How to Grow Giant Bottle Gourds

Bottle gourds (Lagenaria siceraria), also known as birdhouse, trumpet, calabash and white-flowered gourds, are big greenish fruits which can grow up to 12 inches wide and 40 inches long. The gourds, grown across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 11, are often cured and utilized for functions like crafting and decorating. To make sure that appealing giant bottle gourds develop in your plants, choose and prepare the garden site nicely. Plant the gourd seeds properly, and supply the plants with the required care during the growing season.

Break the top 6 to 8 inches of soil in a well-drained site which receives six to 10 hours of full sunlight each day. Work about 6 inches of the organic-matter soil amendment, like aged manure or well-rotted compost, in the soil if drainage and fertility are not yet sufficient.

Rake up and remove any debris, such as old plant issue and stones, and break up large clods of soil.

Work about 2 to 3 pounds of a fertilizer using a 1:2:2 ratio, like 5-10-10, per 100 square feet of soil to the bed prior to planting.

Establish a sturdy trellis system where you can plant the gourds if you would like to encourage high-quality, uniformly shaped fruits. Pound or put at least two posts into the ground, adding an extra post each 4 to 8 ft for each extra gourd plant, and stretch at least two significant gauge wires between the poles. Otherwise, you can style a trellis or service from any of a range of objects, like vintage wooden ladders or sturdy sticks placed in a teepee-like style. If you are growing gourds in numerous rows, space trellises at least 8 ft apart.

Build up 8- to 12-inch mounds of soil every 3 to 4 ft along the trellis. Giant bottle gourds growing on the ground, not a trellis, need 10 to 15 feet between rows.

Sow three or even four gourd seeds on top of each mound when the soil temperature has attained 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the seeds with 1 1/2 inches of soil.

Water the gourds frequently, supplying them with 1 to 2 inches of water per week when rainfall is inadequate. Apply supplementary irrigation in the kind of a drip or trickle at the base of the gourd and not via a sprinkler, which wets the leaves and also may cause disease problems. Reduce the total amount of water into the plants once the gourds are near their crop size to encourage ripening.

Expand an organic-material mulch, like shredded leaves or well-rotted compost, in a layer 2 to 3 inches thick around, though not directly in contact with, the base of each plant.

Thin out the small gourd plants so that only the strongest one or two plants stay on each mound.

Pull or shallowly cultivate any weeds across the gourds as they emerge.

Fertilize the gourd plants with approximately 3 pounds of a 10-10-10 or similar fertilizer per 100 square foot once they grow tall enough that they begin to vine.

Prune off the growing tips of the vines when they are 8 to 10 feet, if desired, to encourage more feminine flowers and vegetables to develop.

Harvest the giant bottle gourds by gently cutting them off of the vine once the stem and tendrils near the fruit are entirely brown. You may also wait until a cold or frost snap occurs and the vine dies.

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