Image of a group of gourds used for decoration

Gourds Mean Fall

They may be a warm-season crop, but gourds are often identified with autumn. One of the oldest cultivated crops, people have long grown gourds for their utility and beauty. The plant’s preference for a long growing season and temperate climate makes it a good crop for Kentucky farmers looking to diversify their farmers market offerings.

The large, thick-walled Lagenaria species made ideal utensils and bowls at one time. Today,          their value can be increased considerably by enhancing their surfaces with paintings, wood-       burnings, or carvings. A grower might expect anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 gourds per acre.
Luffas are harvested after they have completely dried on the vine. Their interiors can then be
removed and cut into utilitarian, vegetarian sponges.

The smaller, colorful Cucurbita pepos are closely related to pumpkins and squash. These are the ornamental gourds found in groceries and commonly used for fall decorations. A one-acre field could yield 20,000 to 30,000 gourds.
For more information about growing gourds, check out Center for Crop Diversification Crop Profile CCD-CP-137: