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Growing large gourds for storage containers

 
                                    
Posts: 17
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI
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Hi, I'm Stacey.  I just found this forum today - can't believe I've missed it for so long!

Anyway - I'm in zone 4a, in the 'banana belt' of the Upper Peninsula.  I'd like to try my hand at growing bushel gourds in our climate, to dry and use as storage containers for dried corn and other things. 

Does anybody have experience with growing them in hoop houses?  If so, how did it go?  How big did they get?

Anybody on here have experience with gourds, in general?  Seems like they'd make nice substitutions for ugly rubbermaid containers in the pantry.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i'm south of Traverse City and can't get gourds to grow here..although i have tried..not in my greenhouse..but can't even get them to sprout..

good luck with that..and welcome
 
                                    
Posts: 17
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI
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Brenda Groth wrote:
i'm south of Traverse City and can't get gourds to grow here..although i have tried..not in my greenhouse..but can't even get them to sprout..

good luck with that..and welcome


They won't even sprout?  Now THAT is not what I wanted to hear!

Thanks for the welcome though.
 
Leah Sattler
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welcome stacey! I wonder if they typically have low germination rates or if they are just picky about conditions? I have often seen them in catalogs and pined after them. I have trouble with squash bugs though and I am afraid they would attack them.
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i think Leah has it there..maybe low germination rates..also ..they love hot moist temps and here we just don't have hot and moist unless our greenhouses are well heated and we have an unusual summer

and if you lived in the UP this past year..you know..we had an exceptionally cold Michigan winter and summer..Oct 08 thru Oct 09 was incredibly cold, way below normal..and was the coldest here in history since 1952..

seems our winter (nov) has improved incredibly though ..so maybe we'll have a nice winter.

my son love to go up to Bohemia and ski..so he is hoping at least for snow
 
                                    
Posts: 17
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI
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Yeah - the weather here is really something else.  Must be all that global warming . . . . . The Farmers Almanac says we're going to have a dry winter.  I hope not.  I want snow!  I live for cross-country skiing in the winter.  Getting out and playing in what little sun there is keeps the cabin fever (AKA Seasonal affect disorder) at bay during the loooooooooong winter months.

I'd like to see how long our growing season would really be with hoop houses.  I wonder if they would make enough of a differe ce that we'd be able to grow things like gourds. 

Wouldn't it just be so nice if we could eliminate most of the fake plasticky stuff in the house and replace it with natural things that perform the same functions?  Gourds would be great.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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fffarmergirl wrote:
Wouldn't it just be so nice if we could eliminate most of the fake plasticky stuff in the house and replace it with natural things that perform the same functions?  Gourds would be great.

I had never given this any thought.  Luffa grew great for me at the AL house and is growing volunteer in a planter pot in the west facing window.

Also as a side note, all the squash killers in AL (and there are many) either left the luffa alone or died trying.

I may try storage gourds... thanks for the idea
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
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fffarmergirl wrote:

Wouldn't it just be so nice if we could eliminate most of the fake plasticky stuff in the house and replace it with natural things that perform the same functions?  Gourds would be great.


I think along the same lines. I have a bit of a passion for useful and natural or beautiful household items. I like baskets to store things in, I consider cast iron cookware as beautiful to look at as to cook with! wooden bowls for simple storage items etc.........sometimes I can't hardly stand to eat any winter squash I aquire because I think it is so lovely to look at on the counter! my neighbor grew a bunch of decorative gourds last summer. I don't know if she sprays with anything though. I have been eyeballing them wondering what will come of them and what if any problems she had with bugs. I need to strike up a little conversation with her......
 
                                    
Posts: 17
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI
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Leah Sattler wrote:
I think along the same lines. I have a bit of a passion for useful and natural or beautiful household items. I like baskets to store things in, I consider cast iron cookware as beautiful to look at as to cook with! wooden bowls for simple storage items etc.........sometimes I can't hardly stand to eat any winter squash I aquire because I think it is so lovely to look at on the counter! my neighbor grew a bunch of decorative gourds last summer. I don't know if she sprays with anything though. I have been eyeballing them wondering what will come of them and what if any problems she had with bugs. I need to strike up a little conversation with her......


Yeah - my greatest dilemma in the fall:  worship the squash or eat them?  You can't have your squash and eat it, too!

I want to build shelves going all the way to the ceiling all around my dining room and fill them up wiith squash and corn, onions etc. . . . I imagine I'd need to get another cat, then, to keep up with all the mice that would come.  And I'd need to keep the dining room pretty cool then . . .  just another Nutty Stacey idea.

I can't imagine the bugs would be THAT bad . . . . . . . we could make rhubarb leaf insecticide spray for them, since we won't be eating the gourds.  I wonder if anybody on here has ever made it.  I researched it but didn't want to make poison - but I'd do it for gourds by gosh!
 
