I haven't forgotten how to grow gourds

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Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

I haven't grown or used any natural gourds in likely close to a decade. I decided this year I'd grow some and put up at least one new rack of natural gourds next year. It was late when I planted them and getting dry, so I planted more than I normally would in case I only made a few. Well, I'd say I definitely made a few. :grin: In case anyone local is interested, I'll be selling most of these for $3 each. These are very good gourds have a very hard shell.

BTW, this is less than half the gourds I grew in my little one acre patch that I planted. For size reference that's a 5'x14' trailer. Every gourd on the trailer is 9"-12" in diameter.

Image
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
C.C.Martins
Posts: 802
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA, made adjustments and next year was sucessful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged.
2018-18 pair. 85 fledged.
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020:?
Home colony: 17 natural gourds, one 6 compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony Oso bay preserve: 12 gourds: excluder, troyer horizontal, super gourds with tunnels. 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: ?
PMCA member

Nope you didnt forget! I really like the natural gourds, something about them. Looks like you have been busy.
Hope they end up as martin homes.
Tom
Tom

2016- two visitors
2017- 5 pair 15 Fledged
2018-18 pairs 85 Fledged
2019-17 pair 81 fledged
2020:

Satellite location: oso bay preserve 12 gourds, modified trio
2019: Visitors
2020: hopeful!!!
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

If I could get paint to stay on them better, I'd use more of them. Maybe someone will reply with their tried and true paint recipe. I've tried it all.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Brad I was thinking of you the other day when I was cleaning up my garden supplies. Are these the seeds that you grew from that old seed stock you were trying to keep advancing?

Two questions. Did you keep growing the same seeds each year from when you first started? How many years did the genetics/seeds continue being planted? I know you haven't grown in many years but was curious the lineage to your gourds.


Third question! Can I get some seeds from you? I have some good soil open and would love to get a dozen or two grown this season. Can I email you somehow for address? I'll send a self addressed bubble envelope if you'd have some seed.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1861
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

.... Brad ,,,, Great job on the gourds... No you have not forgotten how to grow gourds... :grin: :grin:

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, ... :wink:

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies. So far... :wink:

PMCA Member
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Ryan the gourds in the picture are not from my old strain of gourds but I did grow some gourds from my old seeds in a different spot on our farm. I’ll be glad to send you some seeds from them. Both varieties are very similar but I still prefer the ones from my old stock. They are more uniform in shape and the neck is a little shorter. My old gourds have a white skin on them and the ones in the picture have a green skin with lighter spots. I’m not sure what difference the skin color indicates as far as origins are concerned. I ended up having 3 plants from my old seed make it after transplanting. Ended up with 26 good 11-12” gourds from those.

Send me your address: yard1man@charter.net

Thanks Dave!
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Ryan to answer your 2nd question....

I started with good seed. That helped a bunch. The only downside to the gourds were odd length necks and some of them got way too big. As in 15”-16” diameter.

I marked the first 2 dozen or so gourds that set each year and kept those separate. From those I would pick the ones with the shape that I wanted, then pick from those the single gourd with the thickest, hardest shell. That’s the one gourd that I kept my replacement seed from. It took probably 5 years to get them to where they are now. I planted them for 5-6 years after I got them to the point that I wanted them.

The 26 gourds that I’ve kept from my good seed this year are so similar in shape and size that they’d nearly pass for plastic gourds.

Another part of the process is killing off all volunteer gourd plants that come up the next year. Those are always from inferior, thin shelled gourds that don’t make it out of the patch.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1656
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

I wish I would see more landlords using natural gourds. The natural cavity has a great feel and I think the martins love a deep gourd like these gourds. Great job and keep up the green thumb.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Thanks Dave. I'd use more if they lasted longer. I didn't see an tangible advantage to using them over large plastics. They probably do have less radiant heat through the walls than a plastic gourd does. I just wish the small 6" plastic gourds that I see in most all feed stores weren't sold.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1656
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Brad,
Here are the answers on painting gourds.
You can either visit this url: http://www.chuckspurplemartinpage.com/painting.htm
or visit my website and click on chuckspurplemartinpage in my links section of my website: www.iamartin.org
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

Those look pretty good Brad, very similar to the gourds I have. Genetics of the seeds are everything. The guy who developed the seeds I run spent 30 years in selection. I think gourd size is dependent on ferts and early germination

Here is how I get paint to stick. Step one is curing the gourds in a dry spot, seeds still inside, I like to leave 6-8" of stem for handling and curing which takes a good while - for me until the seeds and paper sound loose inside when shook. I scrape then wash the gourd skin with ajax and a coarse scrub pad and lotsa water. There is a nice smooth outer shell under there. A knife is a good way to scrape - but do it with water. Anything that will scrape off will flake off later.

