05.04.2008

Luffa Gourd - The Home Grown Sponge

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Published in Crafts

Most people are genuinely surprised when I show them my luffa gourds growing on a vine or after I’ve harvested, dried and cleaned them for the year. They almost always do not know that this over priced store bought (for most) item is a vegetable you can grow on a trellis or fence in your own garden.

Luffa is the genus name of a group of gourds also known as vegetable sponges, dishcloth gourds, running okra, strainer vine, Chinese okra, California okra, and loofah. Two species are commonly grown in this country.  Angled luffa is L. acutangula, while the smooth-fruited version is L. cylindrica, or the same as L. aegyptica.Luffa is a vegetable that originally came fromIndia.

 

05.04.2008

Gourds for Birdhouses

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Published in Crafts

Bottle GourdsGourds make great birdhouses for several varieties of birds; bluebirds, wrens, woodpeckers, flycatchers, titmice, screech owls (think large gourds), kestrels, nuthatches and many more.Most commonly in the east (east of theRocky mountains), gourds are used for attracting purple martins.Purple martins love mosquitoes and therefore homeowners love the purple martin.

For example, the house wren needs a 1-inch entrance hole in a gourd 5 to 6 inches in diameter and prefer gourds hung in a shady area close to brush.

Dried and cured hard-shell gourds can be as tough as wooden birdhouses bought at the store.And they will last 15-20 years if properly preserved, painted and cared for each season

Items needed to make your own birdhouse: