At this time of year many farm markets are closing down until Spring. After the pumpkin and Christmas tree season is over, large gourds are on sale for next to nothing in our area. Recently, I bought two large goose neck gourds, and one apple gourd, for $1.00 each.
I already have two bird houses created with gourds hanging in my garden. If you look closely, you can see the swirl of twigs inside, brilliantly constructed by small birds.
I’m not sure if the babies made it to maturity. There are small chipmunk/squirrel bites around the entrance. We also had a wily black snake in that area of the garden this year. While I was happy to have the small rodent population kept in check, I once caught the four/five foot long snake hanging out in the pine trees. From that vantage point it would have been possible to get into the gourd bird houses. I will have to come up with a solution to the snake and chewing problem before the birds begin building nests again. (I’ll make sure to update with any results I find.)
I use bath puffs to hang the gourds for drying. When you cut the inner tie the puff opens up into a long tube.
Knot one end of the tube. Place your hand over the stem as you slide the gourd into the tube or the sharp edge will create holes. Knot the other end of the tube and hang your gourd on a hook outdoors. It will become moldy on the outside in a few weeks, and begin drying on the inside. This is normal.
Dried gourds are a natural and inexpensive material for creating crafts of all kinds. If you find a good sale give bird house-making a try.