Planting Guide - Gourd Seeds
Growing Gourds in Your Garden
One of the easiest plants to grow, ornamental gourds prefer to be directly sown into your full sun garden. No planting trays or grow lights needed – these nature lovers just need a long, hot summer and lots of room to grow. Depending on the type, gourd vines often stretch to lengths of 30 feet or more! Gourds grow well on trellises, arbors or just left to run on the ground. Some gardeners like to keep the fruit off the ground, training the vines to grow up a trellis to beautifully showcase the fruit hanging down. Others like the vines to ramble through their garden, giving them the flexibility of being able to change the direction of the vines if necessary.
When & How to Plant Gourd Seeds
As with Squash, Cucumbers, Melons, Pumpkins and Watermelons, Gourd seeds do best planted directly into hills formed of aged compost and soil. Sow 4 or 5 seeds per hill, with each hill spaced 4 feet apart. If growing in rows, space your rows 5 to 10 feet apart if you have the room! The more space you can provide, the better, as it will result in larger gourds.
Once your strongest seedlings emerge, thin to 2-3 per hill. Treat from here on in as you would your pumpkins and squash: warm weather, lots of fertilizer and soil should drain well and be kept moist. Afternoon wilt is common, but if leaves are wilting in the morning it is a sign that your plants need water.
Smaller gourds can be trained on a trellis, but take care with the larger gourds as the weight can cause the fruit to break off the vine if suspended. It has been said that gourds thrive on neglect. After 110-130 days the hard shell varieties should be fully mature while the smaller gourds need only 90-100 days.
Vines should be left to brown, but harvest your gourds prior to cold weather setting in. Dipper and Birdhouse/Bottle should be kept in a cool dry place for several weeks to cure. Our Large Mix, Small Mix and Turks Turban can be harvested later in the fall and are not damaged by a light frost. Our Luffa gourd should be harvested once the fruit turns brown.
To remove from the vine, use sharp shears and make a clean cut, leaving a portion of the stem remaining depending on your creative needs.