If I buy gourds from the farmers market that are grown in my area..should I look for brown vines? Or will they be O K if vines are still on the green side? They usually start selling them here in Sept or Oct--Thanks..N H
If you buy gourds, are you buying them for autumn decoration, or to dry for crafting?
If they are for crafting, only buy dried gourds. Handle them and make sure they are strong-walled and have no holes or cracks in them.
If it's dried gourds you want for long-term use (to paint, carve, etc.) buy ONLY the ones that you can hear the seeds rattling inside, and the stem is totally brown. If you can't hear the seeds, it's probably not dry enough. If they are very very light, as "gourd friends" says, don't buy because they possibly will crack or break. They should be firm, but not heavy. Good luck.
I like buying current season lagenaria gourds so I can green-scrape them, but if they're harvested before a hard frost they're not mature and will rot. If the vines are still green, you can bet they're not mature. If you're looking at the little ornamental gourds for (as the previous folks said) autumn decor, they're probably not going to last more than a season anyway so it doesn't matter.
I've been asked for a clarification of "green-scraping", so thought I'd post it here for general info.
When a hardshell gourd is mature, after a hard frost but before the skin starts to mold, you can take a flat-edged knife (as opposed to a serrated one - I've used a paring knife and a table knife without a toothed edge) and scrape off the skin. It comes off like shavings. What is exposed is a creamy beige hard shell. When the gourd is fully dried, this surface will have a very even tone, perfect for pyrography, without the spots and patterns you get as the skin dries/molds.
I was pretty rough with the process the first time I did it and was surprised that it seemed nearly impossible to mar the surface - it's really tough.
i have bought some from farmers/not a farmers market.and they were green as well.you do in fact have to scrape them.as they dry they will mold,do not think this is bad....it is part of the drying proseess.they will be alright.some times if you leave the mold on for a long time it will leave a neat pattern on the gourd.just do not leave the mold on too long or they will rot.some green gourds may rot and others may be o.k you just have to have faith that the ones you buy will dry good for you. good luck in you'r buying....
Dear Subversive or other posters: could you clarify re: when to buy? Gourds are on the market here now; I found some nice green apple gourds and others, but it's before our first frost. I would like to have dried gourds for decorations,primarily natural colors (or I might experiment with different "natural-looking" stains) so would either try to buy already dried, or buy different varieties after harvest and practice green-peeling and drying my own, but should I avoid those that are on the market now?