The Q&A Archives: Planting Times For Gourds

Question: When is the best time and method for planting gourds?

Answer: Gourds are planted and grown just like vining types of squash. After danger of frost in spring, plant seeds about 3/4 to 1 inch deep in a soil rich in compost. You can plant 3 to 5 seeds in a 1 foot circular grouping (known as a "hill"), or space groups of 2 or 3 seeds about 1 to 2 feet apart down a trellis row. When seeds have their first true leaf, thin to 3 per hill or one per planting location down the trellis row.

Gourds really can be rampant and differ significantly in vigor between species and types. The long types grown on a trellis will give good straight "necks", while grown on the ground tend to produce bent "necks".

Gourds may take several months to mature and begin to dry. Allow them to fully mature before harvesting. This can take 3 months or more. There's nothing wrong with letting them dry on the vine. If you pick them before they are dry, allow them to dry completely in a location with good air circulation. This can take more than a month, especially for the larger volume types. When fully dry, you can clean up their moldy exterior with a brush and some bleach water.

Good luck with your gourds!

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