Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gourds Again

By Skeeter
One of the most rewarding experiences of gardening here in my Georgia Garden was the growing of gourds. Why would gourds be so rewarding you may ask? Well, I can dry them and enjoy them in many ways. In the above picture, you see my gourd crop of 2008 drying. Click Here if you would like to see the Posting on my process of Gourd Drying. I turned the larger of the gourds into birdhouses for my feathered friends of nature. The smaller 3 that I have outlined for you, somehow got lost in the fold. I found them recently and decided it was time to play with them. The odd ball one to the right of those, was recently found in my storage closet after I played with the other gourds. It took many months to dry and I forgot about it until spotting it a few days ago, long after I played with the other forgotten gourds. Make note to self: You are not as organised as you think you are.... First step was to spray paint them white.
Here are those 3 gourds now! The two smaller ones are now ornaments which will be placed on my Snowman Themed Christmas Tree! The larger snowman in the middle will be placed amongst my other snowman items for Christmas as well as during the winter months. I had fun crafting with my gourds and even tried my hand at painting a bit with the clown looking ornament. I know one thing for sure, my eyes "aint" what they use to be! I had to wear reading glasses to make these things! Hum, A sign of aging. Sigh...

Now to my crop of gourds for 2009. I had 14 (difficult to see are two different colored gourds already drying to the front on the left side) of them grow for me this go round. With tons of rain fall during the season, some of the gourds rotted. I ended up with successfully drying about 10 gourds.
This past weekend our temperatures climbed to 70 degrees! Yep, we had just under 7 inches of snow on the ground the previous weekend! Gotta love this Deep South living. Ha... With birds singing in the air, the Saint and I had to get the larger of the gourds made into bird houses for our wild feathered friends. If you would like to see that process, Click HERE to see the posting on it from last year.

I am happy to say, we were able to make 3 wonderful bird houses from the larger of the gourds! They are now hanging in 2 Crepe Myrtle and 1 Crab apple trees. The smaller of the gourds remain hanging in the shed to dry or for me to forget about them. Ha, I will find a craft for them in time.
Last year we had 4 gourd houses in place for the birds. The Eastern Bluebirds had two broods in this one gourd-house pictured above. The other 3 were never utilized as we think they were too small. Well, one became home to a very large spider for a while, Yikes!
It was most rewarding to peek inside the gourd house and see the baby blue birds calling it their temporary home! I am so rewarded knowing that I grew the gourd, dried it and turned it into a home for the wildlife! Nature is so rewarding indeed...

We are hoping that all 3 of the new gourd houses will be home to some type of bird this spring. I will keep you posted.

I took the seeds from the gourds and sprinkled them into the once veggie garden for them to take hold for more bird houses next year!

The Saint and I had so much fun growing and playing with the GOURDS AGAIN, In the Garden...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. Good morning! Those gourds look great. You had a lot of them too! I am so glad you've enjoyed growing them and can find a use for them. Those snowmen are too cute. You are most creative. I have to say it, you are only now needing reading glasses? Ha! I always have mine on and can't stand it. Might be time for bi-focals for this old lady. It really is tough getting old(er).

  2. There is a local crafter here who grows the apple and pear gourds. She paints them in appropriate colors, antiques them and they look just like giant apples and pears. She sells them for $20-25 each and has no trouble getting her price.

    I am glad the birds approve of your efforts.

  3. Skeeter,
    We tried growing gourds a few years ago. Lots of male blooms and the female bloom did not make a single gourd. We did enjoy the plants.

  4. What wonderful snowmen! I hope to get some gourds this year, I want some cute little birdie like yours!

  5. Ooopps, my gourds are still in the utility room. Keep forgetting them. I think 1 or 2 may be big enough for a bird house. Will have to borrow Young'uns key hole saw.
    Good job Skeeter. I wish we had blue birds here.
    Rainy again. Drats.

  6. Beautiful gourds. It is nice to see them be part of the decoration and used effectively. ~bangchik

  7. Now you need to tell us the secrets of growing gourds. I have some seed, should I plant them now, inside or out, do they need to be soaked first.............help! This sure beats paying the outrageous fees for birdhouses at the store..

  8. I'll be trying birdhouse gourds this year. I would love to have several families of bluebird living here to gobble up those bugs!

