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Birdhouse Gourds

 Birdhouse Gourds

If you’re looking to add a little fun and whimsy to your garden this year consider growing a few birdhouse gourds.  

Last year we grew about ten vines and were blessed with an abundance of fruit.  

 Green Birdhouse Gourds

Once they reached maturity and the vines began to wither and turn brown, we collected the gourds and placed them in the attic of our barn for the winter.

Over the past few months the lime green skin of the gourds has molded and shrunk away leaving a hard, weather proof exterior.  

Drilled Hole in Gourd

To turn the gourds into birdhouses, we simply drilled a hole in the large bulbus bottom using a hole cut drill bit. The interior has fibrous sections that can be pushed back if they happen to be blocking the entrance hole. You can leave the seeds, I’ve heard the birds will eat them as they clear space to make room for a nest.   

Two Gourds

Then we sanded any bits of dry, flaky skin to smooth the surface of the gourd.  

 Hole for Hanging

Then drilled a hole for hanging.  

 Gourd Stem

I left the bits of curly stem as added character.   


You can leave them as is, or seal with a stain or clear coat. They can even be painted.  

Applying Stain

I decided to use some stain we had lying around from an earlier project. I think it helped enhance the contrasting pattern of the gourd and almost gives it a pottery look.  

 Finished Gourd

Birdhouse gourds make wonderful presents to the gardener or bird lover in your life. I plan on giving one to my mom as a Mother’s Day present. 

To see what else we have growing, visit our farm blog at Iron Oak Farm.   

jennifer sartell
5/1/2013 1:42:29 PM

Thanks!!! Nope, it just shrunk up and got really dry like flakes of paper.

jennifer sartell
5/1/2013 1:41:51 PM

Oh, I bet that was beautiful! I really like how they looked so much like pottery in the end. They would make a beautiful container for lots of things...hmmm now you've got me thinking ;)

cindy murphy
5/1/2013 1:07:25 PM

Beautiful, Jennifer. Last fall, I found another use for birdhouse gourds - we had gobs of them at the nursery, given to us by a customer a couple of years ago, and since gathering dust in the barn. I'd signed up for a few holiday bazaars to sell table arrangements - the gourds (the ones that sat flat) made wonderful containers for fresh greens, berries, and such. My husband cut the necks off of some, creating bowls; others with very large bulbous bottoms, he cut as you would for a birdhouse, but with a larger hole closer to the neck, so that when it would still sit upright when the arrangement was added. We sprayed them with shellac, then I fit them with plastic liners (deli containers were a perfect fit), and filled the containers with Oasis (floral foam you wet for fresh arrangements). For the Thanksgiving bazaar, the arrangements included juniper (a nice, bulky filler), fresh sage, dried wheat stalks and teasel, mini-gourds, and mini Indian corn. Christmas arrangements included fresh pine, spruce, juniper, holly, winterberry, and pine cones. They sold very well, and I may even do it again next year......once I forget how much work it was, and the mess left in my kitchen where I assembled everything.

michelle langefeld
5/1/2013 12:32:34 PM

Didn't you have to soak the gourds to get the outside skin off? Turned out really nice

jennifer sartell
5/1/2013 3:11:00 AM

Thanks Nebraska Dave! :)

nebraska dave
5/1/2013 12:59:12 AM

Jennifer, great idea for the use o gourds. I hadn't thought of just leaving the seeds inside for the birds to eat. What a great idea to let the birds clean out the inside of the gourd. Have a great gourd birdhouse day in the garden.