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There is just something about rain water that plants like. I could water with the hose every day, and not see improvements like this. We've actually gotten rain for about 20 minutes a pop 3-4 times in the last week, and the gourd vines are taking off!
This pic is of the spinner gourd seedlings I planted in the pot just about 2 weeks ago - the leaves are HUGE!
The Swan gourd vines in the front yard are doing a bit better, too . . . I'll take a picture of them tonite after work. I'm still in my pajamas, and don't want to go out front covered in penguins . . .
Ain't it the truth, Syrumani! Yours look very hopeful. Rain is not only not full of the chemicals we treat our drinking water with, but lightening releases nitrogen. Glad you're getting rain. It rained all around me over the weekend, but I didn't get a single drop. (Pout pout pout.)
Bridg...I join you in the pout...I have had some rain...but normally it can pour over at my DD's 2 miles away and sprinkle here...I only have a Swan Gourd planted this year...nothing has set yet though...have had some male flowers. Jo
Hmm. Now why would this be a particularly bad year for gourds? I wonder if the folks at Amish Gourds are having a problem. I could be remembering badly, but it seems to me I had a lot better going on this time last year.
Is it possible we are being too impatient? I'll have to check my pix at home for dates from last year. Seems to me that alot of the bigger gourds didn't start developing until end of summer for a few in this forum. But still . . .
Now, I AM sure that there is something wrong with the soil (clay) in my yard, so that is part of it. Another part is the lack of rain up to this point . . . we are way behind for the year.
I, too, have been having an extremely "bad year" with my gourds' progress. And THIS, having started them INDOORS (in peat pots) 6 weeks ahead of in-the-ground planting this past first week of MAY...
I DID look at my pics from last summer: by the 4th of July I had actual (some 7 to 10 inches tall already!) GOURDS going, not just a couple potential (and subsequently FAILED) female blossoms/gourdlets by the 10th!!!
My garden plot was LUSH and thick with vines and blossoms that had me hand-pollinating EVERY NIGHT and THAT was in late JUNE last year...
We're going into the middle of JULY, here in Central Illinois, and I have YET to see ONE potential baby gourd... ;-(
I'll post a couple pics tomorrow of the "last year/this year" thing I'm dealing with, to help illustrate...
I would also be interested, as the two of you, to know if this is a NATIONAL problem, or just a few areas...?
Well, we haven't had rain since last week, and we won't be getting rain for at least another week. So, I hope things continue to go well . . .
Remember the bushel vines that had a branch going up and around the bakers rack? Well, not ony were there two more vines growing up, but another vine was attaching itself to the screen on the window! I had been chatting with my sister online - told her I was going outside for a few minutes, and it was over an hour later when I came back in!
This is my first attempt at hand pollinating - on the bushel gourds . . . not sure if it worked . . . pretty sure all the pollen when flying when I peeled the petals. In the 2 nights since I tried, there's only been male flowers out there!
I'm wondering if it isn't time to trim the longest vines, to encourage side branches. They're only about 10', the longest ones. I'm thinking if I don't, would there be enough time in the season for any gourds that do grow to get to full size?
I have about 4 wee Swan Gourds forming up on one vine...but I haven't seen any male flowers for a while...so I doubt they are going to make it...unless the any hill near by has found a way to help Ma Nature out a little. I love Apple Gourds...I hope all yours make it. I'm getting ready to send your Big Gourd seeds. Jo
Here is the vine up the back fence. I noticed it was growing over the fence and peeked back there -- there is a HUGE length of this vine growing around the base of my back neighbors' tree! I need to go over there and introduce myself and explain what it is and (I guess) offer to get it out of their back yard if they want me to. Who knows? They might like it.
Edited to say that's a melon vine growing in the foreground.
Oh, my, brigidlily! They are looking fantastic! The baby growing on the back fence, though, looks like it will get pretty heavy . . . do you have a system ready to support heavy gourds? You could go over and introduce yourself . . . or you could cut the vine at the top of your fence to encourage side vines . . . I really need to look into those cattle panels . . .
