Rookie growing purple martin gourds

ron45715(SE Ohio)May 9, 2009

..completely new at this, the proverbial babe in the woods, so any advice would be appreciated.

I'm a 6th year martin landlord trying to grow my own gourds this year. I am having difficulty getting many of my seeds to germinate. I have received seed from martin landlords in Missouri, Nebraska, well as seed from gourds grown by a local friend. So far only the seed from one grower has germinated. Ohio's frost danger has almost subsided, so I have already planted 12 of these large purple martin gourd plants. problem is getting the rest of the seeds to germinate. I know the gourds I cured last year were exposed to severe temperatures last winter, so the seed may be ruined. I also have seeds ordered from a gardening catalog, as well as some large bottle gourd seed that I just picked up at WalMart. No luck getting these to sprout either.

Here is the method I'm using to speed germination:

I have place the seeds in a folded towel which sits atop a man which is partially submerged in the center of a larger aluminum pan with a few inched of water. The seeds are up on the dry island, but between the halves of the folded towel. The capillary action worked like a charm with the first seeds, but no luck since. Any suggestions on speeding up germination? Should I just plant them and hope for the best??

Finally, I seven dust good enough to repel the various pests that prey on gourd plant leaves?

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The seeds need warmth for germination, that is probably what you are lacking. Also I never pre-sprout seeds like that. You can try starting them in small pots and see if that works. But I always just direct seed my gourds in the ground and they germinate fine. Just check with your local cooperative extension service for planting dates in your area. Around here it is May 15th (I plan on planting this weekend). The severe temps probably didn't ruin the seeds although I don't know anything about Ohio's weather.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 9:55AM
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Hear from another semi novice.
I grow birdhous gourds last year by accident. I intended to grow ornamental gourds but there were mixed and included some small birdhouse gourds too.
I Was caught off guard, as I had no idea what I am getting into. As they kept growin (and growing) I kept making arches and treliss. Thanks to internet that I learned how to deal with it.
I did grow some pretty good ones but my birdhouse gourd plant died young from some unknown disease(grin) and left whole bunch of orphans. So the gourds could not mature and harden on vine .
Problem number two was mildew attack. I fought it and managed to salvage some ornamental gourds.

Problem number three was polinating BH gourds, since they open flowers early in the evening(separate male and female ) , after sundown and close before next dawn, during which time there are hardly any active insects around here to do polinating.

But despite that experience, I am growing more ang larger BH gourds plus swan gourds plus luffa gourds this year. I planted mine directly in the patch, as we have long growing season, there was no need to start them inside. My gourds now are ready to bloom. The vines are growing up to one foot a day. I will pinch the mains off when about 10 ft long, to encourage lateral branching and fruiting.

This year I am going to take precationary measures and spray them for mildew prevention. Actually I have done once and I am going to do it again, tomorrow.

So you heard it right here from another novice.(Grin!!)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:26PM
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It helps to scrape the edges of the large gourd seeds to help them take up water. You could try soaking them in peroxide first, then plant.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 11:59AM
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I successfully germinated 13 different types of gourds this year and potted up 186 of then! These seeds were 10 - 13 years old and I didn't expect great germination. I simply put them in 2 layers of wet paper toweling and put them in a plastic baggie and put them on the top shelf in my kitchen. I got approximately 70% germination this way. I have used this method with a lot of different kinds of seeds and have always gotten good results. I label each bag with the name of the seed and the date of starting them and with the expected germination time - if I know it. We have had good luck with growing gourds in tilled ground covered with black plastic which we plant through. We use organic fertilizers - mainly fish emulsion or kelp. Good luck with your gourds this year.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 12:25AM
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