So now your gourds have completed the process of drying-you can now cha-cha by shaking the gourd and hearing the seeds rattle. This means the gourd is dry. But it is looking a bit ugly with mold and discolorations on the gourd-what do you do now?
I use a strong wire scrubber and a sink full of a bleach water mixture and I scrub the mold off of the gourds. There are many procedures you can employ to take the moldy crust off from the gourds, but I have found this one works well for me. You do need to put some elbow grease into the job, as the residue is not the easiest thing to clean. But once done you have something that looks like this!
This gourd is ready for fun! It is totally up to the crafter what they do with the gourd from here. Here are some suggestions from me to you. If you intend to paint the gourd and keep it in the house as decor, you need not do anything else to this gourd. If you wish to use the gourd outside as either decor or as a birdhouse, a few more things need to be done. First of all drill about four holes in the bottom of the gourd to allow for water drainage. Next, drill two holes in the top to allow for a piece of wire inserted in order to hang the gourd. Floral wire or a coat hangar works well to use as a hangar on your gourd. You should wear a dust mask when drilling into any gourds. If you intend to paint or varnish the gourd now is the time to do so. Once painted and prepared you may want to either seal it with polyurethane or a good coat of car wax. It is totally up to the crafter. I usually use polyurethane, but car wax would work too.
If you intend to use the gourd as a birdhouse you must decide what type of bird you wish to attract. Once you determine this then drill the correct size hole to attract that bird. You do this with a hole drill attachment, it is quite easy. Once you open up the gourd clean the seeds and fiber out as best you can. I also suggest you wear rubber gloves and a dust mask while cleaning the inside of the gourds. One important note on purple martins, unless you have a large open area (maybe 3 acres and up) with water nearby, you are unlikely to attract martins. Most likely you will attract sparrows to nest in the gourd. I personally enjoy the sparrows at my house. Purists will gasp that I allow them to nest in my gourds, but it is a personal opinion and choice.
I so enjoy watching the busy little sparrows. They are quite prolific, but good parents. Once the fledglings leave the nest, the parents still feed them for a while longer. The babies will line up right outside my kitchen window for their meal, compliments of one of the parents. It is hilarious how much these kiddos mooch off from their hard working parents.
Generally speaking gourds can last several years in the garden. I use mine mainly for decor on my gourd tree out front. At the end of the season I usually give the gourds away as gifts or store for another day. The above gourd found a home with Gail. I will be interested to see what she does with it.
I have four of about 10 gourds dry so far. I will wait until they are all dried to craft with my gourds. Once dried, I believe I will be painting them in the style of Warli painting. I will adjust the manner of painting suitable for my purposes, but like the simplicity of Warli painting. Sunita told me she painted a gourd in the Warli style and first introduced me to this unique style of painting. It is a natural style that will work well for the gourds this year. When the time comes I'll try to fit a post in. The problem with blogs, is there is just only so much time and too much to talk about! Here is very short video (12 seconds) showing the sparrows in my painted gourd birdhouse. This gourd has hung outside my kitchen window for about two years now and always hosts the sparrows. They are busy right now, as you can see.
in the garden....