Leah Sattler
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I have never heard of rhubarb leaf insecticide. isn't it the oxalates (sp?) i rhubarb that make the leaves bad for you? if so, and that is the mechanism behind its insecticide qualities it seems it wouldn't be too worrisome especially on inedible gourds. it would be worth it to me. maybe even for non direct use on and around squash plants. squash bugs make me do desperate things. 
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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Leah,

try growing some luffa.  I never could get much out of my squash in Alabama till the luffa started killing the bugs.  I do not know how, but the wormies only get about an inch inside the plant and die.  I do not know if luffa will cross with other squash so maybe not save seed? 

But hey, it is worth a try as a trap crop...and useful plant anyway.  I have seed if interested.
 
                                    
Posts: 17
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI
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Jennifer Hall wrote:
Leah,

try growing some luffa.  I never could get much out of my squash in Alabama till the luffa started killing the bugs.  I do not know how, but the wormies only get about an inch inside the plant and die.  I do not know if luffa will cross with other squash so maybe not save seed? 

But hey, it is worth a try as a trap crop...and useful plant anyway.  I have seed if interested.


I'll take you up on that seed offer!  I've been thinking of trying them anyway.  Are they easy to turn into shower luffas?  Do the bugs have to go inside the gourd or just anywhere in the plant?
 
Leah Sattler
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I might just try luffa. if nothing else it has some neat uses. I don't think the squash bugs I have trouble with burrow into anything....they just suck the life out of them overnight and then move like a little army to the next plant. so far my best defense has been to hide my squash plants amongst other things so they aren't so easy to go from one to the next, that gives me a chance to suck the buggers up with my dustbuster and hunt for and squish the eggs.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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Luffa is super easy to turn to shower luffas, smash, peal and wash well...that's it. 

I recieved plenty of luffas in my last load of stuff up from Alabama.  Next will be walking onions, lots of them too. 

Super happy to share/trade. 

As a side note, my carrots are doing well.  I may have lost the email where I mentioned the other day while giving treats to the horses I noticed how sweet they were so saved a few tops and put them in dirt in the window. 
 
                                    
Posts: 17
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI
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Jennifer Hall wrote:
Luffa is super easy to turn to shower luffas, smash, peal and wash well...that's it. 

I recieved plenty of luffas in my last load of stuff up from Alabama.  Next will be walking onions, lots of them too. 

Super happy to share/trade. 

As a side note, my carrots are doing well.  I may have lost the email where I mentioned the other day while giving treats to the horses I noticed how sweet they were so saved a few tops and put them in dirt in the window. 


I'll trade you some Boston Marrow seeds for luffa seeds - it's a delicious heirloom squash around since prehistory.  It stores well and makes delicious pumkin pies.
 
Valerie Clare
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] This is my very first time growing Luffa gourds here in Michigan. I started the seeds indoors under a light back in April 1st to be ready to be put into the ground in May after the last frost, and they were growing beautifully and at about age 4 and a half weeks my cat Cookie decided in the middle of the night to get into them and she bite off leaves from everyone of those plants there was 7 of them. They died. Yes she was fine but my plants didn't make it. I instantly put seeds into the ground outside directly because I was already behind in the growing season from her actions. Here is a picture of my very first try at a crop of Luffa gourds, but I already know that because the growing season is 180 days and Michigan only has 143 this year (2016) they wont make it, and unfortunately go into the compost pile. All that work for nothing. Ill share some pictures of them, and they look beautiful I know but they wont make it. I am in Hardiness zone of 6A in Oxford, Michigan. Now if Cookie had not been able to get to them and eat them, they would of made it. I would start them indoors around the  23rd of March and keep them under a indoor grow light and I also use a plant heating matt until they have developed their first true leaves which is 2-4 leaves, and move the growing  light UP as they grow to not burn them. Once they have those first true leaves move them to a sunny window and if you can purchase a greenhouse stand I would suggest that to keep them in so that they stay at 70 degrees. Here are some pictures of my luffa gourds growing up my house and making luffas but here's one more thing too. If you don't have pollinators to help, then you have to hand pollinate them to get the Luffa to grow, I did this also to help them along.I watched numerous Youtube videos on the subject before I even attempted to do this. I hope this helps. I'm sorry to say but this site has no easy way for me to share my pictures
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 240
Location: Ohio, USA
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fish food preservation forest garden
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Hi, yeah. My first year growing bushel gourd in Ohio. It took over everything. People visited my yard just to see how insane the gourd made it. Because it doesn't seem to know winter is coming, I had to nip ends to get female flowers. So far so good. If say worth a try in any moist warm place. Also, the beetles seen to be pollinators not really Damagers. Though we have an abundance of those note too. Last year a pumpkin gourded just by sitting there. It looked ugly at first but was easy to clean when done. That made me want gourds. I'd give it a try if i were you.
 
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