I have very fond memories of Dad growing an array of interestingly shaped gourds and drying them so we could seal, paint and display them. This was one of the many things he found for us to keep entertained around home as things were very different than they are today; no cell phones, iPads, or laptops, and our TV was kept hidden in a cupboard that was only opened for specific programs (my sister and I could choose one half hour program a day).
Many years later, I joined my Mother In Law, Judy, in a Christmas arts and crafts class in Seattle where we decorated gourds as gifts, I sent mine back to family in NZ. The Santa in the photo above is one of these original decorations; Mum still gets him out every year, and stores him carefully. He’s in pretty good nick for 23!
If you’d like to try making gourd decorations, you can grow your own gourds and dry them in time for Christmas 2018, or you can buy dried gourds (there’s some on TradeMe) and start decorating now.
There are quite a few websites where you can buy patterns, get decorating ideas and instructions, this site is one of my favourites thefairygourdmother.com
To grow your own gourds you’ll need seeds, Kings sells them online here $3.75 you will get 20 heirloom large fruited mixed gourd seeds which are perfect for drying and decorating as there’s a good variety of different shaped gourds. The best time to sow them is right now, once transplanted they take around 90 days to grow and anywhere from 6 weeks to a couple of months to dry depending on how humid it is.
One of the best ways to dry gourds is to drop them one by one into cut off panty hose legs tying a knot between each as you go. Hang them in a well ventilated dry place, and you’ll have a nice dried out bunch of gourds in about a month. Don’t worry if your gourd goes mouldy, as long as it’s dry it will be fine, you’ll need to prime your gourd before painting and at this stage the mould will be removed. Find out how to do this here.
I’m not a great painter hence the fluffy beard on my Santa above . .. if you’re more artistic than me perhaps try something like this. Triona