Friday, October 12, 2007

Born Too Late

Lagenaria siceraria

On a nice October day a couple of years ago, I was cleaning out the seeds and debris from the inside of a bottle gourd shell (Lagenaria siceraria) as preparation for a gourd art project, when a gust of wind scattered the stuff across my garden.

I had been especially careful about keeping the seeds contained, as I did not want volunteer gourd vines growing all over the place. I spent a good deal of time picking up what seeds and debris I could find, but looking for gourd seeds on decomposed granite groundcover is more difficult than looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. As expected, I’ve ended up with a few volunteer plants over the past 24 months.

The problem is the volunteers never sprout at the right time. The vine in the photo is about five weeks old. I've decided to let it grow, just to see how long it will last. All the others that sprouted the past two years have died after a month or two, either from heat or cold. March is the ideal gourd planting time in my region. Not a single seed has started in March. The current gourd vine has been flowering for a week, but no gourds are forming. However, the vine looks pretty, so it's serving a good purpose.

Welburn Gourd Farm near Fallbrook, California grows very thick-shelled gourds for crafters. The scattered seeds came from a gourd I chose while at the farm attending the Annual International Gourd Art Festival, so when I look at my little volunteer vine it reminds me of the fun times I had at the Festival with my daughter and my sister.

1 comment:

kate said...

The flowers on gourds are so delicate looking. I wonder how long this vine will last since it is growing at the wrong time.

I'd love to see your gourd art ... it sounds like great fun!