Cutting back gourd vines?

Sasha_DE(z7 DE)September 29, 2004

Thank you, Jan, for the message about harvesting the bushel gourds; however, I'm not certain where the appropriate lateral vines are. Because we didn't pay any attention to all the growth, the vines are tangled and growing everywhere. Should I cut all the laterals away from the large gourds--if there are no other bushels on them?

Also, about drying? Can we hang them in fishing nets instead on placing them on pallets. I'm concerned about air circulation and animals near the ground.

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gourd_friends(z5/6 IL)

Hi Sasha,
As for cutting the gourd vines, its getting late enough in the growing season that it really doesn't matter. Yes, you could cut the laterals that aren't bearing any gourds.
I know what you mean about the tangled vines, we learned the hard way about keeping the vines under control. We love to watch them grow like crazy, but that doesn't always give the best yield.
I don't know about using the fishing nets, how strong are the nets, and how heavy are the gourds?
You'll learn a lot by the trial and error method, so go ahead and see what won't know if you don't try!!!


    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 11:07PM
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Sasha_DE(z7 DE)

Thanks again, Jan. This is so exciting. I have never watched vines grow so rapidly, and I have been a gardener all my life, especially, since the entire crop was a fluke. The seeds were tossed near the bank of a brackish- water, over-flow ditch in our back yard. I have a perennial bed on the near side that I have struggled to maintain because so many flowers and shrubs bite the dust with mildew and/or the acidic water supply. The water table here is one shovel scoop and WATER! Tap roots on trees(loblollies mostly)grow across the yard, not down. I have been discouraged with gardening since moving here. For me, it was all trial and error, but I have slowly learned how to select the right plants and to mound the soil as much as possible.

The bank where the gourds are growing has a SLIGHT ridge and a thick bed of pine needles. So, I guess the soil (sand and compost) was good. I should have planted my perennial bed on that side of the water! However, the land is community property and boarders a neighborhood of condominums. Someone has already harvested a few gourds, but we contacted the owner's association and explained our dilemma and as long as we clean up after the gourds, we can let them finish growing this year. This is a one-time chance. Beachers here are more into the appearance of property than gourds! We had to pull the vines out of the grass area and contain them to a 200'X 14' mall-type area. This is when a picture would be worth a 1000 words. Fortunately, some of the neighbors thought we were growing water lilies! And, tourist season is over and only a few neighbors remain year round. So I think the remaining gourds(19) are safe now.

If you have managed to read this far, I hope I have explained why I am so crazy to harvest and dry correctly this year.

To answer your questions--the bushels are 48" round and heavy. I call them bushels, but I don't really know. They are nice and round and bigger than a basket ball. We went out yesterday and carefully placed home made pallets (14x14 frames with heavy wire tops) under each gourd. My husband made them when I explained about air and the damp ground. He is the crafter. One of the gourds has split--a big split. But the rest are nice and hard and two are tan colored. I cut back the new growth--the vines are still sending off hundreds of blossoms, and I tried to find the main vines but couldn't walk well without stepping on vines, so I just limited cutting to the fresh growth. What a tangle of vines. If I ever grow these again in another life, I will prune.

The fishing net is strong. And because we live on pilings, we can hang them under the house--no big oaks around here! We do have a few loblolly pine trees, but the first branches are 20 feet in the air. I plan to hang some and leave some on pallets placed up on a deck, and some on the screen porch, etc. That way, the trial and error method won't make me crazy.

I feel better just hearing your advice, knowing others share concerns, and knowing there are "gourd people" out there who can help me with all my questions. The gourd forum has made this experience great--even if the gourds all rot.

Thanks again. Sasha

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 11:37AM
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njoynit(Z8b Coastal ~secluded)

my frind said I could make slings useing the mesh bags some fruit come in in the stores& could make slings with material she said to just cut to shape of bandana and tie up under the gourd.
I don't have mine in slings yet,but would go with the mesh bag if needed.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 4:46PM
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