Every time I look at that nice big one I realize I need to go in and sacrifice a pair of pantyhose to make a hammock for it before it damages its own stem. Nothing I like better than getting rid of pantyhose!
I hate to just cut the vine because 1) they might like it there and 2) they would then have a dead vine, which I would feel obliged to go clean up. So I think I'll mosey on over and explain who I am and what it is. They're an older couple so I doubt they'll shoot on sight. ;}
The cattle panels are great -- last year I had them in a big arch and they were GREAT for growing gourds and luffas. It was like having a little magical room outdoors; very cool and humming with bees in the morning. (I like bees, and I'm not allergic to them so of course I don't get stung... knock on wood...)
Yes, even the swan vines are improving enough to actually have the gourd I hand pollinated like 2 weeks ago to appear to actually be a bit bigger!
I must now remove those cactus (cactii?) that it is growing over . . . they are called Agave lopantha . . . pretty enough to look at, but they will hurt! They've got leaf edges that will catch and poke, and the point on the tip . . . oi! I poked the back of my hand on one last year, and no kidding . . . when I pulled my hand away, it was a gyser! Took 5 minutes of real good pressure to stop the bleeding . . . and the bruise was there for aLONG time! Anyway . . .
It just took me 20 minutes to pull about 8-9 tiny (ok, 8" or so) plants away from the base of the big ones - in that clump. I'll tackle the big ones tomorrow (thank goodness for the atlas glove coop a few months ago - the pokes could have been alot worse!). I must risk pokage, in order to save my gourd!
I tried to sell the agave lopantha on craigslist . . . got a few inquiries, but no takers (I wonder if it's because I said they'd have to dig them up themselves? . . . I did say I'd supply the shovel!).
I'm not one to use the word hate much . . . but I would be a happy person if these things never crossed my line of vision ever again!!! They are like weeds, here! They've got tap(?) roots that go for feet underground . . . and send up little ones that grow their own long roots . . . please, please - if ANYONE grows these THINGS, please keep them contained!! At least the nimrod that planted the first one kept them enclosed between the house and the sidewalk . . .
Ok, don't want to hijack my own thread with the rant on these horrid plants . . . I'll post pictures tomorrow of some of the darned roots . . .
Beautiful baby, Sy, and you're gourds are looking great. I did put a pair of pantyhose on that bushel growing up the back fence, and just in time. I went out there this morning and it has to be suddenly 15" diameter. HEAVY! Keep all fingers crossed, please.
Is that agave the one they make tequila from? If so, count me in on that raid, Jo!
I just went out and inspected the swan vines - which is hard to do because they're behind the horrid cactus things, in a rock filled area, and right outside DD window! I found a gourd! It's approx. 2" . . . I can't find my camera, but I will take a picture tomorrow. There is also 2 female flowers . . . one may be a day old . . . and another one getting ready to open - maybe tomorrow. And no males in sight! Where are the guys when you need them?!? Anyway . . . off to borrow some males from the apples and bushels . . .
Every single flower or bud I see on the swan vines are female . . . I'm wondering if I should start another vine or two just for the males? I suppose I could "borrow" 1-2 males per week from the apples and bushels . . .
And that would be ok with me! Yes, I know. I just couldn't decide which gourds to grow this year, so I am just growing gourds. I have seeds set aside for each variety, so when I do decide which ones to grow next year, I can still grow them . . . without having to worry about swashels or bushans . . . ^_^
I'll have to check when I get home on the apple gourds . . . the TN spinners I cracked open a spinner I had purchased off ebay and used those . . . the swans I got from Wuvie . . . the bushels I got from onalee . . . I know you sent me snake seeds, but I ran out of space for them! I suppose it's really not too late . . . what's the worst that could happen? I'd have to take them inside to finish curing . . . hmm . . . ^_^
Then there's the giant seeds . . . I am going to hold off on those until next year, though!
