Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog! Learn about our farm operation, public programs, and the people behind our work through the Notes from the Field and Education sections. Peruse the Recipes section for some staff favorites.

Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Featured Learning Garden Crop: Gourds

Gourds have been used by humans as food, tools, and utensils for centuries. Today, ornamental gourds are still grow for the beauty they bring to gardens and households year round. An easy, low-maintenance, high-yield crop that's excellent for first-time gardeners and kids, gourds can be harvested and cured, allowing them to last indefinitely.

How to Harvest Gourds
  1. Harvest gourds when their stems have dried up and turned brown.
  2. Cut gourds off vine, leaving a few inches of stem on the gourd.
  3. Be sure to harvest gourds prior to heavy frost; discard bruised or spoiled fruits.
How to Dry Gourds
  1. Wash gourds with soapy water and allow to dry completely.
  2. Arrange gourds in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight for one week; the skin should harden and change color.
  3. Spread the gourds on a screen or rack and place in a well-ventilated, dark area where they will remain for six months; be sure that none of the gourds touch each other.
  4. Check on your gourds every other day or so, making sure to dispose of any spoiled fruits. If a bit of mold appears on a gourd, try rubbing it off with a cloth dipped in a diluted bleach solution (the fruit should be fine for curing if the mold wipes off).
  5. Turn the gourds every couple of weeks to prevent spoilage and allow for even drying.
  6. The gourds are "cured" when they are light, hard, and the seeds can be heard rattling when the fruit is shaken.
What to do with Dried Gourds
  • Carve, paint, wax, sand, or decorate
  • Make a birdhouse
  • Carve a Jack-O-Lantern
Media (text and image) created and published by Rebekah Carter 2010.

No comments: