With the full accent on vegetables in past few articles, I have noticed that there are some plants which are not flowers but will make each space much nicer and warmer. One such is our vegetable for today. Let me show you how to grow gourds so that you can decorate your space.
Now, I know that I have written about growing zucchini, and although things are quite similar between these two, there are some critical differences. Thus, this article is here, so relax, enjoy, it won’t hurt a bit.
Common Knowledge About Gourd(S)
The term “gourd” is very broad, and people often confuse it with many other species which are related to it, so here is a clarification. This article will be about decorative and usually non-edible members of this family. And since there are some interesting facts about gourds, here they are.
To explain the last item on this list, I haven’t thought about heavy clay here. Just the soil which retains water just a bit longer, but not too much. In general, if you have regular soil, fit for other vegetables, you will do fine.
Needed Tools And Material
There are several things which are required to grow gourds, and luckily, none of them are difficult to find. Remember that humankind grew gourds for thousands of years, so nothing extraordinary will be needed. Still, here is a checklist.
Scratch that one about extravagant tools and materials. Mold is usually made of clay or terracotta since it needs to be broken later. However, the situation is not that bad, since those can be found in garden centers.
Every gardener probably knows this, but I have to mention it. Proper preparation is the most important step in having good looking and healthy vegetables. Every text on my blog so far had described how to do so. We’ll continue in this manner.
First of all, you need to set a location for growing gourds. Keep in mind that they need full sun coverage during the day. So, take a look at your garden, and see where the sun shines most of the time. If you have a large garden which doesn’t have many trees and other shade-making objects, any location is right.
On the other hand, you will probably going to make a trellis for climbing. This way your plants will go vertical and will save space as well. I’m telling you this because you can choose between an arch such as this one, or go with the one I have used for growing zucchini on a trellis.
Now, as for the soil, we have more or less a standard situation on our hands. You should add manure or compost as you always do, and work it in well. It takes about a week to prepare it. However, with the seeds, the situation is utterly different.
Since it takes about 180 days (give or take) for gourds to be ready for harvesting, you will want to start the seeds indoors. This is where the sandpaper will be of assistance. People living in cold areas will want to start the seeds about eight weeks before last frosts.
Start with taking a seed, and rub it a few times on sandpaper. In this case, the finer the paper is, the better. Leave the seeds in a bowl filled with water for 24 hours, and it will be much easier for sprouts to penetrate the outer shell.
Plant one or two seeds per compartment of the trellis, place it somewhere with a lot of light, and water it daily. It should sprout nicely by the time transplantation is needed.
Moving The Seedlings And Caring
Once the freezing temperatures pass, you can continue with moving the seedlings. The procedure is simple, and require you to dig a hole suitable for a plant with its root ball, place the seedling and water them generously. As for spacing, go with 2 feet between plants and 5 feet between rows.
Watering is essential for gourds, so add a layer of mulch, since it will prevent water from evaporating, and will suppress the weeds as well. This period is vital in growing, so keep the watering at a high level, mainly while the weather is scorching.
When it comes to fertilizing, adding 10-10-10 once in every few months will be sufficient. If everything is done right, your vines should progress nicely, so train them up the trellis, and watch for fruits to appear.
Once they do, add that mold I have listed. They will shape the gourd as it grows. Once the vines start turning yellow and brown, harvesting time is in order. Wait for the green part to die out completely, and after that take the shears and cut them from stems.
As of pests and diseases, expect cucumber beetles which can be dealt with by planting tansy, and powdery mildew. The latter can be prevented with pruning plants to provide better air circulation and by avoiding watering over foliage.
So, we’re here. As you can see, learning how to grow gourds is not such a difficult task, and is suitable for every gardener. With just a bit of effort, you can have great decorating pieces. It will also show you how to grow climbing plants, which is beneficial for beginners especially.
If you have any question, thought or advice, feel free to use the comment section below.