Cecile Garrison, President, American Gourd Society

I have to make a confession! I tell people how to grow gourds and other hot weather annuals but I don't always follow my own advice. My gardens still produce large, thick gourds most years so I think it works no matter what you do or do not do.

However, I want new and experienced gardeners to benefit from growing advice from a man who has consistently produced beautiful, symmetrical gourds for many years. I asked Glenn Burkhalter if I could share his tried and true tips for growing gourds.

This growing season I am growing many varieties including another attempt at a one-hundred pound bushel gourd. I had five large bushel gourds last year but only one of those matured and produced seeds. I foolishly tried to start seedlings from the immature
bushels. They \germinated and grew three inches before telling me they did not have what it took to grow further. The seeds from the one that grew to fifty-seven pounds and matured are now germinating.

We planted apple gourds and strung little white lights on the arbor this year because a young schoolteacher and her wedding party will be walking under it from the wedding ceremony to an outdoor reception. We will also have a variety of gourds, Indian corn and Sunflowers on the fence surrounding the area for the reception. It should be a perfect fall wedding in mid-September.

I started Dipper gourd seedlings in February and planted them in the garden during late March. I also started dipper gourd seeds directly in hay bales and in the ground adjacent to the hay bales. The hay bale seedlings were attacked almost immediately leaving only stems on many of them. I did not spot any cucumber beetles but they would seem to be the likely culprits.

Something also skeletonized a few leaves on my February seedlings. I only saw one earwig, one pill bug and one red ant. I did not think they caused the damage and watched for a few days. The damage stopped and new and undamaged leaves are growing at a rapid rate. I refrain from using insecticides and count on birds, frogs, lizards and beneficial insects to take care of problems that arise.

Many of you will be planting about the time you get this magazine. Actually I could also be one who will be planting in late May or early June. One year we had to replant in May due to a late frost!