Preparing A Birdhouse Gourd

Nola wants to know what a flippin’ gourd is.

And Abe wants to see how I prepare these for birds to take up residence.

So this post is for them and anyone else who may be interested in birdhouse gourds.

These are birdhouse gourds, after drying over the winter.

bhgourds

A gourd is inedible. Usually used for decorative purposes or vessels to hold liquids. Or in this case a high rise apartment to hold birds.

I grew these last year and put them up over the winter to dry.

Now that they are dry, they are ready to make into birdhouses. I don’t clean them up when using them for birdhouses, I try to keep them as natural as possible. So they blend in naturally when dried.

I cut an opening, which will be the entrance to the birdhouse.

brdhsgrd1

Then I clean out the dried seeds and membrane from the inside, using a long handled screw driver.

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If you decide to do this, I am obligated to tell you that it is believed that the inside of this is poisonous. And it is necessary to wear a face mask, so you don’t breathe in any of the dust while cleaning out the dried insides of the gourd.

brdhsgrd3

Then I drill small holes in each side of the top of the gourd.

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Then push a wire through to make a hanger.

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And you have birdhouses. All naturally made.

I also drill a few small holes in the bottom of the gourd.

Just in case water does get inside during a downpour, it will let the water drain out.

brdhsgrd6

Then I hang them all over the farm.

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Now, what to do with all these seeds.

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You can keep them to plant in next years garden, share them or throw them in the compost heap.

If you decide to keep or share them, first clean the dried membrane from them.

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And store in a cool, dry place in an air tight container.

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I still have several to prepare and hang around the farm.

If you decide to grow these, I must warn you, the plants are viney and they’ll take over a garden in no time. It is best to grow them along a fence or trellis. Something strong enough to hold the weight of the plant and the gourd as it grows.

These are very light when dried. But while growing they can be rather heavy. Weighing down whatever it is that they climb.

From one plant I got a total of eleven gourds.

Here is another example of birdhouse gourds hanging. A picture I took at Lake Wylie.

brdhsgrdcondo

I call it a bird condo.

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25 comments on “Preparing A Birdhouse Gourd

  1. Isn’t it funny when someone wants to know about something that is so common to us? Do you ever paint them? I have a few Santa’s painted on some.

  2. I’ve had trouble growing gourds and everyone tells me they are so easy to grow. I don’t know if I water too much or too little but I’ve not had any luck so far. I’m going to keep trying, though, because I want to do gourd art and birdhouses.

    Helen

    • I haven’t grown any yet (next season), but I have read that it takes 130 days for them to mature to the point of being able to dry them over the winter and use them. That’s 130 days before a frost.

  3. I was going to try them this year, but my garden space turned out not big enough. Maybe next year. Thanks for the tip on wearing the mask while your cleaning them out. I had never heard that before. Bet the birdies love your place with all the homes for them hanging everywhere!

  4. Wow….thanks so much for the post!! I have seen them before…I just didn’t realise that is what they were called. I don’t think we have anything like a gourd here? Maybe a pumpkin is the closest thing like that? I don’t think a pumpkin would go hard enough to do this with however…..it would go soft? Still, might try it and see if they do go hard enough for a birdhouse. thanks again 🙂

  5. I have a few dried gourds from last summer, so I am going to try this. I did not know that the inside is poisonous. You are right about them taking over a garden. I have already learned that lesson.

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  9. I purchased a hole saw. It is a round saw 1 1/2″ that fits on my drill. I haven’t broken any more gourds since I started using that. I must not have been holding the gourd tight enough when I used the wood expansion bit.

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