Why grow gourds?

mattjjd24(4 upstate NY)February 19, 2009

I certainly dont want to offend anybody who loves to grow gourds with this question, but it just doesnt make sense to me. Why take up space with something you cant eat? How many birdhouses do you need? Is there anything else you can do with other types of gourds? Please enlighten me!

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1. gourds are edible. They are very popular in Asia and catching on in the USA. Bottle gourd types ( Lagenaria siceraria) are the most popular. The cucuzzi sometimes called Italian squash is one of these. Sponge gourds ) Luffa cylindria)sometimetimes called climbing okra and Luffa acutangular (Chinese okra) are used when young altho in The USA are mostly grown to maturity for sponges. Bitter gourds (Momordica charantia) and wax gourds ( Benincasa hispida( are grown mostly as edibles.
2. Ornamental gourds usually Lagenaria siceraria are used extensively for arts and crafts. The samll decorative gourds are usually actually squash ( Cucurbita pepo)

Here is a link that might be useful: gourds

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:19PM
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You don't have to be outta your gourd, to grow gourds.

The gourd... Still more useful than a shrubbery?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 2:12AM
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kellygirrl(z5 !A)

In fact, grow gourds on your shrubbery. Now that's using your noodle.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 1:30PM
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As mentioned, you can pick your gourds young and tender and eat them like squash. Some gourds have more value for crafts than just cooking them. Not every squash/pumpkin grow hard shell to be dried, carved, painted, etc.

Bottle/birdhouse/swan/kettle gourds are hard shelled when fully matured on vine till frost even later.

I have made a musical instrument from a kettle gourd.
The bowl (resonator) already made by nature. All you have to do is add neck, strings, cover the mouth with skin or soundboard.

There are numerous arts and crafts uses for hard shelled gourds. Another aspect of growing things is just for hubby.
If you enjoy growing them, that is all it counts.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:59PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

Matt, I wonder the same thing every time I see a non-edible plant. . . why are you growing flowers/shrubs/grass?? You could be growing tomatoes!! But, to each his own, I guess. We used to have a family friend who was completely obsessed with gourds-- she made all kinds of painted gourd figurines. Her garage was like a gourd shrine.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 2:45PM
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Well, some grandmothers knit or do needlecraft, I grow snake gourds and make rainsticks for my grandkids...they love me for it, so it's worth giving up some of the eating space ~~

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:54PM
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If you only have room for food crops, gourds would not be something you would want to plant, although some varieties can be eaten in their early fruiting phase. That said, however, gourds, of which there are many shapes and sizes, are one of the most interesting and FUN plants you can grow, AND, you can play with your produce all winter! If you really get into growing gourds you should definitely attend a gourd festival where you will see some of the most amazing sights that you can imagine. If you are into creativity, I promise you that gourds are an absolute inspiration. You can cut, carve, paint, sculpt, use them as a 3-D canvas, and otherwise use them in many other ways for crafting. Also the history of the gourd is fascinating. They have been traditionally used as vessels for storing dried foods, used for carrying liquids, and even used to float cremated remains out to sea. Beans, found stored in gourds in Anasazi Indian sites in the western USA, were still viable after more than 2000 years and we have that variety today only because they were stored so well in a gourd!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 4:46PM
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mistercross(z6b Ozarks)

Merle, I don't mean to knock gourds, but most versions of the story of ancient Anasazi beans state that they were found in clay pots sealed with pine tar.

For example here is the story within a thread in the Heirloom Plants Forum.

Here is a recipe site where the story is not buried so deeply.

Actually, I sort of doubt the story since, as far as I know, dwarf or pygmy elephants generally lived on islands, not the American southwest.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 3:30AM
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Remember fols, that man cannot live with bread alone!!
To me, and some gardeners, gardening is also a hobby.
As I mentioned in my previous post, for an arist/craftsman some gouds are more valuable than squash, that you can buy at 90 cents a pound. Some big gourds can woth upwards of $5 a piece. Plus, its your baby not the neighbor's.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 1:32PM
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luciusnana(zone 7,NC)

As for growing gourds, my granny always said it will help keep snakes away and the one time i did not plant them, guess who came by to say hello. Two big snakes, so i plant them every year.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 8:23PM
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Why on earth would anyone want to keep snakes away?

Anyway, gourds seem like they would appeal to people who are into woodworking or pottery, since you can make many of the same types of things with gourds. You don't have to just make birdhouses. You can also make cups, bowls, spoons, pitchers, planters, rattles, and so on and so on.

And with luffa gourds you can make dish sponges and scrubbers and the like so you don't have to buy them. That's why I'm trying out growing some. After all, after eating all the delicious food I grow, you gotta do the dishes somehow!

But I mostly feel the way you do that most of my space should be taken up with edibles. But gourds are far more useful than, say, lawns, IMO. I also knit, and that doesn't result in anything I can eat, but it still results in something useful.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:39AM
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Growing gourds is mostly for fun and hubby. Few people can make artifact from them and very very few can make money selling them.
As some people grow herbs just to attract caterpillars (eventually butterflies), growing gourd is similar thing.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:11PM
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