how do I dry birdhouse gourds and loofas? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Well I grew them for christmas gifts and now I don,t know how to dry them.I would appreciate any answers.Thanx.

-- teri murphy (, September 26, 2000


I heard that the best way is to hang some kind of net hanging flat from the ceiling of a place like a barn where the breeze comes through and put them in the net. That's so all sides, or I guess it would be all surfaces, get equal exposure to the air. If this isn't practical, just put them somewhere there's a breeze and turn them frequently.

-- Joe Cole (, September 26, 2000.

You can leave them outside all winter as long as they're not in the wet grass or mud. They'll get moldy. Clean them off in the spring.

-- Cindy (, September 26, 2000.

I've had really good luck by setting the gourds on top of my kitchen cupboards on a few layers of newspapers, making sure they don't touch each other. We heat with wood and this may have some affect on how well they dry in our house.

They are filled with water and dry from the inside out creating mold on the surface as they dry. Pick them up every month or so to see if they feel dry and if you can hear the seeds rattling inside. Depending on size, they may take anywhere from 3 or 4 months to 6 months or more to completely dry. As they dry, the mold creates designs on the surface. You can also carve designs into the gourd while they are green.

After they are dry, wash them in a combination of dish soap, bleach and hot water. Use something to weight them down in the water and let them soak for a little while, this will make them easier to clean. Be sure to do the next step outside as the mold dust is noxious! Scrub all mold off with a scrub brush or plastic scrubbie and let them dry well.

Then you can drill about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch hole in the bottom, if using for decoration. If using as a birdhouse, drill the hole about 1 in the front, also remember to drill 3 small drainage holes in the bottom if using as a birdhouse. Then, use a coathanger or something similar to scrape out the insides. Save the seeds! I've had good luck planting from these seeds. Then they're ready to paint or whatever. I like the natural look and just spray with a marine varnish to waterproof and put a hook in the top to hang.

This got a little long, but I've heard a lot of people asking about these gourds this year, so thought I'd try to help. We harvested over 100 birdhouse gourds from our garden this year, guess I'll be looking for more space to dry them! There's a book called the "Complete Book of Gourd Craft" by Ginger Summitt & Jim Widess from Lark Books 1-800-284-3388 or

-- Rose Marie Wild (, September 26, 2000.

And nobody has touched loofas yet. Good reason, in my opinion. If they're mature enough, leave them outside to dry if you can. Otherwise bring them inside. If you need to hurry up the process, boil them. Trust me, it smells. And it takes forever. And it smells. As in I'm going to be sick smells. And the house will stink for days. Really bad smell. It smells.

If you can get them pretty dry, then peel and scrape off what skin you can and boil off the rest. Haven't ever done it from that point, but I suspect it would still smell. The smell is really bad. Don't say I didn't warn you. The smell is really, really bad. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, September 26, 2000.

Thank-you Gerbil, I take that to mean they really,reall ybad!!!I needed a chuckle today thank- you. teri

-- teri murphy (, September 27, 2000.

Gee, if it smells that bad boiling the luffas indoors, why not boil them in a kettle out on the Barbe (barbecue)? It's the best place to boil compost to pasturize it so you don't get stunk out...

-- Julie Froelich (, September 27, 2000.

Ok Julie, I give. Why do you need to boil compost? I thought the point was that it was, in a sense, a "living" thing.

-- Anne (, September 27, 2000.

Anne -- you pasturize compost before bringing it into the house for houseplants so that you keep out a whole slew of pathogens and bugs that you'd really rather not share your house with. Appparently it's not a problem outside, but it can be inside when they start to hatch out. I have to watch out for mold spores.

-- Julie Froelich (, September 28, 2000.

Julie, thanks for educating me. That makes sense. I usually use other things inside, like coffee grounds and fish emulsion/seaweed mix.

-- Anne (, September 28, 2000.

I grew some really nice birdhouse and dipper gourds last year. They take along time to dry however you do it.I hung them by there stems from some shelving in our greenhouse and some in a spare room the same way.If you wipe theme off every once in a while with a rag soaked in vinegar they will not mold so much(the mold can stain them permanently) .When they are almost dry on the stem ends I scraped the skins off with a sharp knife and hung them back up to finnish drying.When the gourds were dry we cut holes or sections off(for dippers)and painted them if warranted and gave them all a couple of coats of marine varnish.I am still using the dippers they are great.I can not help with the loofas mine never came up. Carla

-- carla (, September 28, 2000.

We bought those wire hanging vegetable baskets from Walmart and just put them in there and hung them, as we're limited on space in here. They're dry now and I'll be keeping some friends kids next month and we're going to make birdhouses and dippers and spoons out of them!

-- Louise Whitley (, September 29, 2000.

The posts on the drying of the gourds have good information. I would reccomend that you decide what type of birds you will be using the houses for as to attract it helps to have the entrance hole the correct size and height from the bottom of the house. I am not sure where all you can find this information but I know it is in "Build It Better Yourself". gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (, September 30, 2000.

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