Peconic River Herb Farm- Specialty Plant Nursery

Gourds

Gourds have been used for centuries in a variety of ways; containers, musical instruments, toys, clothing, utensils & birdhouses. Today, there are 2 commonly used types: Cucurbita pepo (Ornamental) & Lagenaria siceraria (Hardshell). The Cucurbita are the varieties that you would normally see at the grocer’s in the fall, making colorful displays for the Holidays. They tend to be bumpy or striped, & a bit unusual in shape, but lack in keeping quality. Lagenaria, on the other hand, tend to have a smooth surface & are usually green in color until the drying process begins. This is the type used in crafts & for our birdhouse. These may be carved, sanded, sawn into, painted & wood burnt.

How to Grow Gourds

Plant 2 plants or 4 seeds per "hill", spaced 12" apart in a sunny location after soil has warmed (late May in our area). Enrich soil with compost or aged manure. Periodic feeding with organic fertilizer will boost size & production. Keep watered if rainfall is inadequate. Cultivate shallowly until vines fill out & cover the area. An arbor or strong trellis will keep long necked gourds off the ground. Starting with transplants rather than seed ensures that sufficient growing time is achieved.

Birdhouse Gourd

Materials:Sand paper, exacto or utility knife drill w/ bit

Paint & brushes, screw driver, wire or cord, for hanging

 Pencil

1. Drill 2 holes opposite each other for the handle. Drill 1 hole for the birdhouse opening, about 1 ½ " diameter. (*see opening sizes below)

2. Sand entire gourd, wipe clean

3. Scrape out seeds with screwdriver

4. Draw on design if (necessary)

5. Paint base coat if (necessary)

6. When finished & dry, the gourd can be sealed with a spray sealer or shined with some floor wax or shoe polish

7. Tie on cord or wire for hanging

Entrance Hole Sizes

Different types of birds look for certain types of homes. Here are just a few preferred styles: 

Wren-1" dm.

Chickadee-1 1/8" dm.

Woodpecker, Tufted titmouse, Nuthatch-1 ¼" dm.

Bluebird, Tree Swallow-1 ½" dm.

Crested Flycatcher-2" dm.

Flicker, Purple Martin-2 ½" dm.

"After you've scraped out the seeds don't forget you can keep your seeds for planting next spring"

There are many people across the country who are into gourds as a hobby. You can contact them through the following organizations.

To join American Gourd Society and/or receive their fascinating newsletter

http://www.americangourdsociety.org/

http://www.a  T join The Purple Martin Conservation Association

 https://www.purplemartin.org/

PA.( they gr        great info on creating martin houses using gourds)