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How do I preserve ornamental gourds so they don't rot and you can use them for over a year? Is this possible?
By Julie Orvis Marcinkiewicz from Chicopee, MA
Yes you can do this, after the first frost, pick the gourds and hang them in a shed or utility room. They need to have GOOD air circulation and be out of direct sunlight. My sister hangs hers from the rafters in her husband's shop. Use some jute to tie them up. I hang mine in my utility room, the air return is in there so air is moving when the heat kicks on. Leave them for a couple of months. They will begin to change color and some of them get dark spots on them. (don't worry this is normal) They will also get much lighter in weight due to the drying process. When they get completely dry, lightly sand with sandpaper and coat with varnish, several times to seal. You know they are dry when you can hear the seeds rattle inside when you shake them. Good luck!
Ornamental gourds are marvelous for making decorations. My son is a gourd artist and has won prizes for his work, which is mostly Native American designs. He even made a very life-like papoose from a large one. They can be carved with a knife or dremel, and painted.
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Let your fall gourds dry after October and Thanksgiving use. Clean and paint back to what they looked like when they were first used. You will have gourds for years to come to use with out rebuying.
Connie - Ballwin, Missouri
We happen to have an old swing set in the backyard. So this year, I took the gourds off the vine, and took a hammer and long nail and punched 4 holes in the bottom of the gourds. Took twine and attached it to the stems and hung the gourds on the swing set and let the sun dry them. They are drying just fine. Last year I put them in my basement and had a mess on the floor as they dripped from the holes in the bottom, and lost quite of few from rot.