Gourds, mold and discolored results

Mearth(z8PNW B'ham)February 13, 2006

Well, I followed advice posted here back in '04 and let my gourds cure without intervention. They, as I was told they would, hosted an impressive crop of various molds and mildews. Now they are pretty much cured and I'm scrubbing the molds off, only to find that the final coloring of the gourd is not what I was expecting. They are mottled from the molds, greenish in areas, dark brown in others. Not exactly ugly, but not the uniform sawn-wood color I was hoping for. Any simple correction for this problem?

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That's been my experience for years. You either incorporate the natural "enhancements" (or discolorations, depending on your perspective) into your design, use stain or shoe dye to "blend" it in, or paint over it. I've heard some folks use bleach to even out the color, but for me I've found it really weakens the gourd and seems to only make the disparity between the light and dark colors of the gourd more pronounced.

I seriously doubt that intervening somehow in the gourds curing process would have made any difference.

I'm an amateur gourder, so maybe someone with more experience will give you another perspective.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 3:15AM
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bethlaf(6b no ark)

i assume you have already scrubbed the "skin"off , and now dont like the results....
well , as someone mentioned you can bleach them , but it doesnt work well,
personally I look at it this way , i expect wood to have a "grain" and the coloration patterns you get on gourds are the same thing , it helps to think of them that w
the only way to sort of control the coloration d.uri0.ng drying i0s hang them in a r oot cellar with a fan on them costantly ... but even then its inexact at best ....

    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 11:30AM
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Have you tried greenscraping (Or dry scraping) your gourds? This is the only method I have seen where you have some kind of chance to control what the outside looks like.

Basically, you bring your gourds in in very late fall after you are certain they are totally ripe and after several frosts have killed all the energy remaining in the vine.

With the back of a butter knife or I use one of those Pampered Chef plastic scrapers you get for cleaning your stones, you scrape everything off the gourd. If it's ripe, it will not damage what's underneath. I only do a couple at a time so I left mine on the counter. As mold starts to form again, I washed them with a weak bleach solution. Sometimes I only have to do this once, last time I had to constantly repeat it.

They will be dry and ready to use in a relatively short period of time but more importantly since they never had mold growing on them, there are no stains.

Greenscraping may cause a gourd to shrivel slightly or even develop some small vertical openings. This probably has to do with the ripeness of the gourd. But, don't be dismayed. I just work around the flaws and incorporate them into the design.

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 9:34AM
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donna_stevens(z7 TN)

Cleaning gourds too early will cause them to crack and cave in, it is better to let them dry completely inside a low temp place. Yes it is hard to control the looks but that is part of nature.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 9:07PM
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pogoduck(zone 4 North Dakota)

I love the natural coloration of gourds! I always look for the most speckled and mottled gourds when I'm buying. Like Bethlaf says, it's like woodgrain and it can be very pretty. I always use a transparent color so the natural beauty can show through. Just my thoughts on the coloring. You can dip or spray them with a dilute bleach solution throughout the drying period if you want less mold. This works pretty well to keep the mold down.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 10:32PM
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