Gourds may be one of the oldest cultivated plants, initially grown to make storage containers and utensils. Though some varieties are edible when the fruit is young, most men and women grow them for their ornamental qualities. Gourds are members of the Cucurbit family, which includes cucumbers, squash and melons. The long vines make attractive garden plants which easily climb fences, trellises and arbors.
Types of Gourds
The three most frequent forms of gourds are cucurbita, lagenaria and luffa gourds. Cucurbita gourds (cucurbita spp.) Are indigenous American gourds come in a range of shapes and fall colours. Many have warts, ridges, stripes and patterns which add character to drop decorations. All these gourds usually only last a single season. Members of this lagenaria group come in shapes ready-made for making utensils, like spoons and dippers, along with other helpful things like storage containers, dishes, bowls and birdhouses. When properly dried they continue for several years. Their durability makes them popular for use in crafts. Mature luffa gourds are used to make bath sponges. Young, tender fruit can be cooked like squash. You can also use immature fruit in salads as you’d cucumbers.
Gourds need full sunlight and a growing season with 100 to 180 days of warm temperatures, preferably between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Well-drained, light, sandy soil is best, however you are able to grow gourds in deep soil if you operate in a lot of organic matter initially. Grow gourds on a trellis or fence to keep the fruit off the ground since it ripens and dries. The vines of some varieties grow very long and supply appealing coverage for trellises and arbors.
You can gently shape your gourds while they’re young to make interesting designer pornography. Tie soft twine or fasten rubber bands around the fruit to bend it or kind constrictions. Gourds take the shape of a glass jar when you place them within the bottle while they’re modest. Gently break and remove the bottle later, being careful to prevent scrapes on the fruit.
Harvesting and Curing
Gourds are fully ripe when the stem which attaches them into your vine dries and turns brown. Leave them on the vine to dry as long as you can, but harvest them before the first frost. Harvest luffa gourds when the skin turns brown. After cutting the gourds in the vine, wash them in soapy water and pat them dry. Put them outside in a warm, dry area with good air flow for a month or two to dry. Direct sunlight may fade the colours.