Gourd Art Enthusiasts

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It has long bothered me that people buy seed packets that are marketed as "Jewelry Gourds". True enough, the seeds in the packets come from tiny specimens of whatever variety of gourd they might be. However there is no such thing as a "Jewelry Gourd" genus, no matter if it is a Tennessee Spinner, micro mini bottle, or whatever. The gourds these seeds come from are just that, tiny specimens of a normal gourd variety.

These small varieties of gourds can grow up to a hundred or more small gourds on a single vine. The first gourds to grow on the vine are going to grow to a normal or maybe even a larger version of the gourd depending on what it may get cross pollinated with. Toward the middle to end of the  growing season, as the little gourds keep sprouting on the ends of the vines, some may not reach the full size they would have if they had sprouted earlier in the season. The later they sprout and get pollinated, the less size they will acheive by the end of the growing season. The very latest of these will never reach maturity and will either die  on the vine or shrivel after harvest. It's out of these smaller, end of the season gourds, that do reach maturity and make it safely thru the drying process, that "Jewelry Gourds" are born.  Jewelry Gourds are popularly classified as tiny gourds 1" to 1 1/2" in height and are in demand for jewelry making among gourders.

A few years back I had a bumper crop of Tennessee Spinner gourds. At the final count, there were just over 400 gourds harvested. During drying, I lost probably only 30 or so gourds to immaturity. Of the remaining gourds, only 24 gourds were small enough to be classified as jewelry gourds. That's just about 5% of any given crop.

So next time you plant a package of "Jewelry Gourds", don't count on producing a lot of jewelry. Better to have some plans for more ornaments for the tree than for your person.

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Well.... knock me over with a feather.... learn something new every day! I grew some gourds in a huge pot in the yard for several years that never got bigger then 2 inches. Most were 1-2 inches. The flowers were yellow. None were ever larger and were present for early and mid season.The late ones had very thin shells and I could not use them for making my necklaces. I used seeds from small gourds sent to me by a gourd friend in North Carolina. I am located in south GA and used usual planting, feeding, and watering practices. Another difference was only about 15-20 were on a vine. We have had drought for 3 years and I have not planted any more.

If you're planting in pots, try putting an umbrella over your crop and water them a lot. They'll still get a lot of sun but not the extended heat from the sun in your southern state beating down on them. There was a fellow here who had a dahlia garden with an umbrella over every one of his dahlia plants. Looked funny but he had wonderful dahlias without the sunburn!

Bonnie, I am just tickled here picturing umbrellas attached to the trellises that the vines climb. I did wrap the black pot with white freezer paper and sometimes a white beach towel.... kept the soil cooler. You reminded me I want to try dahlias some year. My mom had some with huge blooms during my childhood. My granddad was the one who grew gourds. Sadly I  got only one of his before he died. I wish he could see the "Gourd World" of today. He would be so amazed. He used to plant rows of collards among my grandmother's flowers ! Hush now Lou !


Where do you find the seeds for these small gourds?

please let me know  thank you sharon cunningham

You can find seeds for small varieties of gourds, Tennessee Spinners, Micro mini-bottle gourds, small eggs, etc. at farm stores, some garden shops, from small gourds you buy, or online. Baker Heirloom Seeds in MO has an online store. Some advertisers in The Gourd Magazine(AGS) sell seeds, too. Visit a gourd festival and a few vendors usually carry seeds or give them away. If you plant them, you're likely to get 5% of your crop suitable for jewelry making.

thank you   sc

Bonnie, thank you so much for this post!  I have been confused about this whole "jewelry gourd" thing and even bought seeds that never came to fruition.  I have planted Tennessee spinners this year so I'll keep my fingers crossed that I'm get some tiny ones for crafts!  Have you grown the micro gourds or are those not a real genus too?  Thanks!

I haven't seen the Micro Gourd title used on gourds yet, but I'm guessing it's the same as Jewelry Gourd, not a real genus of gourd. Only that smaller, late blooming gourd that happens to harden in the late part of the growing season and only accounting for a small percentage of the entire crop.

I have always searched for tiny gourd seeds but have had little success in finding any for sale, if anyone knows of a place to get them I would be so happy to be able to be able to buy some, let me know, hope you are all doing swell, sunny here in southern California, rain did us well, its planting time!

Hi Randy!

     I too was looking for small gourds to grow for jewelry and such.  The last two years I grew the Tennessee spinner gourds and was very pleased with the results.  I don't recall what the average size for spinner gourds is, but many of mine were only an inch in diameter, a few were a little smaller and others were two inches in diameter.  I'm not sure if that would be what you were looking for or not.  I better results last year and grew several plants in an old garden plant as a planter.  I'm not sure if that would've made a big difference in the end size or not.  I will be growing them in pots/planters again this year as well.  Best of luck to you!


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