Gourd passion, entrepreneurship

What You Need to Know About Selecting Gourds

What You Need to Know About Selecting Gourds

What You Need to Know About Selecting Gourds

Gourds are visually unique and interesting vegetables that I like to turn into works of art. I enjoy painting and sculpting gourds which is a fun and creative activity that even children can enjoy. Gourds have the potential to be lifelong decorative and functional items so it is important to select the correct gourds.

Gourds come in all shapes and sizes. They vary in color and each one of them is completely different to another. However, a gourd’s shape, size and color isn’t the only thing to consider when selecting the most potentially decorative gourds. Harvesting and curing gourds is an important factor too. Finding out as much as you can about them will help you in selecting the right gourds for you so read on as I tell you everything you need to know.

The Shape and Size Factor

Gourds are typically categorized by their shape. This in turn, determines their size and ultimately what they will cost. A gourd is described as having a crazy shape but their shapes are defined. There are canteen gourds, bottle gourds, round body gourds, tall body gourds, pear shaped gourds and speciality gourds which have the craziest look of all.

Each category has countless variations because every gourd is completely unique. I like to select a gourd that is most suitable for its purpose so if you want to create a decorative centrepiece it should be able to stand and if you want to turn a gourd into a bowl, it should have a wide enough bottom to hollow out. Another example is, a pear gourd which makes a great decorative vase when painted and hollowed out.

Size wise, a (gourd’s shape) doesn’t determine what size it will be. The size has more to do with the quality of the gourd. As a gourd artist, I love the (pear gourd) as it offers me all the characteristics needed for great creations. These include its symmetry, flat bottom and stem.

Clean and Dry Quality Gourds

Regardless of what crazy shape your gourd has or not, the cleaning and drying procedure is important. There are several methods available for cleaning and drying gourds but it is essential to select gourds that are ready to go.

All gourds can be picked and dried but the more mature they are, the better their chances of long term survival are. If a gourd is picked off a vine too early it might dry. Furthermore, it has a higher chance of rotting. It is best to leave gourds on their vines for as long as possible to ensure they are dry and mature enough for cleaning and decorating. A mature gourd ripe for picking is recognized by its hard exterior, its light weight and the rattling seeds that are heard from within.

Another reason gourds should be mature and must be completely dry before decorating is that their skin may be quite tender and soft. This makes cutting into them for sculpting a potential failure as the gourd may collapse.

If, however, you do have an immature gourd it is still possible to dry it out enough before decorating. I recommend that you dry your gourd in open spaces. Air is vital to a gourd growing regardless of the weather.