The Q&A Archives: Birdhouse Gourds

Question: Mu birdhouse gourds rotted at ground level last year. Grew fine in the same spot year before. 2 plantings rotted off at ground level,not too wet. They got about 2=3 weeks old and rotted overnight. Thanks for any help. Joanne

Answer: I'm not quite sure whether the whole plants are dying off, or just the fruits. When fruits stay in contact with moist soil, they can rot. You can protect gourds (and squash and melons, for that matter), from rotting where they touch the soil by placing straw directly beneath the fruits so they don't come in direct contact with the soil. If the fruits died before fully mature, it's probably due to a lack of pollination. Wet weather or an overuse of pesticides can cause poor pollination. If the entire plants are dying at soil level, I'd suspect either squash vine borer damage or overly wet soils. Just to be on the safe side, plant your gourds in a completely different garden location next year, and choose the sunniest spot available. Hope you have better luck next year!

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