hey sara -
you're right - if they aren't brown now, they might not be mature - but the first frost usually isn't all that hard, and so what's left in the plant itself can still be sucked into the gourds. be patient. there's nothing worse that picking gourds early and having them all rot in february. some will anyway, but you might be surprised at what you'll get if you just leave them sit...good luck!!
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Sara Grace <saragrace38@...> wrote:
> Thank you, Terri! This is very helpful.
> You say the stem should be completely brown. If it isn't brown now, will it
> turn brown after the frost??? I don't think I have any brown stems at all!
> I would hate to think I have no mature gourds, but it's certainly
> possible. Many germinated slowly, and we've had a very cool summer...
> On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:17 PM, ter <thegourdgirl@...> wrote:
> > Hi Sara - No need to panic - First frost is a good thing! My husband's been
> > a gourd farmer for 19 years here in Wisconsin and he's pretty sure that what
> > he does is the best thing to do for this weather. Growing in different
> > climates requires different actions. So -If you're growing ornamental
> > gourds, those are the little cutsie green and yellow fellows that you often
> > see at this time of year - and you want to keep the color as long as
> > possible, then pick them now. They should be ready.
> > For hardshell gourds you should leave them on the vine until they've gone
> > through one good frost. We leave ours in the field all winter. Sometimes
> > we'll pick them and put them up on pallets, but we definitely leave them
> > outside. If the gourd is mature, the weather won't bother it. If you're
> > going to pick them, then you want to make sure that the stem is completely
> > brown, inside and out, when you do. This is how you tell if it's ready to
> > pick. That doesn't necessarily mean the gourd is mature - if it was
> > pollenated late in the season it might not have had time to mature, but if
> > the stem's completely brown, it's not going to get any more mature than it
> > already is...so pick or don't pick, it won't matter. Mice are another issue.
> > If you don't have pets to worry about, and you bring your gourds inside, you
> > can put moth balls around them. Or they say dryer sheets work, too. I know
> > some people who hang their gourds in huge netting in their barns and garages
> > to make them less accessible. We keep ours in the barns and don't have much
> > of a problem, but we also have dogs and a cat. Maybe someone else on this
> > site has a mouse solution!
> > Hope this helps! And welcome to the Wisconsin Gourd Society -- Hope to see
> > you at the fall gathering on October 10 in Blue Mounds...
> > terri
> > --- In email@example.com<wisconsingourdsociety%40yahoogroups.com>,
> > "saragrace38" <saragrace38@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Help! I've read lots of conflicting info on when and how to harvest the
> > gourds. Leave them in the field, bring them in, etc. The first frost,
> > possible freeze is imminent. I've been wanting to let them grow as long as I
> > can. When do I cut them? How do I tell which ones are mature? Once cut,
> > leave out or bring in somewhere? How do you keep mice from eating while
> > curing?
> > > Any help appreciated.
> > > Thanks!
> > > Sara
> > >