Tobacco Box Gourds - Knowledgebase Question

Mt.vernon, IA
Question by jwerling
January 11, 2000
I am interested in growing gourds and have been offered tobacco box gourd seed. What is a tobacco box gourd, where did the name come from and can I grow them in zone 4?

Answer from NGA
January 11, 2000


Gourds have numerous common names around the country, usually based upon the shape of the gourd and what it could be used for. I assume that the tobacco box gourd has a shape that could be cut so that a lid and receptacle would hold tobacco (or anything else for that matter). Plant in spring when soil warms up. Gourds grow extensive vines, so need room to spread and can take 90-130 days or more to mature, so the only problem in your zone is having a long enough growing season. You could try sprouting them early and transplanting to get a jumpstart. Gourds should be left on the vine until the stems are brown. If harvested too soon, they won't dry well. If left too long, frost will soften the fruit and ruin it. If frost is predicted, cut the gourds from the vines and cure them on a rack in a protected area that has good air circulation. Gourds should dry within a month of harvest. Here is a website all about gourds that you may find interesting:

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