Gourd Harvest Season
When your vines start drying out, harvest time is near. Check your vines and feel them for moisture. They can be
brown on the outside but still be carrying some moisture on the inside, so to insure the hardest thickest gourds you can possibly have, wait
until the stem going into the gourd is hard or brittle and dry.
many people like to have the stems on the gourds, so rather than grabbing the gourd and tearing it form the vine, grab the stem
and try to tear the vine from the stem of the gourd, being careful not to break it from the gourd. Some will break inevitably, but try to
preserve the stem as mych as possible.
Your gourds that are good, should almost sound like glass or a rock when you tap them with your finger nail. With some
experience you will learn to hear the subtle difference between a really thick and hard gourd, over the softer gourds that are thin shelled or
may not make it. Good solid gourds while not unbreakable are very durable. I would not suggest throwing them around, but piling them
in a wheel barrel or wagon should not be an issue.
You also have the option of letting your gourds dry over winter, but we somewhat oppose this idea, at least not on the vine for
the purposes of tilling the ground before winter. During the summer when the gourds are in full season, cucumber beetles tend to get a
little thick, but what is even thicker is the number of eggs in the ground waiting for spring time. If you do not do something to reduce or
eliminate the early season cucumber beetles, next year you will plant your garden and they will hatch out and eat the tops off the vines before
they even get a change to grow, and this will kill your gourd vines. Tilling the ground brings the eggs to the surface, just like panning
for gold makes the heavier gold sink to the bottom and the lighter dirt washes off the top, when you till the groun, the eggs are light in weight
and the dirt is heavey. Tilling will fling the eggs onto the surface and the winter cold will kill them. Even if you don't till in the
winter, at least till in the early spring, this too will help to eliminate the vulnerable cucumber beetle eggs.
If you plan to Harvest your gourds, please use common sense and do not store them in your home or garage while waiting for them
Storing Harvested Gourds