• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Bill Crim
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Greg Martin

Calabashes  RSS feed

 
Posts: 140
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
17
forest garden tiny house trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For those who live in the tropical parts of the Americas, the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete, known as higüero in the Dominican Republic) is a source of useful materials. In some cultures, these are used in a manner similar to the bottle gourd, for containers for food and drink or for utensils. These uses are not so common in the Dominican Republic, but it is popular there for decorative lamp shades. Besides cutting out the top and bottom of the calabash, the artisan drills holes in the sides in a decorative pattern, so that the light forms little points on the nearby walls and ceilings. More elaborate designs can be made with the cutting wheel of a Dremel tool, for larger holes in various shapes, slits, etc.

The first picture shows several calabashes in their fresh state, still green; the second, a dried calabash. Some dry even paler than this one. However, for decorative use, all the holes should be drilled or cut while the calabash is still green and intact. Wear a particle mask and eye protection, as dust will fly. After all the drilling and cutting is complete, remove the pulp, scrape the inside of the shell clean, and set it to dry. It will harden as it dries, and become like wood.

There is a second species, known in English as black-calabash (Amphitecna latifolia), which grows along river banks, in contrast to the true calabash, which is found in open pastures and woodlands away from water. The third picture shows several of the smaller calabashes produced by this species. As you can see, they are smaller and generally less conveniently shaped, and are not normally used in the Dominican Republic. I tries some initial experiments with these, cutting and drying them as I would the true calabash. I find that they are much more brittle when dried, easily broken, and not practical for purposes which would potentially subject them to breakage. However, they are a convenient size for drinking glasses; and unlike glass, they do not produce tiny, dangerous shards when they break. Intend to do further testing with these.
Calabashes.JPG
[Thumbnail for Calabashes.JPG]
Green Calabashes, ready to be worked
Calabash-dry.JPG
[Thumbnail for Calabash-dry.JPG]
A dried Calabash. It is too late to be worked well at this stage.
Black-calabash.JPG
[Thumbnail for Black-calabash.JPG]
The smaller Black-calabash, more fragile, but may have potential.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2284
Location: Toronto, Ontario
200
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a famous smoking pipe pattern originally fashioned from the calabash that gave it its name, popularised by some versions of Sherlock Holmes.





-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 449
Location: South West France
92
chicken fiber arts food preservation forest garden fungi goat homestead rocket stoves sheep solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've never seen the tree or the black calabash but I've been growing what are described as "calabashes" Lagenaria siceraria, for some years and they're very similar to those and can be used for all sorts of things.

We had kittens a couple of years ago and they played with this one until they left for their new homes, there's another fresh one just behind it (The big green pear).

 
pollinator
Posts: 1304
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
285
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Although there is a calabash tree not far from my farm, I prefer to grow gourds instead. They are a lot more prolific, easier for me to work with, and come in larger sizes. A friend of mine makes all sorts of containers and ornaments, often using the Ni'ihau dying technique. I lean towards using a wood burner to make designs then add highlights using surface dye. Either way, the gourds make nice useable items.

image.jpeg
[Thumbnail for image.jpeg]
 
Jason Hernandez
Posts: 140
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
17
forest garden tiny house trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Irene Kightley wrote:I've never seen the tree or the black calabash but I've been growing what are described as "calabashes" Lagenaria siceraria, for some years and they're very similar to those and can be used for all sorts of things.



That's right. That was the "bottle gourd" I referenced in my first paragraph. There are a number of shared uses between the two.
 
F is for finger. Can you stick your finger in your nose? Doesn't that feel nice? Now try this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!