The Q&A Archives: drying gourdes

Question: I am having problems with drying bushel and birdhouse gourdes. They begin to rot in the cellar, which stores potatoes fine. I have heard that I ought to leave them on the vine until spring (off of the ground), but am worried that they will rot there as well. I know they are supposed to mold, but need to know the proper atmoshere in which they will dry to be able to use them as decoration or for birdhouses. Thank you.

Answer: Gourds should be harvested at the end of summer, after the stems have turned brown, but before the first frost. If harvested too soon, they won't dry well. If left too long, frost will soften the fruit and ruin it. Harvest by cutting the stem from the vine. Wipe each gourd with a soft cloth dipped in a mild bleach solution and place on a wire rack to dry, making sure there's space between them to allow for good air circulation. They will dry best indoors in a warm, dry area with ample air circulation. Your cellar is probably too cool and damp for satisfactory results. Following the above suggestions should help you successfully dry gourds.

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