Birdhouse Gourd: Numbered Days?

The watched pot never boils, and the watched gourd never grows.  Or so it seems…

birdhouse gourds on trellis

Christmas lights in September?

Now that I’ve filled one of the planting beds with an assortment of winter vegetables, I’ve turned my attention to the runaway birdhouse vines (Lagenaria siceraria).  I have just two, 4 x 4 planting beds, so space is at a premium. The vines are occupying one of them.

birdhouse gourd buds

Still growing…

I read the fine print inside the seed packet today, and learned that some gardeners let the gourds harden on the vine all winter. I just assumed the plant would die off and we would harvest them much like the pumpkins. So…it’s decision time. Do I leave well enough alone and sacrifice the extra winter planting space? Will I face my disappointment gracefully if the vines die off a month from now, too late to use the beds till spring? Do I need to get a grip?

birdhouse gourd drying flower

Shriveled flower and otherworldly baby gourd

Mini hard-shelled gourds are forming along the vine, but before today, none of them seemed viable. I finally spotted one, twice the size of the others. I got excited all over again.

bridhouse garden large

How slow can you grow?

birdhouse gourd tendrils

Nature’s twine: super-strong vine tendrils

Should they stay or should they go? What do you think?

Resources:

8 thoughts on “Birdhouse Gourd: Numbered Days?

  1. Well shoot hey? 140 days seems like a pretty long time, we would never be able to do them here. Even if we had the month of June (it’s hit and miss) to mid September. Well, you’ve made such an investment now, it’d be a shame to pull them out. What if you leave the best vine and remove the rest? They’re sure cute when they’re made into a house. I like them all lined up on the porch at the Link you provided. I was surprised they recommended Oil Based Paint…I guess the birdies are usually inside.

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    • I missed the part about oil-base paint. That is interesting and something to explore further. I suppose it makes them water proof, but I would think you could find alternatives.

      Based on several comments, I plan to leave them be. Believe it or not, I only have two vines in that tangled mess. They are not mixed up with the raspberry vines as well. I just need to advert my eyes from the tangled mess part and focus on growing them. And yes, 140 days is a long time (the pumpkins are 90 – 100 days).

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  2. Lovely photos! Are you wanting them to dry out? I visited a farm where all they did was grow and dry these and they left them outside for the winter on the vine and collected them the next year. They usually do have some discolouration and mould that you have to scrub off in the sink in the spring. What a neat thing to try growing!

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    • Thanks for commenting and for sharing those details. I’m glad to know they still have some time to grow. We’re expecting another heatwave this weekend and don’t usually have any signs of frost before late December. I think the gourds will stay put.

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  3. Reading the comments it looks like you’ve decided to keep the gourds, I like that, I think I would too. Curiosity has been known to get the better of me 🙂

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