprox. 13"tall x 16"wide.



11-09-2001, 12:12 AM
Wow leaflin! I thought the growing season was too short here. I grew a few birdhouse types up to about 12" one year. Do you start your seed inside first? It's prob. warmer here in Richmond than in the mountains where you are.

11-09-2001, 07:26 AM
Hi Jean
I think our temperatures are similar.
I bought a packet of seeds from the farmers coop and put them directly in the ground.
One problem with gourds is that you should not grow them within 200 feet of winter squash as they can cross pollinate, causing your squash to become bitter beyond belief.
I am talking BITTER :D
It is well worth a try.
They love cow manure too :)

11-09-2001, 08:18 AM

Now I know how to get back at the nasty neighbors who also grow squash.

11-09-2001, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by Mich451

Now I know how to get back at the nasty neighbors who also grow squash.

I have a funny feeling you are going to go out of your way to grow Gourds this year Mich :D

11-09-2001, 06:49 PM
Last year I had it all planned...lined up my gourds of all kinds along a back yard fence/ built a tall trellis (not much growing space available) and got them growing up the trellis. Along came my gentle hubbie, who decided to put in a blacktopped drive where my gourds were! I tried moving the large plants, but only a few made it, and it set them back so that they ran out of warm weather before maturing.
This is the kind of luck I have. arrrggghhhh.:D

11-09-2001, 11:27 PM

Your basket gourds are gorgeous! I'm going to try to grow some.

11-10-2001, 08:36 PM
Originally posted by Mich451

Now I know how to get back at the nasty neighbors who also grow squash.

Mitch, (no kidding) one year I planted some kind of long oriental cucumber, and in a different spot, some luffa gourds (which are about the same shape). With all of my moving plants around, I couldn't tell which was which. Whatever I ate all summer was good. I still don't know if I ate young luffas or cucumbers. Let's say my gardening is somewhat experimental!:p

11-11-2001, 08:21 AM
Thanks gsb :)
There's all sorts of info on the web.

Here are a few sites :)


Jean, we may be a bit colder than you.
I guess it all depends on the weather :D :D :D but I have heard it gets colder once you hit 29 north of Charlottsville
I am going to start mine inside this year in peat pots.
They have very fragile roots and don't like being moved so peat pots help reduce root shock.
My neighbor has got some great cow dung which gourds love!

The gourd central site sells seeds.

This thread has got me all excited! :D

11-11-2001, 06:45 PM
I like them and their vines are beautiful, usually with white flowers too.
I'll try again this year, starting them inside.
There is something satisfying about growing them.
I've seen some great Indian bowls with carvings, and jewelry made with them on some web sites.
I forget where I ordered my seed, but got some of all kinds. Need to get some more. Let me know how yours come out.

11-12-2001, 06:32 AM
My favorite things to do with gourds are burning and using a dremel. I particularly like to do Anasazai designs.

And Jean, the very fact you are writing here shows you weren't poisoned...(see my response about eating things in the wacko thread in debates...lol)

11-12-2001, 09:16 AM
No ill effects, whatever I ate.:D Of course, I carelessly dipped my brush in turps instead of tea cup for years, and pointed my brush in my mouth. Not quite sane, but.....
I bought a woodburning kit and Dremel tool, but have yet to try some things I want to try.

11-12-2001, 11:14 AM
I love the dremel!! Bought one for Phil for Christmas a few years ago and i think i've used it more than he has! :D Can you guys tell me anything about the preservation process? Like the baskets for instance? Cut the gourd open, scoop out the inside and then what? Do you paint something on it to preserve it? Talk to me like the child that i am ;). Thanks

11-12-2001, 01:21 PM
I've only read about drying, scooping, and dipping in a polyurthane type finish, but haven't tried it.
Some of you others who have done this, please answer Cheryl. (and for me too:) )

