How to grow birdhouse gourds & make birdhouses out of gourds!
It’s easy to grow birdhouse gourds. Plus, you can transform gourds into more than just bird houses!
What are other things to make out of this crop?
Bird house gourds also make great water dippers, and other craft projects as well. In fact, they are often called “bottle gourds”. That’s because you can even carve them into bottles!
Steps for How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds:
First, you’ll need to get birdhouse gourd seeds to plant. Then you may need to stratify the seed by scratching it. That way the seeds may germinate better than if you don’t scratch them.
Second, don’t be surprised if not all the seeds germinate. In our experience birdhouse gourds seeds have a lower germination rate than other squash type plants.
Third, consider direct sowing them into the garden. That’s because it is easy to injure birdhouse gourd plant delicate tap roots if you transplant them later. And wait to plant your bottle gourd seeds until temperatures are warm. This will give them the heat they crave.
Fourth, be sure to plant gourds in a spot with lots of space. And give them something to climb on. That’s because they grow rapidly and aggressively. Plus, by being able to climb, their fruits can dangle into fun crafting shapes for later.
How to Care for Bottle Gourds in Your Garden:
As your birdhouse gourds grow, watch them carefully for powdery mildew infestations. That’s because these plants seem particularly vulnerable to this disease. At the first sign of this problem, cut out infected leaves. And dispose of them somewhere other than your compost heap.
How are bottle gourds pollinated?
The flowers on birdhouse gourds open in the evening. So if you go out into your garden at dusk, you might get to witness a bloom as it opens. But the problem with night bloomers like this can be getting pollinators to visit. That’s because by the time the flowers open, bees, flies and birds have gone to bed.
So, if moths aren’t visiting your bottle gourd flowers, you may want to hand pollinate them yourself. Otherwise, you may not get a good harvest of birdhouse gourds.
How to harvest & cure gourds for bird houses:
First, be sure to harvest your gourds before a frost hits. That’s because a frost may damage the fruits. But leave them on the vine as long as possible so they mature as much as possible before you pick them.
Second, store your gourds in a dry location. And do not let fruits touch each other. That’s because touch points can lead to rot.
In fact, hanging each fruit may be your best bet. That way the gourds should dry uniformly.
However if you lay them on dry cardboard they can cure nicely as well. But they may end up with flat spots where they rest on the paper. So if you dry birdhouse gourds this way, rotate them often as they cure.
What if my birdhouse gourd looks rotten as it cures?
Sometimes gourds will completely rot while curing. If that happens, compost the gourd.
But before you do, check it over carefully. Sometimes just the outside is molded. And you may be able to salvage your gourd.
To try to salvage a slightly mildewed gourd as it cures, trying wiping the outside down with bleach. That’s because this may beat back that slime.
But you may need to wipe it down a few times. So check your gourds often throughout the winter as they cure.
When will my gourd be ready to carve into a birdhouse?
By early spring, properly cured gourds should be ready to carve into birdhouses, water dippers, bottles or other crafts.
How to make a birdhouse out of a gourd:
Begin by wearing a mask to protect yourself from any nasty dusty bits.
Then decide what you plan to make with your cured gourd. That’s because where you cut your gourd to clean it needs to fit with your final goal.
Next carefully cut a hole in the gourd. And gently clean seeds and debris out of the inside.
Then you may wish to do a little sanding of the outside of your birdhouse gourd. And you may wish to wipe the exterior down with more bleach. Plus, if you’re feeling really crafty, you might want to paint it.
Or if it’s going to be a birdhouse, you might want to attach a hanger to the top. And insert a perch dowel below the birdhouse gourd entrance hole.
Once your gourd craft project has dried, it should be ready!
If you hang your finished craft project…
And if you created a bird house, you may be rewarded by beneficial birds visiting your garden like these.