Bird House Gourds - Knowledgebase Question

Ishpeming, MI
Avatar for soccer1
Question by soccer1
July 2, 1999
This year I am going to try to grow bird house gourds. Recently I had heard that they can also be used for a container say for liquids, like a canteen. Just how would you go about making a canteen out of a birdhouse gourd?

Answer from NGA
July 2, 1999
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. Take them indoors and allow them to cure for several months in a cool, dry place until you hear the seeds rattle inside when you shake the gourd. Then drill a hole in the top, or use a saw to remove the stem end of the gourd, and shake out the seeds. You can use a small cork to keep liquid from spilling from the top. The dried gourd should hold water without leaking but you may want to varnish the outside to make it more durable.

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