Many Garden Plants do not last long after they leave the garden, and why should they? We do not just grow vegetables for their looks, but because they provide nutritious and healthy food. We grow, we harvest and we eat. However Birdhouse Gourds just do not fit this formula. We grow them, we harvest them and then we cure them, carve them and hang them in a tree in hopes that a pair of birds will find the gourds and move into their new home. And when they do, we all take turns until the baby birds fly away. So we do not eat the birdhouse gourds, but they do provide food for the soul. Harvest time can be the most enjoying part of growing gourds, Harvest a gourd after the vines have died, which is much later than you would your squash or pumpkin. This way, the rind can cure on the vine and get good and tough. Like pumpkins, gourds require proper field spacing and pollinators to produce big yields. Space most gourds 18-24” apart in the row with 8-10’ between rows. Sufficient honeybee populations in the area are key to good pollination but the larger hardshell Lageneria types are also pollinated by moths during the evening hours. If possible, plant these types on the darkest areas of your garden or farm so that any artificial light will not distract this important pollinator. To preserve them for better keeping, dip them in wax or shellac to help preserve their color longer. When harvested, the larger fruited gourds will have a mottle green coloring. The color will quickly fade as they dry down. The larger gourds are great for selling to crafters. Or, try selling some painted or dressed up in costumes to increase your fall sales.