The Way to Preserve Decorative Gourds

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A pile of gourds makes an eye-catching decoration in your home or out in the yard. Fresh, uncured gourds can endure for a few weeks prior to going bad. If you dry and preserve your gourds, however, they will last for several decades. After you’ve preserved the gourds, get creative by drawing or painting your own designs on the casing.

Harvesting Gourds

If you grow your own gourds, crop them before maintaining. Gourds are often ready for harvesting when the stem in the top seems brown and withered. Press lightly on the gourd’s shell with your fingertip; when it seems solid and hard, it is ready. Gourds with soft cubes may require a bit more ripening time prior to harvesting. To harvest, cut the gourds in the vines with a couple inches of stem attached. The stem helps maintain a gourd from spoiling since it cures. Discard gourds that seem damaged or bruised.


After the crop, gourds desire a comprehensive wash. Rinse each gourd under warm running water. Wash gourds softly with a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap, then rinse them thoroughly. As you wash the gourds, handle them carefully to avoid damaging the fragile skin. Soak small gourds at a bucket filled with 10-percent bleach option to get rid of any remaining dirt or germs. Wipe very huge gourds using a cloth dipped in the solution. Pat the gourds dry with a clean towel.


Gourds desire a dry, warm, shaded and well-ventilated place for healing. Cover a level surface with cardboard or paper, then set the gourds down so that they don’t touch. A blowing buff can help increase circulation in poorly ventilated rooms. Switch the gourds every few days to let all areas of the shell to dry. Gourds are often completely dry in one to six months, based on size. In case you shake a gourd and hear seeds rattling inside, it is dry and ready to use. Discard gourds that rust during the drying procedure.


Most gourds have a tough shell, but it is possible to smooth and polish it into a glistening shine. Use steel wool or rough sandpaper to gently buff the casing until it is smooth. A wire brush cleans the hard-to-reach places. Gourds from the Lagenaria genus, such as the bottle gourd, have a tough outer skin and a smooth shell underneath. Soak these gourds in warm water for 10 minutes, then use a scouring pad or wire brush to remove the outer skin. Sterilize the gourds using a 10-percent bleach alternative, then let them dry. Add designs to treated gourds with paint, stain, wax or carvings.

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