  9. I have always wanted to grow and dry gourds. I have yet to do it but I have lots of seeds!

  10. How fun to have Bluebirds in your gourdhouse. Super!

  11. Good Morning everyone! Yesterdays rain is gone and now sunshine once again. Weatherman says this will be our last day of the warm stuff as another cold front is headed our way. I was sooooo enjoying the warm stuff and hate to see it depart....

    Tina, I have you and this blog to thanks for the fun I am having with the gourds. You inspired me to give them a try and now look at them! I have never had to use the glasses to craft so this is new to me. And a change I dont like at all. Sigh....

    Les, Wow $20 a gourd! Hum, she has a nice craft for making her apples and pears with that kind of price… My goal is to have a bird nesting in each of the gourds I have made this year. Wonder if I should put out a sign saying “Welcome all birds”…

    Randy, Sorry your gourds were a bust. I wonder what happen to them. Ours are late to produce the gourd but the vines go crazy in the heat of summer. Don’t give up and have another go at it…

    Dawn, Go for it and grow those gourds. You can not only make birdhouses but create some wonderful crafting items as well. Did you read what Les had to say about $20 each for them? I bet you could do that as well with your talents…

    Lola, I am glad to see I am not the only one that forgets the gourds. Ha, this year I dried them in the shed so I see them every time I walk in there for something. So the houses were made and in place sooner then last year. I am surprised you don’t have Bluebirds in your area as their range covers the state of Florida…

    Bangchik, Thanks, they are really wonderful as natural birdhouses. Tina paints them and hangs them into the garden. I may give that a try as well some day…

    Darla, The secret is to put the seeds into the ground and let nature takes it course! No trick as that is what I do. I have started the seeds in the house the first year but this past year, I just stuck them into the ground and they took off on their own. The area where I plant is full of pine needles so acid must be good for them. Last year we filled the area with horse poop also but not the year before and we had a crop. Try a few in the house and also put some in the ground and experiment. Good Luck!

    Dave, Do give them a try! The birds are wonderful bug eaters and really eat tons of them when feeding the baby’s. We give them meal worms in the summer months also to encourage them to the yard but they would come with or without the worms. I am worried about my neighbors cat, you know my garden buddy OJ when it is fledging time though. I will be on guard for a safe journey…

    Michelle, Get those seeds in the ground girl. YOu will be so happy to grow them and play with them such as us...

    Janet, Thanks and yes, it was super duper for sure! I was so excited to see the baby's through the hole. Such a good warm feeling I had inside my soul....

  12. Congratulations on getting bluebirds in your houses. I think they look cute hanging from trees.

  13. Oh my goodness Skeeter, those are just the cutes snowmen!!!!! Good job and thanks for the big smile and lol that I had when I saw them.

  14. I am a sucker for gourds! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Marnie, I hope all the houses will be full and soon...

    Jean, I had fun with the clown snowman. hee hee. I am not a painter for sure but had fun with it just the same...

    Liza, You are so welcome and I guess you could say I have become a sucker for gourds now as well...

  16. Wonderful, i have tried to grow these several years with no luck

  17. How exciting that the birds really used them to nest in! I'm going to try growing one this year, it's all I have space for. I hope I have as much success as you!

  18. It never occurred to me that they were anything other then ornamental...How delightful that birds like them for a nest site. gail

  19. I just ordered more gourd seeds - birdhouse and a couple other types, can't remember which. Last year I only had 2 useable swan gourds. Lesson learned - don't plant so many vines close together, duh! Most of the fruit failed to develop because of the overcrowding. They're just so cool, though. I'm still thinking of how to use them all inside my house. After I grow them, of course. Gotta do that part first.

  20. I'm very inspired by this post and it's given me some ideas! I really enjoyed growing snake gourds this year, but I wasn't real successful at drying them (I lack the patience gene) You've created some beautiful things from these. This year I'm growing a gourd mix - don't know what will turn up, but I'm giving it another shot!

  21. Skeeter, you are so very creative...I was looking back at a post you wrote in May where you'd made all those stunning flower arrangements for your mom. Wow. I have yet to try gourds but have seen them used for crafts. How nice to have bluebirds nesting there. I have 2 bluebird boxes that are never used by BB's...perhaps a gourd would do the trick?! Must keep that idea in mind;-) Hope you'll get some more birds to use them this spring.

  22. I have been in the garden enjoying another warm day! Dug in the dirt, scattered some seeds, took down the front porch Winter Display, potted a plant, etc. I am so not ready for the cold snap tomorrow....

