How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds!

Growing birdhouse gourds for crafts is easier than you think. Drying gourds and making birdhouses from them takes some time, but it's simple to do and fun.

Growing birdhouse gourds for crafts is easier than you think. Drying gourds and making birdhouses from them takes some time, but it’s simple to do and fun.

Birdhouse gourds are unique and birds love to make nests in them, plus you can have tons of fun decorating the gourds and using them to decorate the garden.

How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds!

Plant your birdhouse gourd seeds in the spring. They take several months to make fully mature gourds. Each vine will grow several. We planted two plants and ended up with about 30 or so, but according to my research, that is not the traditional yield.

Growing birdhouse gourds for crafts is easier than you think. Drying gourds and making birdhouses from them takes some time, but it's simple to do and fun.



Gourds for sale

To buy seeds the kids harvested from gourds they grew in their garden, click here to get them from Etsy. 

Plant your seeds about 1/2 inch deep. Cover with soil and lightly pat. Water well. Keep seed watered until the plant is established. 

The vines need a sturdy trellis and they grow about 15 feet. When the gourds turn from green to brown on the outside, you can cut them off the vine and store them for drying. They need plenty of ventilation as they cure. We laid ours out in the grass and left them in the weather all winter long.

How long does it take to grow birdhouse gourds?

Birdhouse gourds take several months to mature before they are ready for drying. You need a long growing season to grow them.

How to grow birdhouse gourdsHarvesting birdhouse gourds

Pick gourds when they begin to turn brown, cut stems about 2-4 inches from the gourd. Allow to dry in a cool dry place. First, wash them with a mild detergent to inhibit any bacterial growth. Then when they are completely dry, store them on newspapers without touching each other or hang them up to dry. You will know they are completely cured when the seeds rattle inside.

After they dry for about 6 months, you can soak the birdhouse gourds in water and scrub the remaining skins off. You can leave them the natural color or paint them. The natural color is tan but they have spots that look kind of like mold. If you paint them, you need to use a paint that will not wash off. You can use house paint, acrylics, oil paints, or we used spray paint because that is what we had.

Gourds for purple martins, birdhouse hole size

The gourds are enjoyed by purple martins. They like a 1 ¾ inch hole. I used the drill bit I had. Then I drilled a hole for the door and smaller holes on top to add a hanger. I made our doors just a little shy of the middle closer to the bottom so rain wouldn’t pour in the holes. You can also drill drain holes in the bottom if you think water might get in.
How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds!
After you drill the holes, you can work on getting the membranes and seeds out so the birds will have room to make a nest inside. The kids really enjoyed that part of our project. We shook them into a bucket so we could try to grow them again.

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Dried gourds

Next, I gave the kids acrylic paint pens to decorate their birdhouse gourds with. If you are trying to attract purple martins, you should paint your birdhouse gourds white. After they decorated them, I gave them a pipe cleaner to string through the top holes so they can hang them up at home.

How to grow your own birdhouse gourds
How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds!
The kids LOVED this project. It took a year, but it was really fun and I’m sure there is a bird out there somewhere that will appreciate each child’s efforts. What cute birdhouses these gourds make. 

Another unusual gourd you can grow is luffa sponges. 
How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds!

How to grow:

Hot peppers and sweet peppers

Sunflowers

Cotton

Jerusalem artichokes

Cabbage

Wheat

Sweet potatoes

Asparagus

Beans

Potatoes

Okra

Brussel Sprouts

Tomatoes

Kohlrabi

Don’t forget to pin for later!

How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds!

 

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10 comments

  1. chris says:

    Those look great! What a fun project and a good way to teach the kids 🙂

  2. How cool! I’m trying to grow bottle gourd this fall. I don’t think they’ll be as pretty as yours though!

  3. nikki says:

    Love this project!

  4. Tracy says:

    Those look awesome!

  5. This is so so brilliant! Lucky kids and lucky parents! Not to mention, the birds. We need lessons like this in all of our schools, teaching kids how to garden. Your kids learn so much doing your hands-on activities. Much better than little desks and textbooks. Bravo!

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