11-12-2001, 09:08 PM
Cheryl :)
Do you want me to start from harvest? :D
Hardshell gourds should be harvested when the entire vine has dried and turned brown.
At this stage the gourd is very heavy and is composed of about 90 % water
The gourd should feel firm and solid to the touch.
They vary in colour from dark green to creamy white and are covered with a waxy coating.
The 'curing' phase can take anywhere from six weeks to a year depending on the type of gourd, it's size, thickness of shell and humidity.
Curing is the process of evaporation where the interior water slowly leaches out through the porous woody outer shell
I leave mine outside on racks and turn them over once a week to prevent rotting.
I tried to cure them in the basement one year and most of them rotted, and stunk to high heaven :D
The shell will become a light tan shade.
As the water evaporates and dries on the surface it forms a mold on the exterior shell.
If the seeds have not formed a fibrous mat inside they will usually rattle.

I soak mine in the laundry sink.
Since they float I put a piece of wood over the sink and put bricks on it to hold the gourds under water.
(I swear I can hear them scream)
Another way is to wrap them in a wet towel and leave them out in the sun to soften the mold.
I scrub them with a scouring pad then use a knife to scrape off stubborn spots.

I cut mine open with a keyhole saw with a fine tooth which helps prevent rips and cracks.
Once you have made an opening remove as much of the material as you can by hand.
I save the seeds as well as the pulp.
The pulp is fantastic for handmade paper.
The best tool I have for scraping the inside is a tool I use in my pottery.
I'll post a picture at the end of this :)
Some of my basket ones that were stubborn I put on the patio, filled them with water and let them sit for for several days then scraped the insides out.
If you do this you must be careful not to scrape too hard and damage the outside.
When all the insides are out let dry for several days.

If your gourd is to be decorative you can paint the inside with acrylics after you have sanded it. Or you can use papier mache', fabric, or paper collage.
If I paint the inside I use a coat of gesso first.
If you want it watertight you can coat the interior with melted paraffin or beeswax.
Melt the paraffin in a double boiler.
While the wax is melting heat the gourd in a 180oF oven for five minutes.
The reason for this is so the wax will penetrate the porous shell and not cool on contact.
Don't leave the gourd in the oven too long as it will become brittle.
Apply the wax with a brush or pour it in the gourd. Then pour out the excess.
You can also use wood sealers, varnishes or polyurethane.

The gourd surface is porous so an exterior finish is wise.
You can use waxes designed for shoes, leather and wood.
I use paste wax for floors.
You can also use linseed oil, mineral oil and tung oil.
Another finish to use is a varnish or polyurethane.
If you are going to leave your gourd outside you should treat it with a wood preserative then shellac or varnish.

Hope this helped :D

11-12-2001, 09:23 PM
Here is what I call a keyhole saw :D and my pottery tool I use for scraping.


11-12-2001, 09:26 PM
Jean if we grow some good ones next year we should get together for show and tell :)

11-12-2001, 10:33 PM
Yeah! Gourds Galore! I think there's a book by that name. You have to let them dry a long time, don't you? Mine are still out in the shed. I also read somewhere that you can soak them in a bleach/water solution to clean them after they have dried, then scrub.
I need to go ahead and order some seed before I forget!:)

11-13-2001, 12:51 AM
Wow! This is really interesting stuff! Thank you so much! I'm printing this info. I wonder how well gourds grow in Fla? We can grow squash (as a matter of fact if we plan right we can get two squash growing seasons per year) so maybe i can. Thanks again for the enjoyable read.

11-13-2001, 06:34 AM

Be sure to check out the links leaflin posted too, especially the gourd societies and organizations. There is a ton of info and some good tips on the message boards.

11-13-2001, 09:21 AM
Cheryl, I know there are farms that grow and sell gourds in GA, TX, TN, KY, MO, and all over the place, so you should have a great growing time in FL. Like Mich said the linkswill probably help you. Wish we had a longer warm growing season here in VA.