Gourd mold

Windsor, CT(Zone 6a)

I scrubbed a few of my dried/cured "nest egg" gourds awhile back, and just set them to one side. I checked them the other day, and they're getting moldy again. Not alot, but a bit. Enough, LOL. Should I scrub again with some bleach? Or once they're clean I should seal them somehow, or wax them?


Crossville, TN

If I am going to paint my gourds the mold ...after cleanedn off...will make no difference. If I plan to leave them natural or waxed, then the designs that the mold leaves is very nice...makes them look like wood or something. I sometimes use shoe dye to color them too. Jo

Decatur, GA

Washed gourds will mold again if you keep them in a damp place or is they haven't dried completely. It takes months for them to dry.
Gourds will dry outside and should be left on the vine until the stems are completely dry. After you take them off the vine they will dry faster if you put them in a dry place like under the eve of the house or in the garage. You can bring them inside as well but they can be kind of dirty straight from the garden.
If you don't want them to get moldy and stained at all you can try scraping the skin off when the gourd is still green and on the vine. It is risky in that the gourd might rot from the damage caused by this method. But not always and I have had some luck with this and gotten some beautiful clear gourds, which are particularly good for burning. (meaning using the wood burner to decorate them.)

Crossville, TN

I agree, Helen.....Jo

Windsor, CT(Zone 6a)

Thanks so much for the answers. I do live in a damp place, (near a river) and that must be what's going on. Though I did scrub them within an inch of their lives! LOL. Guess I missed some mold, and it got going again. Or there's just plenty around.

I left them outside for the winter, to get the freeze/thaw benefit. The mold got thick, black and very spore-y, no way were they going into any living space, not even the garage. (The picture is from March.) As it is, I had a mild allergic reaction when I did handle them back in May. Not that that's going to have any effect, I'm totally hooked on gourds now. Another batch is growing right now. Apples this time. So cool!

I haven't scrubbed all of the last season ones yet- too much to do these days. But I'll get to it before the snow flies. And I'll probably hit them with some bleach. After I do, should I "cure" them some more in a dry/warm location and then coat them with wax or shellac? Or prime them?

Thanks again!

Thumbnail by nedweenie
Decatur, GA

Nice gourds nedweenie. If they keep molding after washing they probably are too damp. After you clean them well then put them in a dry place, ie garage or inside.
The best and easiest way I found to clean the tough skin off gourds is to put a coat of liquid soap and then wrap it in damp towels. I guess first brush off the loose dry stuff and wet the gourd with water. Then put on the soap and wrap it up for several hours (?) maybe longer - it depends. If things are right the skin should slip off and the gourd will clean up much faster. I use a stiff brush and a dull knife to help get every speck of skin off. I have never used bleach. It seems much harsher than necessary. I once used a wire brush and it scratch the gourd all up.
Once the gourd is clean it needs to be kept dry.

Windsor, CT(Zone 6a)

That sounds like a great method! Sure beats scrubbing till your hands want to fall off. I'll try that, thanks~

Crossville, TN

The "Chore Girl" copper or silvery metal dish scrubbers are highly recommended in gourd books to scrape the skin off the gourd. I keep a pack under the sink at all times. Jo

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

I leave them on the vine until the vine is entirely dead. I haven't worked with my gourds in a long time! Y'all get busy and inspire me!

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