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birdhouse gourds problems (pics)

 
Jimbo Mathews
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I'm a noob here and just starting to learn how to grow various plants. Several months ago I created a raised bed in which I threw a bunch of wildflower seeds in and a few birdhouse gourds. This little raised bed, which I've watered relatively often has been dominated by a few small amaranths and thick birdhouse gourd vines. I have a lot of little grouds, but they seem to shrivel up and die. Am I watering too often, too little, or could it be a nutrient imbalance. I have heard less is more with this plant but I'm not sure the to what extent i should neglect them vs. care for them. Also any companion plants or strategies to integrate them into a wide ecological relationship based upon permaculture principles would be awesome. Here's a picture of the problem I'm having, look familiar to anybody?

 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
Posts: 1399
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Interesting - I'll have to keep a watch for responses to this. I would like to grow gourds myself and would like to know what is causing this.
 
Joe Braxton
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Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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I've never seen anything like that, but the first thing to pop into my mind was "virus". Don't really know why or what. My grandfather used to grow gourds for purple martin houses and IIRC he pretty much ignored them from planting to harvest. Wish I was more help...
 
Bryzantium Langford
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Location: The Great State of Louisana
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Im just guessing but maybe you should pinch off some of the gourds leaving only 2 or 3 maybe. The plant may not be able to grow alot of those gourds at once. Again just a guess.
 
Jimbo Mathews
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Bryzantium Langford wrote:Im just guessing but maybe you should pinch off some of the gourds leaving only 2 or 3 maybe. The plant may not be able to grow alot of those gourds at once. Again just a guess.


This is an idea I thought of because somewhere I read about getting a 3 gourd yield per plant and it has WAYY more baby gourds and blooms than that. I'd love to get a nice big set to make martin houses from. Other thing is though, since a lot of folks say they're a good neglect crop it'd be curious if you had to pinch them off and tend them to such a high level. Anybody seen something similar with squash, since they're the same family and all?
 
Marsha Richardson
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Looks like you may have a problem with pollination. Some gourds are night blooming and require moths for pollination. Even day-blooming squash can do this if there are not enough pollinators. You can pollinate them yourself with a little paint brush. We had this problem a lot when we first started with our property 30 years ago. That is why it is so important to provide good habitat for our little pollinator friends. I will not let my DH burn brush piles, they break down eventually and provide excellent habitat for pollinators, snakes, lizards and such. Providing some kind of water and an insect garden for them helps as well.
 
Jimbo Mathews
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Marsha Richardson wrote:Looks like you may have a problem with pollination. Some gourds are night blooming and require moths for pollination. Even day-blooming squash can do this if there are not enough pollinators. You can pollinate them yourself with a little paint brush. We had this problem a lot when we first started with our property 30 years ago. That is why it is so important to provide good habitat for our little pollinator friends. I will not let my DH burn brush piles, they break down eventually and provide excellent habitat for pollinators, snakes, lizards and such. Providing some kind of water and an insect garden for them helps as well.


I reckon this is very possible, as its a semi-urban environment, not the piece of land in the boonies where I ultimately plan on homesteading out. So lack of pollenation makes em wilt? I could get a q tip this evening and try to get some action going on betweem blooms. Are gourds/ squash family/ self polinating or do the plants have different sexes? Perhaps I could set out a lantern to draw in some months right at sunset. On another note, there are now 2 beautiful and non deformed gourds growing on it!
 
Ben Walter
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
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I agree with marsha, definitely looks like it wasn't pollinated and aborted that fruit. I've grown birdhouse gourds and other than prepping the soil, I've never had to work with them...other than occasionally training one up a tree.

Good luck, I bet a few will eventually get pollinated. I usually get about 2-4 nice ones per healthy plant.
 
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