Lucy growing gourds

How to Sow and Grow Gourds

Gourds, with their intriguing shapes and vibrant hues, are not only decorative but also versatile in culinary and crafting endeavours. Cultivating these unique plants in the offers an exciting opportunity to add diversity to your garden and explore their many uses. In this blog, we’ll explore the steps to sow and grow gourds in the UK climate.

Long green gourds

Selecting Seeds

Begin by selecting high-quality gourd seeds suited to your preferences and growing conditions. Choose from a variety of gourd types, including ornamental varieties for decoration, as well as edible types like bottle gourds or culinary squash.  We particularly love Snake Bean Gourd which is incredible cooked in beautiful curries.

Timing and Location

Gourds thrive in warm, sunny conditions, so it’s essential to sow seeds outdoors once all risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. In the UK, this typically occurs from late April to early June. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil for optimal growth.

Preparing the Soil

Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of about 30 cm and incorporating plenty of organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will help improve soil fertility, structure, and moisture retention, providing an ideal growing environment for gourds.  If you’re a ‘no dig’ gardener, no prep is necessary.

Gourd Luffa

Sowing seeds

Sow gourd seeds directly into the prepared soil, spacing them about 60 cm apart in rows or hills. Plant seeds to a depth of approximately 2-3 cm, covering them lightly with soil. Water the seeds gently to ensure good soil contact and maintain consistent moisture until germination occurs, usually within 7-10 days.

Thinning and Transplanting

Once gourd seedlings have developed their first true leaves and are large enough to handle, thin them to the strongest seedling per spacing recommendation for your chosen variety. If you started seeds indoors, transplant seedlings outdoors once they have at least two sets of true leaves and all risk of frost has passed.

Caring for Gourds

Gourds require regular watering, especially during dry spells, to ensure consistent moisture levels. Mulching around plants can help conserve soil moisture and suppress weed growth. Additionally, feeding gourd plants with an organic feed every few weeks can promote healthy growth and fruit production.

How to sow and grow gourds

Harvesting Gourds

Gourds are ready for harvest when they reach maturity and develop their characteristic size, shape, and colour. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the gourds from the vine, leaving a short stem attached. Harvest gourds before the first frost, as cold temperatures can damage the fruits.

Drying and Preserving Gourds

To preserve gourds for decorative or crafting purposes, allow harvested fruits to dry in a warm, well-ventilated area for several weeks. Once dry, clean the gourds by scrubbing them with a brush and mild soap, then allow them to air dry completely before storing or using them in projects.

Growing gourds is a rewarding and enjoyable experience that allows you to explore the diversity of these fascinating plants. By following these steps for sowing and growing gourds using metric measurements, you can cultivate a successful harvest of decorative and edible gourds in your own garden. So, roll up your sleeves, dig into the soil, and let the journey to a bountiful gourd harvest begin.

Happy gardening!

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Video – How to Sow and Grow Gourds