I just got home from work, and was outside doing some hand watering . . . I was out adjusting my baby gourds, so that maybe someday they will be able to sit by themselves . . . I was adjusting my baby bigun . . . AND SAW THIS!!!! What could do this? Too much water, not enough?
Wish I could give you a gourd hug, Sy. Several of mine have done that, and I have no idea why. You know my really big one hanging on the fence? Three others on that same vine just collapsed and rotted, and they had gotten bigger than a softball so it wasn't for lack of fertilization. I did a gourd autopsy and didn't find a critter or anything. I don't know if it just got too dadgum hot, or what. BUT keep in mind the same vine has produced gourdgantua. I'm hoping those pantyhose hold.
I went back out after I put the kids to bed last night . . . it was very sad . . . put a damper on my whole evening . . . couldn't even get into working on my gourd project, now that I can . . .
When I get home this afternoon, I'll go cut it off, so that the vines can concentrate on growing new ones, instead of that one. Am also going to figure a better way to water, in case that is part of the problem . . .
I had hopes for the one to the left, but it's collapsing. Couldn't tell until I got close. :( But the biggun was getting so heavy I stuck a ladder underneath it -- you know, that shelf you put paint cans on. It slipped out of the hose twice and I was afraid that was really jarring the vine. You really find out how coordinated you are (or not!) wrestling a ladder over uneven ground and getting what feels like an 80-pound gourd onto that shelf!
Oh how I wish I could get gourds to grow. I plant4ed 18 seeds this spring 1 came up and it croaked. I may have over watered it.
I just knew I could do wonders with gourds at the coast and everyone here has gourds that look great(even in panty hose).LOL
Oh My! That thing is huge! I would think that as long as biggun stays green - even though the vines look like they're dying - to keep it hooked up. It could be that all the vines energy is going into the gourd, instead of keeping itself green . . .
I'm leaving it completely alone! I heft it now and then to make sure it's still heavy, but I don't disturb the vine at all. No danger of frost, that's for sure, so it will sit there on the ladder until it's either ripe or rotten! I'm pulling for ripe.
I finally went out and cleared out my "space" in the back yard. It only took about 3 hours! On the Apple and Bushel vines, I cut them way back . . . if there were scraggly vines w/no gourds, they got pulled. On the existing vines, there were some that I cut off after a certain point.
Do you remember the 18 SHD seedlings I had at the beginning of the season? They were the ones that were planted along one fence, and none got bigger that a foot or so, except in this one section. I had given up on them all weeks ago - pulled the soaker hose and everything . . .
These vines kept growing at a fairly slow pace, but they stayed green, so I didn't have DH mow them . . . Last night I was looking at these particular vines . . .
Wow, Sy! Is your neighbor going to let you have the gourd?
Well, the vine the biggun is on was one that crept over to MY neighbor's yard. I'd left them a note to which they never responded, and one day found they had had their yard guys remove it. Ok, that's fine. But biggun's vine started dying from that end, and I think that's where it has been getting its nutrition. The "stem" is brown but the gourd is still heavy -- I don't know whether it will ripen or rot. Time will tell. I'll be very disappointed if after all this time (and not doing my back any good by wrestling it onto a ladder for support) it can't make it because they like a tidy yard. :( Not their fault, of course, but who knew the roots in their yard would be why the gourd in my yard grew? Ah, well.
I really had plans for that baby. Maybe it will make it. I hope your new babies have time to make it to gourdhood!
Maybe it's a signal for season ending, not just the roots being cut . . . the vines on my spinners are turning brown, too. I also noticed this morning on the bushel vines I have, that the one gourd I found last weekend . . . while it is still round, the vine itself is also turning brown. I'm wondering if - when I started seeds this spring - that I mixed the label for bushels & cannonballs . . . this one gourd is just the right size for a cannonball. If I remember, I'll take a cannonball that I bought last year and take a pic of them together when I get home tonite.
