Oven Drying Birdhouse Gourds

SaraCT(Zone 6 CT)October 16, 2004

Has anyone heard or read of drying birdhouse gourds in the oven? I have 9 of them in various sizes and was hoping to give them as Christmas gifts. I'm going to try one in the oven. I'll open it up, seed it as much as I can, and put it in a warm oven for a couple of hours. Maybe it will speed up the drying process.

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gourd_friends(z5/6 IL)

Stop what you are doing..!!!!!!!!
Gourd drying is a natural process. Putting it in the oven will bake it and ruin it for crafting. If you insist on making something for this Christmas from gourds...go buy some that are already dry. Leave your fresh crop of gourds for next year.
Take some time and read through these forums so you can understand the need for patience and care in working with gourds.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 4:22PM
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Yes, you can do this, but it's iffy at best. Yes, some will be ruined, but some won't. Best results are achieved by natural air drying, but if you want to experiment, I'm putting a link here to the American Gourd Society's oven dry instructions. If you have an ugly one you won't mind losing, experiment with that one. Check instructions, and good luck. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Gourd Drying Oven-Style

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 8:25PM
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I agree with what's been said above. Gourds tend to balk at being quick-dried. I would definitely classify "drying birdhouse gourds in the oven" as experimentation, not as a sure-fire method! As caseyst says above, pick an ugly gourd, if you feel compelled to give it a try. Then again, to the true gourd lover, is there ever a gourd we raise that we can truly deem, ugly?

Here is a link that might be useful: Birdhouse Gourds

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 6:01PM
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Oh I've grown some that would give you nightmares! :)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 6:53PM
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craft_granny(z5 WI)

Hi everyone! I harvested my first gourds this year. I planted about a dozen birdhouse and apple gourds on natural trellises, but I only got 6 gourds ranging from medium size to very small. One thing I know I will have to do next year is get them in the ground sooner than I did this year considering I live in WI where summer seems to be a thing of the past lately.
As I said, I planted them to climb a trellis I made from a neighbor's tree she cut down.
Can anyone give me some guidance please? Would it be better to let them grow on the ground or on a trellis? I read the link posted by Caseyst regarding oven drying. It said to wait until we get a light frost before cutting them. I cut mine about a month ago and they were green. Are they supposed to be green or should they have gotten brown? Frost here didn't happen until just this week--go figure.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 5:15AM
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Well howdy there Craft_Granny! You did just fine, gourds love a trellis (good job on using a cut down tree too). They also like rambling around on the ground. It actually just depends on the space you have (grow up for more) and how you want the gourds to look when they're done. Trellis gourds will have more rounded bottoms, and if they have long necks, those necks will be straight. Ground grown gourds will have flat bottoms to stand up nicely (if you make sure the bottom is the part that sits on the ground or whatever you slide under them for protection - board, plastic, mulch, whatever) and the necks will curl on longer neck varieties.

If you grew birdhouse and apples this year, they shouldn't be brown yet. Birdhouse gourds and apple gourds are fairly thick, and the thicker the gourd, the longer the drying time. I've had birdhouse gourds that were still green in January after picking them off the vine back in November. By now yours should be sweating a lot (they dry from the inside out, feel wet, and grow awful looking mold - all this is normal). When they're brown and lightweight, and you can hear seeds rattle when you shake them, they're ready for anything you want to do with them.

Couple things you can do to speed them along now. Make sure they get good air circulation, wipe the mold off as it appears, you can even give them a light spray with Tilex to retard the mold from growing in the first place. Some of us "green clean" the gourds, which basically means we scrape the green skin off with a dull knife or a scraper. They dry a bit faster that way as well, and if you don't like the patterns molds impart to a gourd, it's a good way to avoid those. Personally though, I love mold patterns. Nature's way of decorating it before I get to it. :)

Hope this long-winded message helps a bit!


    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 9:43AM
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craft_granny(z5 WI)

WOW Casey! Thanks soooo much! So they really are green when cut-Yes? I have mine in the basement on racks. I probably should put a small fan on them for better circulation. I do have a workshop down there so I can check on them when I go down there but sometimes I don't for a week at a time. (The door to the basement is outside) People around here say it takes a year to dry them. What can I do to incourage next years crop to be bigger and produce more? Would I use vegetable fertilizer or something else? Also, can you recommend some good seed sources? I ordered from Burpee the first time and they were ok, but I ordered 'birdhouse' gourds and I got a package of a mix so I didn't know what was what. Even so, the gourds I did get are all alike except for sizes even though the seeds were diferent. I seem to remember learning, a long time ago, that once a few gourds get a good start, dead heading some of the flowers will allow more energy to go to the "babies" instead of more flowers. Have you heard this? What do you think? And what pests do you know are an enemy of the vines? I hope you don't mind so many questions.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 1:56PM
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homegrown54(z6 SE Ohio)

Well, all I have to add is... I had awful luck bringing them in... then I discovered that all I had to do was LEAVE THEM outside all winter... I had left some in the field not figuring on using them.. and inside I had to mess around and they still molded... spring came, I went out to clean up, an lo and behold, they're waiting, all beautifully dry. Wisest to be patient and let Mother Nature do the job.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2005 at 9:01AM
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We always leave ours outside for the winter to dry. Right on the vines if they are hanging. They dry best for us on top of chicken wire so the air can circulate all around them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 9:18AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

I agree with leaving them outside to dry. They come out much better and it's much easier to find them in the spring.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 11:27PM
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I have a lakota squash that was given to me to cook with. I have scraped out all the meat and hate to throw away the beautiful shell. Is there any way to preserve it?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:07PM
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Are you sure it is a Lakota squash? They do not dry and should not have a shell to speak of, in any case if it is a Lakota squash whatever you have left over will unfortunately rot. Just take lots of pictures if you like it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:47AM
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I heard that greeks cut the gourd on the top fill it with stones to clen up the seeds. After they fill the gourd with salt to absorbe the moisture. Any experience with this method??

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 3:03PM
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