Care and Planting Instructions

Transplant outside after all danger of frost has passed in a sunny location with fertile, well-drained soil. Gourds grow on the side branches and not the main stem. Pinch the tip of each main stem to create full, bushy plants. For best results, protect young plants with a floating row cover from common pests like the cucumber beetle, squash bugs, and vine borers.

Birdhouse gourds produce best when planted in hills, or mounds. Mound the soil 4-6” high and 12” in diameter. The vines are rambunctious, so allow a minimum of 4 to 8 feet of space between each hill. Gourds will benefit from an additional application of organic compost 30 days from initial planting. Side dress the hills and water deeply.

Gourds are susceptible to rot, mildew and other moisture problems. Water the gourds as needed to keep the soil evenly moist. Put a stake in with the plant to help remember where the roots of the plant are and to alleviate any unnecessary watering of the vines.  Decrease watering gradually in August. Stop watering entirely by the end of September, and allow the vines to wither.

Gourd varieties

Birdhouse Gourd  (lagenaria siceraria)
Open pollinated. Light green skinned with larger,
rounded blossom end that is perfect for crafting or
birdhouses. 4-6 fruits per plant. Harvest 125 days.
Ornamental Gourd mix  (cucurbita pepo)
Early to mature. Decorative mix of small-sized
and different shaped gourds. Great for fall
crafting displays. Harvest 95 days.

Gourd culture –

For consistent fruit shape (and no flat spots) consider growing vines on a trellis vines. Gourds grown on trellises are cleaner and less likely to rot because they don’t touch the soil. Other suitable structures for gourd vines are sturdy chain link fences or even trees! If you choose to grow without a trellis, be sure to spread a generous layer of mulch under the plant to prevent stems from rooting where they touch the ground.

Harvest the Ornamental mix gourds when colors are fully developed and stems are dry, but before hard frost. Cure out of direct sunlight at 80-85°F with good air ventilation for 5-7 days. Wash fruits, dry, then seal with furniture polish.

Harvest Birdhouse gourds when stems dry and color fades; keep on vine as long as possible, frost will not harm fruits. Store in dry, well-ventilated area until completely dried (3-6 months) prior to crafting use.