How to Dry Birdhouse Gourds

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Crafting birdhouse gourds allows you to grow your own birdhouse, and the distinct, natural look of a birdhouse gourd adds character and beauty to your home. Drying birdhouse gourds isn’t complicated, and the best practice for drying the gourds is simply to let nature do it for you. The one drawback to properly drying birdhouse gourds is that it takes time. When you’re done, however, you’ll have a birdhouse gourd that will last longer, stay beautiful and make many birds quite happy.

Things You'll Need

  • Gourds
  • Knife
  • Kitchen towel or paper towels
  • Bleach and water solution

Allow your gourds to ripen and remain on the vines until the stem turns brown. You can let the gourds remain on the vine through a frost, but harvesting them before a frost is best. Don’t try to dry a gourd after picking it while it’s still green and unripe.

Cut the stem with a knife approximately 2 to 3 inches above the gourd. Be careful when cutting the stem and handling the gourd so you don’t bruise it.

Dry off the gourd with a kitchen towel or paper towels and bring the gourd indoors. Wipe down the gourd with a weak bleach and water solution.

Place the gourd in a well-ventilated area to dry. Large gourds can take up to six months to dry, but small ones will dry in about a month. Use a knife to carefully scrape off any mold that grows on the gourd while it’s drying.

Test your gourds to determine whether they’re fully dry by shaking them. If you hear the seeds rattling around inside the gourd, it is dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hang thin-shelled gourds in a mesh bag to dry for best results.
  • If you're purchasing a gourd instead of growing it yourself, make sure you choose the ripest gourd and not a green one.
  • Gourds need lots of air to dry properly, so avoid placing them in a cellar, basement or other small, enclosed area with insufficient air flow.
  • Don't scrape a green, unripe gourd to speed up drying. This will only mar the outside of the gourd.
  • Don't cut a hole in the gourd and scoop out the insides to help it to dry. The gourd will likely rot, cave in and collapse.

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