Q. How do I harvest gourds?
A. Gourds belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes utilitarian gourds (lagenaria) and vegetable-sponges (luffa). Harvest ornamental gourds after they have matured on the vine, in late summer or early fall. A hard, glossy, brightly colored shell and a withered vine indicates maturity. The stems should be tough and the necks on long-handled types should be stiff and not bendable. Mature gourds with hardened shells can tolerate a light frost, but immature gourds will be damaged and should be discarded. Harvest gourds leaving 1 to 2 inches of the stem attached. Be careful to handle the gourd carefully; bruises, scratches, or punctures may result in discoloration and decomposition. The curing time depends on the type of gourd.
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