    Katrin, Danke for stopping by to say hey....

    How it grows, Thanks, they were fun to make…

    JJ, don’t give up as once they decide to produce, they produce many…

    Catherine, I cannot remember but I think I only had two plants last year! They really liked the conditions as they flourished with many gourds…

    Gail, I am surprised you have never seen them in a grouping as Purple Martin Nest. I have seen them in many yards in TN in a big cluster (sometimes painted white) on top of a tall pole and the Martins love them…

    VW, I may try swan gourds this year. I was not going to plant anything in the veggie garden but we enjoy the gourds and seem to have such good luck with them, that I scattered the seeds from the dried gourds in the area. I tossed way too many but we will see what happens. Good Luck with your gourds. I will be watching to see if you have more luck…

    JGH, I am so glad you are not giving up on the gourds! I have never grown anything but the ones you have seen. I was just telling VW that I must try my hand at Swan Gourds and I think a snake might be fun also. I need to get to the seed shop soon. As far as drying them, just hang them up somewhere and forget about them! They will dry fine…

    Jan, Thanks for your comments on my flowers arranging. I seem to take that gene from my grandmother as my mom say she cannot put anything in a vase without it looking strange, lol. We had blue birds in our yard the day we moved into the house. We rushed out and picked up a BB box and within a few days they were nesting in the thing. We have many boxes for them scattered about in our yard. We have been responsible for about 75 baby blue birds with my last counting of them! We have even been lucky enough to see the baby’s fledge at times! Now that is an awesome sight…

  23. Thanks for the fun post to read...last year, I had a pair of Carolina Wrens with a family of wee ones in a gourd house. Only thing was, I need to move it. It is directly above my path to the mailbox. Whenever I'd get the mail, the parents would put up such a fuss. I noticed the babies would not say a peep until Mom and Pop were back in the nest with them...well behaved fledglings.
    Nice job....have fun with the rest of the gourds, now I have to dig mine out of their drying place and get busy. Thanks for the reminder.

  24. Hi Skeeter, this is one of the best blogs i've read because of production not only for yourselves but for the birds' homes. You certainly deserves an award from the Intl Bird Society, Audobon is it? That lovely blue bird is perfect for the white house! But i really love the shapes of the gourds, there is none here i know of to get seeds from. I know they are grown in China and it is called Wu Lu symbolic of good health. Crystals are made to such shapes and sold as symbols to counteract bad health. I guess you will be rewarded infinitely with good health because you produce them yourself, and use them also for very real philanthropic purpose. How i wish i can have some of your seeds! thank you.

  25. I love your little snowman gourds! I've really enjoyed seeing what all you and Tina have done with your gourds, Skeeter. I planted some gourd seed last summer with hopes of eventually making some of these birdhouses. The seeds never germinated, unfortunately, but I'm not going to give up--I'll try again this year. You two have inspired me!

  26. I've always heard that once you have gourds you have gazillions! How wonderful that the bluebirds use them as nesting sites. Maybe Chickadees will use the smaller ones.

  27. PS I would like to try growing gourds in one of our little fields... As far as other creatures using nesting places, Paper Wasps are the worst... once a Gray Treefrog took up residence in one!

  28. Hi beautiful gourds. Love the little birds. I was given a couple of big gourds and one day while trying to entertain a couple of little kids, I showed them how they could play "drums" with them. They loved the gourds so much, that I gifted them to the kids. Thankfully thumping them with your hands is a gentle drum sound. Gloria

  29. Dar, you are welcome for the reminder and I am hoping other birds will find the gourds nice enough for a home as well...

    Andrea, I will gladly send you some gourd seeds. Am I allowed to send them through the mail with no agriculture issues? Find out then let me know and I will get you some on the way....

    Rose, several people could not grow them for some reason or another. I just picked up a packet of the seeds at Wal-Mart and they seem to work fine in my soil. I have them in an area which is full of pine straw and decaying leaves as well as a run off area that stays soggy in the winter and spring months. That’s all I can tell ya about what I do...

    Sweet Bay, I would so welcome a frog but not the wasp as they may sting me. Ouch!

    Gloria, what a great idea! A much quieter drum noise them a pot and wooden spoon like my nephew used as a child. Argggg, that was so noisy. I saw them used for many things in museums. Gourds have been around for many years…