Happy Gourd Planting – Apparently Not In This Garden

By Nikki Tilley | November 13, 2021
Image by PlazacCameraman
by Nikki Tilley
November 13, 2021

Oftentimes people just assume that if you’re a gardener you can grow anything. Well, that’s not always the case. There is always a plant or two that defies all logic. Somehow, with every common-sense approach taken, failure is nearly certain. For me, it is gourds. I fail at gourd planting every darn time.

I Cannot Grow Gourds in the Garden

“They’re shapely and they’re kooky, some are even spooky but they’re all fun to grow!” This is how we describe gourds on Gardening Know How. I absolutely love the variety found within ornamental gourd plants. They’re great for autumn décor. I’ve even written about growing and caring for these plants in years past. So, I take no pleasure in admitting that I just can’t, for the life of me, get a gourd to successfully grow in my garden, at least not long enough to harvest any.

Gourds prefer warm temperatures. They love lots of sun with rich, well-draining soil and plenty of space. One would think that by growing their pumpkin and squash relatives, or even other cucurbits like cucumbers and melons, you could grow gourd plants just as well. Apparently, not in my garden! 

Something always goes wrong. If it’s not devoured early on by something, my gourd plant succumbs to powdery mildew. When it actually looks healthy and produces well, the fruit withers and drops off. This one really stumps me since poor pollination is one of the more common reasons for this, but I have plenty of pollinators in the garden. It could also be an issue with calcium or some other nutrient deficiency. If I’m able to get any fruit to survive its early stage, it typically ends up rotting later or the vines dry up and wither away, some type of fungus no doubt. On occasion, I’ll get some to grow, only to lose them to wild animals – I think it’s the squirrels. It’s always something. Every. Single. Time.

How can something so seemingly easy to grow defeat me this way? I’m supposed to be a gardener after all, right? Truth is, even garden experts fail too. Sometimes miserably. I may never know why it is that successful gourd planting eludes me. But I won’t give up. One day I’ll conquer this “easy growing” plant.

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