harvesting and storing birdhouse gourds

michgardengrammySeptember 28, 2008

I have planted birdhouse gourds for the first time this year. Because I planted in a place that was a cattle barnyard years ago, the soil is very rich. I was not sure how many of the seeds would grow since I had never planted them before. I have at least 43 gourds, both birdhouse and swan varieties. What I am interested in, is how I can store them while they are drying this winter. I can put them in a barn or shed area, but because of the cold in Michigan, I wonder if that will hurt the gourds. I have so many, I will have a problem trying to find any room for them in an area that is heated, or above freezing temps for several months. Also, do I leave them in the garden area until the first frost? There has been a light frost in our area, but most of the vines are still somewhat green and are just beginning to dry and turn brown. Any and all advice would be appreciated. I look forward to painting and using these for active bird houses and gifts next year. Thanks.

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gourd_friends(z5/6 IL)

Storing them in the barn, or any other area where they will have good ventilation is fine. Don't worry about the freezing and thawing, as natural weather conditions just help the curing process.
Keep watching the stems and harvest the gourds when the stems are brown and hard. Cut the stems so there is about four inches of stem left on the gourd.

have fun,
Jan

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Connie Kru

I live in MI and I leave mine right in the garden where they grow. Early the next spring I check them and if they feel almost dry (by weight) I then bring them inside and finish drying. They do best with lots of air and weather around them. The freezing will not hurt them.
The Grandkids and I had so much fun with the apple gourds
Connie
SE Mi

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 9:04PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

Just leave them in the garden and pick up in the spring. I think they cure better left outside. Mine cure fine left in the garden.
JMO,
Tom

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 2:13AM
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magickiwi(Zone 5 Michigan)

I hope your gourds are enjoying the cool weather! If you leave them outdoors then the rains, snow, thawing and freezing will help them immensely. If you have a problem with deer you might want to put them on a pallet to keep the bottoms clean and then wrap a "fence" of chicken wire or something around it so the deer can't bite holes in them ... it will also hopefully keep raccoons and squirrels from chomping on them - I lost 30+ that way last winter!

There are several gourd growers here in Michigan and lots of gourd crafters and artists ... I am a crafter! We have several small groups who get together once a month to share ideas on what to do with gourds - the next get together for my area (SW Michigan) is in Plainwell in early November. Enjoy your gourds and good luck!
Rita in Kalamazoo

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 7:21PM
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