The Q&A Archives: Growing Gourds

Question: I was given some gourd seeds, removed from a friends gourd, and was wondering how to plant them.

Answer: If you have planted other vining crops such as squash or cukes, they are pretty much the same. They grow fast in warm soil, so plant when soil temperatures have warmed up in a location that gets at least 6-8 hours of full sun. Depending on variety, vines can reach up to 65 feet in length, so leave plenty of room for them to sprawl, or have a sturdy trellis. Incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil before planting and you probably won't need additional fertilizer. Sow about 1 to 1.5 inches deep and leave 3 to 6 feet of space between plants. Keep soil moist until germination. Gourds germinate quickly but then "sit" awhile before suddenly growing by leaps and bounds, so don't be discouraged if there doesn't seem to be much happening. Keep well watered, but don't overwater if the plants wilt in the afternoon heat. Transpiration (water loss from the leaves) can be more rapid than the roots can uptake water to replace it during hot weather. If the plants are wilted in the afternoon, wait until morning to water. They may recover. If still wilted in the morning, they need water.

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