Grebjack, you could engrave them (Dremel) or just polish them with wax or even coat them with shellack or something like it. They are beautiful natural. I have bought a couple of them and let the skin rot on top; the mold left some really cool marks and added charm. The critter eating my garden has not gotten to this vine yet; knocking on wood I can get the fence up first.
i've got seeds for birdhouse gourds & also bushel basket gourds. haven't gotten them planted yet. we have a loooonnnngg growing season here in North Florida, so i'm pretty sure i can still plant them. maybe i'll get to it soon, now that the squash & zukes are done.
I've grown luffas too. I've heard they're tasty when they're young and tender, but I haven't tried that. I grew these little gourds called batwings one year - I really like them, but I'm not much of a decorator, and since I couldn't eat them, I didn't see the point of growing them again. Maybe I should learn to decorate.
I am trying luffa gourds this year. They have taken a long time to sprout, then got eaten by bunnies I think. Fence is now up and I am trying them again. Apparently just letting them dry when they are done growing, the skin will just rub off and you can use them as bath scrubs (luffa sponge) so, while not edible, still potentially useful.
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I do square foot gardening and use one square where it comes out of and will let it run into the grass. We'll see how it goes :) I ran out of vertical space which would have used less space. Have you thought of vertical space or you're already out of it like I am :)
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I also make some birdhouses out of gourds. Depending on the types of gourds you grow, there are a number of thing you can do with them. On some of the round or apple shaped gourds I have cut around the top to make it into a lid and use them for storing various things.
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