How to dry bushel gourds
On my recent visit to my cousin’s house I came across these beautifully carved bowls and circular bird houses; I was astonished when she said she had crafted them herself after drying her bumper crop of bushel gourds! I never knew gourds could be home dried, so I made her share everything that she knew about how to dry bushel gourds or any type of gourd for that matter. This is what I found out…
Bushel gourds are larger than average gourds with a round shape, that is flattened at the bottom and top, making them ideal for crafting propose. According to my cousin growing bushel gourds (they grow on vines by the way…so make sure you have a large garden if you intend to grow them yourself) is very easy; all they need is a well drained soil, water, manure with very little nitrogen, and of course lots and lots of sunshine.
Once you have your bushel gourds ready there are several ways that you can use to dry them. Here is the method that my cousin used; it’s called drying the gourd cut off from the vine. For this cut the gourd from the vine once they are completely mature, firm, and you are sure they won’t grow any bigger. Now just wipe them clean and set them over a well ventilated rack or pellet and just forget about them for several days. Once the drying process starts (this might take several days), the moisture from the insides of the bushel gourd moves to the skin and evaporates, which in turn makes the skin moist – an ideal condition for mold growth. Mold growth over drying bushel gourd is almost unavoidable, hence it is a good idea to carry out the drying process away from the house (to prevent contaminating the indoors with mold spores of course).
Even when done outdoors you might need to scrape off the mold every now and then to prevent the mold from damaging the bushel gourd. For this cover your face with a mask or respirator and wipe off all the moldy with a damp cloth.
Giant bushel gourds can at times take forever to dry, if you are lucky enough to catch hold of a giant bushel gourd, my cousin’s advice would be to drill a small hole at the bottom to accelerate the drying process. Whatever you do it takes at least a month to properly dry bushel gourds. Remember to wipe off mold growth every now and then, for if soft spots (classic sign of rotting) form the entire gourd needs to be just discarded. Your dried bushel gourd is ready when you can hear the seeds rattle inside.
All that needs to be done now is to clean the gourd and use it to craft whatever item that fancies you. Dry bushel gourds have a classic wood like texture so you can actually use all your wood carving and crafting techniques on to these gourds.
Image credits: google.com