Dangerous molds in gourds?

liznbeatleOctober 14, 2007

This is my first year growing gourds and I grew a nice six foot long handled dipper that I have been trying to dry. I cut it open and took out the seeds after a couple weeks, then scraped it out the best I could and set it to dry in the sunny window. However it began to grow white fuzzy mildew and black mildew, so I washed it out with a bleach solution and put it out in direct sun on the white driveway. It dried quite quickly t hen however the handle is mildewing up inside the end where I cannot get bleach intoit without cutting another hole into the stem which I am trying to avoid. Now someone told me that he mildews that gourds grow can be very dangerous and that I should be wearing a mask when I work with them. Is there any way to keep them from mildewing? What do you treat yours with if they do? Do I have to bore a hole in the end of the stem to let the bleach get through or is there some other method. I am allergic to mold, so I really dont want to let it mildew then clean it. I would appreciate any suggestions. I am also looking for Tobacco box and Bushel Basket, I have some nice gourds to trade if you check out my list. Thanks. Lisa

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gourd_friends(z5/6 IL)

I think you may have hurried the processes too much. We have long handled dippers that will stay on the vine for at least another month. We won't take a gourd off the vine until the stem is dry, brown, and hardened.
As for drying it, some folks will cut a gourd to dry it, or maybe poke holes in it to help the process. We consider that a risky move, and leave the gourds till they are completely dry. Many of our finished gourds are never cut or drilled. And, yes it is ok to leave the seeds inside!
That means it will be very light weight, and you can hear the seeds rattle. That said; you can also hear the difference between wet seeds being shaken, and dry seeds.

Almost all gourds will go through a moldy time as they dry. That's what they are supposed to do. If molds bother you, get someone else to clean the gourds for you.
As for the dust inside the gourds, wear a protective mask when you are cleaning your dry gourds out.

Jan

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 10:49PM
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liznbeatle

Dear Jan,
Thanks very much for your reply, yes I did cut it when the stem was still green. The vine was dying so I thought it was time to harvest it. Live and learn:) This coming year I will do as you suggest and leave them longer. I do not have anyone I would ask to clean them for me so maybe I will experiment with ways to keep them from molding. I want to cut a whole in them for now because I want to save seeds, but eventually when I have enought seed I would like to dry them uncut, they are so beautiful in the pictures I have seen. Thanks for the tips. What is your favorite gourd? Do you knwo anyone who has bottle gourd, or tobacco box seeds to trade? I have tried on the seed exchange and havent found them yet. Sounds like you have been busy with your gourds, good for you! Lisa

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 12:00AM
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gourd_friends(z5/6 IL)

Hi Lisa,

We have saved seed from time to time, with amazing results in the following years crop. However, we don't isolate our gourd gardens, and always have a mixed breed as a result. I love the mixed breeds, they may be similar to another type of gourd, but can be very different from anything else.
Therefore, for a particuar shaped gourd, we buy our seeds from a reputable seed company.

Jan

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 12:46PM
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