Last summer, which was the season it was so hot none of my vegetables even produced, I did make one good harvest– gourds! Evidently these hardy dipping gourds weren’t deterred by the scorching temperatures and grew up the fence, and then over it, making perfect green gourds wherever it could.
When the autumn frost killed the gourd vines, I cut off the gourds and went about trying to figure out how to dry them. I found lots of tips online, some super basic (just leave them on the vine out in the elements!) others more technical about ventilated barns, methodical turning and hovering and babying.
When I had read enough to make my head spin, I chose to just drill a hole through the top of the necks of the gourds and hang them from the rafters of my back porch and wish them luck. Some didn’t even get hung, but were piled up on the porch to see how they did.
The answer? They all did pretty darn good! After months of hanging (or just laying around for some) they are now all dried out, brown and beautiful. I also chopped down some garden fennel and hung it up to dry with them, and it is now a pretty autumn straw color as well. The photo above shows the fennel and the gourds hanging and ready to be created with.
This year I didn’t even buy seeds or actually plant the gourds. However, due to being played with by a certain curious 5 year old, a few gourds were broken and their seeds got into the lawn and some vines actually sprung up! Earlier this summer I dug up one of the little gourd vines and replanted it in my herb bed to see how it would do. It is now climbing up the porch post and an iron bedstead I have in the herb bed and although there aren’t gourds yet, there are lots of blooms and hopefully, a second season of gourds!
So…I think it’s safe to say that if you want to grow something fool-proof that you can later use for crafting, gourds are the way to go! They’re so hardy and so fun. I love all the interesting shapes and I’m looking forward to deciding what I’ll do with the gourds that are now dried and ready to use. I’d thought I might paint them, but I’m also thinking I might make an autumn garland out of them. Who knows what I’ll think up! But I know it will be lots of fun.