After they are dry, you empty and build up as usual. I have been painting mine with all in one white outdoor, two coats.

And pass on the seeds.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

I meant in the previous post - and pass those seeds on. I have sent out seeds to anyone who has requested them with a SASE. Those gourds look very similar... with some of course that you would not keep seeds on.

Could you please post up a pic of examples on each strain of good shapes?
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

I disagree on fertility playing a positive role on gourd size. We don't row crop farm, but do raise cattle and hay so I'm pretty well versed in soil science. When an excess of Nitrogen is present in the soil gourds produce lots and lots of fruit and vines. I grew 3 gourd plants around a leaf compost bin one year and those 3 plants produced 127 gourds that cured with hard shells. That doesn't count the ones that grew but grew to late for the shell to mature. Not a single one of the gourds that I grew were as large as the gourd that I saved the seed from. It was a nice 10" gourd and the largest ones I grew were 6" gourds. Lots and lots of 6" gourds. The only nutrient that I've seen have a positive impact on gourds is Potassium. Adding lots of Potassium around the plants will produce a better quality shell. I had an old farmer tell me when he was a kid they use to grow their gourds where they'd cleared land and burned brush. Hardwood ashes are "Potash" which is Potassium. I tried putting out K to see if that was why his gourds were good way back when, and I believe that it was.

Ryan, I can't log in to that old email address. I haven't tried in a long while and can't log in and can't seem to reset it. If you'll post your email, I'll send you my address for you to send a SASE to. Same goes to anyone else. I'll have 1000's of seeds out of my old stock of gourds. The only other email address I have is my work email and I don't want to post it on a public forum.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Take the space out
Last edited by Ryan on Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

The backhoe bucket of chicken poop I put in my garden and the resulting gourds disagree, but still those are nice looking gourds you have. Just like the natural ones I put up, and the birds love them. My 60 gourds are lot of work... you have your hands full.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Can you go too big with the gourds? What's a perfect diameter to shoot for? I know theres not much control on fruit growth sizing, but just curious what's too big for a nesting gourd?
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Ryan wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:21 pm
Can you go too big with the gourds? What's a perfect diameter to shoot for? I know theres not much control on fruit growth sizing, but just curious what's too big for a nesting gourd?
I’ve used 15-16” gourds before. They were used but seemed to always be SY pairs. I don’t think there’s a real downside other than them catching a whole lot of wind.

The gourd patch that these were grown in had 2 tons of chicken litter applied 4 months prior to planting so much of the nitrogen would leech out. Also had potassium added as the plants grew. Heck what do I know? I’m only a farmer.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
PMDavid
Posts: 408
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

Hey there Brad, Dave has sent you a good method . And I can offer another as well. After whatever type of treatment you prefer is done...let dry. I scuffed mine really well with a 100 grit sanding sponge then applied a waterborne primer with a cup gun sprayer just holding it by the stem. The waterborne primer is an extra tough sticks to really slick surface type of primer. I then used acrylic latex semi gloss white ,two good coats and hung em in the shed to dry. This is their third year and they so far still look great. I also used some oil base zinizher stop satin primer,it also works well on hard to hold surfaces,then top coat with the acrylic latex. Sure wish I lived close cause those are some fine gourds,I’d love to have some of those man! Good luck to you this year.
PMDavid
Posts: 408
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

Hey brad , I tell ya what,if we could figure out how to get some of those fine gourds to me i’d gladly take of shipping and cost of gourds. Wonder what it’d cost to pile about a dozen in a big box and ship em? Why don’t you shoot me an email to ;
davidhsydneyh@icloud.com Let’s see if we can kick it around and see what we can com up with
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1480
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Brad,
It is interesting that Chris B. and you can grow such impressive gourds. Each of you has your own theory on Nitrogen vs. Potassium (Potash).
Both of you live relatively close to each other geographically since Marshall County, AL and Toney, AL are only 74 miles apart. You'll are within the same United State Hardiness Zone.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
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