Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bird House Gourds

I always seem to get these ideas completely stuck in my head, next think you know I am obsessed with learning about something and implementing some silly project. My latest thing is that I have decided to grow gourds for bird houses. Okay so I am a gardener - many backyard bird watchers are since it sort of goes hand in hand to create a habitat bird wild birds to attract them to feeders - and I have grown gourds before just for fun. So let me tell you that I know that I am nuts. Gourds are great fun to grow and very satisfying, but let me tell you they grow fast and furious, along with take up a boatload of space. I've also grown a lot of different types of squash, which is the same family, and it's not nearly been as space taking.

My experience with gourds is having grown luffa sponge gourds. I planted my seeds next to an outbuilding, thinking that they could climb the outbuilding over the summer, no harm done, after all, they are an annual. They ate my outbuilding and completely covered it. You could hear them growing at night I swear. It was a hoot. by the end of the summer, from a few seeds, I had an amazing amount of luffa sponges which I had only planted on a whim. I found the photo below on an Office of International Research, Education, and Development, Virginia Tech page for a system of growing these suckers, It made me laugh to think about what I was getting into, The page has nothing to do with growing gourds by the by, its about pest management.

So back to bird houses. Recently I saw gourd birdhouses in a local bird supply and loved them. I bought two. It made me decide to give growing the gourds a shot, again, just for fun and on a whim. Of course nothing is just tat simple, you need a certain type of gourd, drying, cleaning and preserving them is a project, and then they are only good for a couple of years. But what the heck, I want them. I can see giving away hundreds of bird houses made out of my over abundance of gourds.

Visit San Antonio Express News Gardening Article by Lynn Rawe, County Extension Agent-Horticulture with Texas Cooperative Extension in Bexar County, on exactly how to dry gourds to be used as bird houses. She does a very simple job of explaining the methods and types needed, much better than I could repeat here. And if you try this, have fun!!