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Gourds

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Cucurbita spp./Lagenaria siceraria

Planting:

The small miniature types can be direct seeded after all risk of frost. It is advisable to start larger gourds indoors about 3 weeks before transplanting. Provide a warm soil temperature of 27°C (80°F) and a constant, even moisture. Individual peat pots are ideal since the plant roots will not have to be disturbed at the time of transplanting. Plant outside after all danger of frost in rows, hills or on a sturdy trellis. Rows should be spaced about 5½' apart with plants 45" apart. Fertilizing with a starter fertilizer at time of transplanting is recommended.

Growing:

Gourds require full sun, a pH of 6.5-7.5 and good soil moisture, particularly during fruit set. As they are moderate to heavy feeders, they require plenty of compost and well rotted manure worked into the soil prior to planting.

Pests & Diseases:

Gourds are not affected with any noteworthy insects or disease problems.

Harvesting:

Small ornamental types should have a firm or hard skin. They are ready for harvesting when you are not able to easily puncture the skin with your thumb nail. Large gourds should be pale in colour with a hard skin as well. Cut off the fruit with shears, leaving a 4" stem attached. Handle the fruit with care to prevent bruising. Wash gourds in warm, soapy water and rinse in a strong solution of non-bleaching disinfectant. Dry with a soft cloth and store 4-6 weeks in a well-ventilated room. Hanging is best for maximum air circulation. Check weekly and discard immature or soft gourds. They are cured when thoroughly dry and hard shelled. Apply wax and polish.

Companions:

Celery, corn, melon, onion, radish.