Gourds have always been a fall favorite, but did you know they were grown for their useful attributes? Grown for thousands of years, it is believed that God shaded Jonah with gourd leaves to protect him.
There are 2 types of gourds, hard shelled and thin. The latter is mainly used for temporary decorations, and not good for drying. The others, hard shelled, will dry into a hard wood like shell. They are used for bird houses, bowls, decorations and other items- and will last virtually forever.
How to dry a gourd:
Some folks place them outside after fall. they let the weather take it's course on these cucurbits, freezing and thawing in the open air until next spring, a hard (ugly) brown thing with soft peeling skin is left.
Sometimes they are placed inside by a fireplace for the winter. (I always have better luck keeping them outside under the porch roof)
Once dried, the outer shell can be soaked in bleach water, use a soft brush to remove any loose skin. Then dry again completely.
Your gourd can be sawed with a dremel tool, drilled into or etched with a wood burning tool at this time.
They can be sanded, painted, glued, drilled or anything you wish. There's a bunch of fun ideas on the internet to follow.
Once dried and sealed, some can be useful as bird feeders, cut out with a saw and a sharp pair of pruners can make a nice feeding den for birds to eat, without the snow or rain intruding.
Snake Gourds are cool in their design. Long and "snake like" they make neat decorations (I painted some to look like gourds again, with the green and dark green blotches- and some I hung up on the ceiling for Cinco de Mayo, striped with red, green and white and other festive colors). There's a lot of things you can do with gourds. They are fun to decorate, (apple gourds are cool to dry- paint them red and add a leaf)
We can't guarrantee that all gourds will dry. But most do. Small Jack Be littles (actually called "mini pumpkins) sometimes dry, but not always.
Cutie Pie pumpkins (the ones we sell with hats on them) dry really nicely. I gave 2 to this nice lady a few years ago- this is what they look like today.
Most often, I like to keep them intact and whole. I clean them, stain them, use some sealant. Gourds are beautiful and will last a lifetime.
Use a drill bit kinda like this one.
Once the gourds are dry..
Once gourds are dry, save the seeds. Use them to plant outdoors next spring to grow your own. (or open up fresh gourds and lay seeds on a counter to dry for 5 or more days.