I am extremely interested in growing gourds next year. Is there a "best" place to find information on growing them. Are their particular gourds that a "newbie" should grow before trying anything else? Thanks
There is a book called Gourds In Your Garden that I've found particularly useful. However any book on growing pumpkins is equally as usuful and the information translates well whether you grow gourds or pumpkins. There are two main types of gourds ornamental gourds (Cucurbita pepo) which are the small colorful ones, and hardshelled gourds (lagenaria siceraria) which are large and only different shades of green. The hardshelled gourds are used in crafts like birdhouses and such, and the ornamental gourds are used mostly in colorful fall displays.
Unless you really care what you grow I recommend that you buy a gourd that you find particularly interesting and save seeds from it. Because that gourd grew in a field mixed with many other gourds of varying shapes and colors you never know what you will get from it. But more often than not the seeds will grow into gourds of a similar color or shape to what you started with.
The link below will direct you to all you need to know from planting to harvesting to crafting gourds.
And since you live in Ohio, too bad you missed this year's weekend festival of the Ohio Gourd Society held down near Dayton, in Greenville. If you are a gourd fan, you definitely need to get this on your calendar for next year! They have great workshops as well as displays gourd art work and numerous vendors selling all varieties of gourd seeds as well as mature gourds (and other natural materials), some cleaned, some not, in all price ranges.Click on this link and peruse the photo gallery for info and inspiration!!
Just be sure you get the correct info on curing/drying gourds (which you WILL get from these sites) --I have seen a lot of misinformation online, even here within this forum.
I still have many, many gourds of various types I grew when we lived in eastern PA 20 years ago, as sound as the day I cleaned them.
Here is a link that might be useful: American Gourd Society