Hey! Still sitting there, getting moldy and the brown area is increasing. It's still quite heavy, but definitely lighter than it was. The part that was kind of going in doesn't seem to be a collapse area. I'm assuming it's better off there than it would be anywhere else, so I'm just leaving it alone. I fail to see how it could be getting any nutrition from that dead vine, though.
Odd thing is, I see those d@#^&d cucumber beetles every time I look at it. I've gotten over any squeamishness when it comes to those bugs. I squash them with my bare hands. Grrrrrrrrr... I just know they're laying eggs, and I can't find them. I'm looking, though!
It may be too late to use in the season, but look what I've been watching for the past few weeks! I haven't said anything (not even to DH), 'cause I didn't want to jinx it! The vine it is on is nice and green, and so far no evidence of bug damage . . . so, I'll give it a dose anyway!
I'm trying not to use chemicals at all, but I have in the past. I used Bayer 3-in-one and it worked well. I've never used the all-in-one but heard it did not work as well. Note that it does not FEED for 6 weeks. It's a systemic and will get rid of the pests. I find Dr. Bronner's soap (diluted!) will get rid of the bugs.
I haven't measured it, but since the vine was completely dead after the hurricane, I picked it and put it on the patio. It is developing a nice mold covering, and I hope it will mature. It's still so big and heavy I have serious doubts, but time will tell.
I had about four of these bushels like yours last year, and, the way yours looks, it's already 'curing' from the inside out now... Make sure the 'shell' is HARD, with no 'cushy' or rubbery areas, and then you can try this, for peace of mind (OR a headstart on the remaining curing process!):
Take and make a small 'scratch' on the the green surface with your index or thumbnail, somewhere discreet so it won't show up later as a 'streak'. At first, it should look pale greenish color where you scratched it. Give it a couple days, then check the 'scratch': it SHOULD look nice and GOLDEN there now (the shell under the skin, exposed by the 'scratch')! This is always great news, because it means your gourd is in the 'home stretch', and relatively assured to HARDEN into crafting medium! No more worrying, crossing your fingers, etc... :-)
I actually prefer to scrape the whole gourd at this point, giving it a bleach bath both before and after, to hasten the curing. This process makes for a more spot-design-free, golden shell (which I prefer on the LARGER bushel gourds) than the standard 'gone to mold' finishing. However, mold WILL till develope over the next few weeks, and you would have to keep mopping the shell off with a bleach solution every few days to inhibit any potential late-stage 'rot'. For me, it's worth the extra work... see my bushel gourd, 2007 crop, done this way, last winter:
Thanks for the hints, jipsi. I check it every few days, and change it's position on the cushion. No dips, etc. so far, so hopefully things will be ok! I'll do the scratch tonite. I have 3 others I'd like to do, too. Just not bushel ones . . .
I was surprised mine made it! I don't have a photo on me, but it dried just fine. From thumping it, I suspect the shell is a little thinner than I'd have liked, but I didn't order that hurricane, just endured it.
GUESS what I found this morning, after going through five boxes? the Devil's Claw seeds! They are from 2004, so I don't know if they will germinate, but you are welcome to have them if you still want them.. send me your address, mine is no longer on the exchange, so I cannot look yours up. They look really hard, and someone once told me to make sure to cut the outer coat (like we do the mgs) then soak, but, I think if you soak overnight first, then nick the coat, it won't damage the inside.
That's great, good thing too, these are so darned old. Let me know when you sow them and how you plan to germinate them, I may try a couple of these. I also found all my other vine seeds and I hope they are not too old also.
And the wait continues . . . LOL!!! You can see (i think) where I did the scratch test in January . . . It seemed a bit lighter when I put it in the chair just a few minutes ago, but I think that is more wishful thinking than anything . . .