One of my favorite summer annual vines is the gourd. It's a super easy plant to grow from seed. The vine's large leaves add interest to the garden and its fun fruit harvested at the end of the growing season can be used for decorating and crafts such as this birdhouse.
If you didn't plant gourds this year and want to try this project, look for them at your local farmer's market or grocery store this fall.
Fine grade sandpaper
Circular drill bit
Regular drill bit
Hot glue gun with glue sticks
Twine or thin wire to hang birdhouse
Dry. If your gourds are already dry move on to step 2. Gourds can be air-dried in a well-ventilated area like your garage. It may take as long as a month. You can tell they are dry when you can hear the seeds rattling inside.
Clean. If crust or mold develops during the drying process, just wash the gourds in warm soapy water with a steel wool pad.
Sand. Once the gourd dries out and you have washed them up, take a fine grade sandpaper and lightly brush off any rough edges.
Create an entry. Now that you have a clean, smooth gourd to work with it's time to make an entry for the birds. Use a drill with a circular bit to carve out a hole (about 1 ½ inches) that is large enough for birds to come and go.
Drill. Next change drill bits and drill in several holes on the bottom for drainage as well as a couple of holes on the top of the gourd for hanging the birdhouse and a hole under the "front door" for the perch.
Sand again. If you find any sharp edges sand those down at this time.
Clean house. Now once all of this is done you're ready to scrape out the insides using a stick or wooden spoon.
Add the perch. Insert a twig into the hole you drilled for the perch. I used a twig from a red twig dogwood. If it doesn't fit snugly secure it with hot glue.
Seal. Spray the gourd with a water seal. This will help to preserve the birdhouse for years to come.
Hang. Pull twine or fine wire through the holes in the top of the gourd and hang the birdhouse in a area that is easy for you to see but sheltered so the birds will be safe from predators.
Good to Know: Growing and Harvesting Gourds
Direct sow seeds in late spring or early summer after the danger of frost has passed.
Sow in full sun.
Gourds are ready to harvest when the stem turns brown and the outer shell turns hard.
Mature gourds will not be effected by frosts. Hard freezes may cause discoloration and will damage the seeds.
When cutting the gourd from the vine, get a few inches of stem as well.
Discard any that are immature, damaged or rotten.