When should I harvest gourds?


When should I harvest gourds?


Harvest gourds when the stem attached to the fruit begins to dry and turn brown.  Since the rind or skin is susceptible to bruising or scratching, handle the gourds carefully.  Cut the gourds from the vines with a hand shears, leaving a few inches of the stem attached to the fruit.  After harvesting, gently wash the gourds in warm, soapy water to remove any dirt.  Then wipe the gourds with a soft cloth dampened in a household disinfectant.  The disinfectant should destroy decay organisms which could lead to fruit rot.  Finally, dry each gourd with a soft cloth. 

Dry or cure the gourds by placing them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated location, such as a garage or shed.  Place the gourds in a single layer on clean newspapers or shelves.  Space them so they don’t touch one another.  Turn the gourds frequently and promptly remove any which show signs of decay.  Large gourds can also be dried by hanging them from beams or rafters.  Drying or curing will take several weeks.  Approximately one to two weeks will be required for the outer skin to dry and harden.  Internal drying will take several additional weeks.  The gourds have been adequately dried when the seeds rattle inside. 

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