Gourds are used as ornamental plants or sculpture works. Once established they grow quickly and spread their vines in different directions.
To curtail the spread you need constant trimming and tendering. Here is a guide on different types of gourds, growing and curing gourds.
Types of Gourds
There are basically three groups of gourds. We have the Luffa aegyptiaca, Legenaria and Cucurbita pep. The Lagenarias siceraria is a hard-shelled gourd used to make drinking vessels.
Under this category we also have gourds such as powderhorn, cavemans club and swan gourd. Other lagenaria include dipper gourd, bottle gourd and penguin. The Cucurbita pepo are related to pumpkins and are used as decoration or ornamental gourds.
• Luffa aegyptiaca
• Cucurbita pep
They are used as decorations, sculpture and drinking vessels. Some are ideal as ornamental plants.
• Drinking vessels
• Ornamental plants
complete facts about winter squash
How to Grow Gourds
It takes four months for them to grow to full maturity. The process of growing them requires seeding them indoors and transplanting to prepared soil 1 to 2 months.
The plant requires large space especially for the vines to grow. They grow fast and provide a rigid structure to control the spread.
In most cases the male blossoms first appear then the immature fruits at the base. Protect them from cucumber beetles by covering them with floating row covers.
• Seed indoors
• Transplant in favorable weather conditions
• Trim vines when they spread
Curing and Harvesting Gourds
Once the tendrils are dry and stem brown ornamental gourds are ready for harvesting. Hard-shell gourds should be allowed to dry in the field however colored patterns disappear when fully dry.
In the case of luffas the gourds should turn brown at both ends while the stem is dry. The inner fiber are dry and tan and the seeds rattle when shaken.
The thickness of the shell determines how long the inside dries. In can take up to 5 to 6 months before the inner part is dry. Quality winter squash are heavy have hard rind and are spot free.