Unlike other garden vegetables, you won't eat your gourds. If you are going to put small gourds on display, you can do so right away. Healthy gourds will last for weeks and months.
Many gourds are dried and later used ina variety of projects, especially for crafts. The drying process takes a long time. Here's how to dry them for later use:
Drying and Curing:
Gourds take a long time to dry. Small ones take at least a month. The long gourds for crafts can take six months or more. Here are the basics for drying them:
Clean gourds with a solution of water and a disinfectant or bleach to kill any bacteria. Place gourds on a screen or a board making sure that they do not touch each other. Store them in a cool, well ventilated area. Gently move them each day or two and wipe off any moisture that is on them. Moisture is natural as they are perspiring off the water content which is about 90% of their weight. Fungus on them is not abnormal. They are okay unless they develop a soft spot. If a soft spot is found, discard it.
Your gourds are dry when the seeds rattle inside. The gourd will be very lightweight- - and fragile.
Once they are dry, you can make a wide range of crafts. They can be painted, shellaced, or unfinished. As previously mentioned, Long gourds are used most frequently for crafts. Birdhouses are very common. But you can make just about anything, including vases, flower pots, bowls, dishes, ladles, altar tools, musickal instruments, candle holders. Simply use your imagination, or visit a craft show where a gourd crafter is showing his or her crafts.