Live Better
 
 

It may take some time and patience, but these dried gourds look great in the garden

This activity takes time and patience, but it will provide you with some wonderfully decorative garden objects. Prepare these gourds now and in 6 months you should have beautiful, light, dry, hard objects for future activities.

Gourds are like pumpkins or squash, but are often grown just for decoration. They have traditional cultural uses in regions as diverse as Costa Rica, Hawaii, Mexico and parts of Africa, China and South America. Researching gourds as cultural objects, used for bottles, bowls and instruments, would make a great rainy day activity. To grow your own gourds, try an online supplier such as The Diggers Club, which sells a mixed decorative gourd packet of seeds that includes Curcubita and Lagenaria gourds. The Cucurbita gourds will dry a lot more quickly than the Lagenaria gourds. Don’t rush the process.

Wait until the stems of your gourds are starting to shrivel, in autumn or winter, which means they are ready to harvest for this activity. But don’t wait until the frosts come if your area is prone – frost will completely ruin them for this activity. You’ll need to identify a warm spot outside, out of direct sunlight and protected from any possible rain, for the gourds to dry for a week, before you move them to a long-term site in the garden shed.

Equipment

Who’s doing the shopping?

Send the shopping list straight to their inbox.

What to do

  • 1. Put gloves on to wash the gourds.

  • 2. Half fill the buckets with water and add a good handful of soap flakes.

  • 3. Wash the surfaces of the gourds with the soapy water and cloth.

  • 4. Place them on a bench and allow them to air-dry.

  • 5. Once dry, find an area out of direct sunshine and with good air flow, and place the gourds there for a week. They should be very dry and hard on the outside after a week, and may have changed colour.

  • 6. Find a dark corner of your shed.

  • 7. Tie a long piece of string to the remaining stem of each gourd.

  • 8. Hang the gourds from a beam or hook, making sure they don’t touch each other.

  • 9. Check your gourds every 2 days. If they look like they are rotting or going soft, compost them. If mould appears, an adult can wipe it with a cloth dipped in a little vinegar.

  • 10. After about 6 months the gourds should feel hard on the outside and much lighter in weight. The seeds will rattle when you shake them.

  • 11. Now they are ready to be decorated or turned into instruments or birdhouses.

  • Latest Articles

    Healthy Kids

    Potato tortilla recipe

    A delicious, classic Spanish inspired dish.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Pita bread recipe

    Perfect with curries, dips or as a snack.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Broad bean salad

    A simple salad in a few easy steps.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Vegetable gyoza recipe

    Transport the family with these Asian flavours.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Aioli recipe

    Make this aioli using a food processor or by hand.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Plant a picking patch

    What will you pant? Dill, chives and lettuces of all sorts.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Propagation: softwood cuttings

    A guide to growing new plants for free.

    Read more
    Healthy Kids

    Wicking box

    Create your own self-watering planters.

    Read more
    youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4