Saturday, October 2, 2010

Late Summer Gourds

I tried growing a few canteen gourd seeds this summer in an extra herb bed next to our screened porch. I didn't think anything would grow at first, then holy moly, here came the vines! I only saw one gourd for a long time; now, there are about six. The vine ends have been trimmed several times this year, but gourd vines tend to be very aggressive and extremely self-sufficient. We've experienced extremely hot weather this summer, so I don't expect a freeze anytime soon. At least two of the gourds should make it before the vines start dying back. Three of the smallest gourds don't have much of a chance to amount to much, but I don't have it in me to get rid of them yet. I did pull down the vines you can see that have decided to climb our screens and take over the back step. The Lantana I planted just before planting the gourds and my climbing rose will be happy to see their bedfellows gone. They should have full rein next summer to spread out without such fierce competition.
If you'd like to grow your own gourds, the best way is to start with fresh seeds from a dried gourd that you like. At least half a day's sun is good. Mine had about this much sunshine. They can take small periods of drought, but don't let them go too long. They pretty much take care of themselves, but keep a watch unless you want to be taken over. They make great ground cover as long as no other plants will be smothered under their large abundant leaves.

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