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Harvest to Planting 23-24

Ready or not planting season is upon us. I just barely finished harvesting from last season and am already putting seeds in the ground. Time waits for no one so buckle up and get ready.

First, allow me to apologize for not updating my blog in a while. I have been told life is what happens while you make other plans. I believe it! It seems I have barely been able to catch my breath lately as life tends to be moving faster and I am trying to keep up.

Anyway, we're here and things are exciting.

Harvesting 2023

"You have to wait until after the May 10th cold spell"

Let me just say that there was absolutely nothing fun and exciting about most of the 2023 growing season. It was terrible from the start and it was well into July before it started to get any better.

From what I remember, it was exactly May 10th when I put my gourd seeds in the ground last year. I happily planted bottle gourds, bushel gourds, and dipper gourd seeds and anxiously waited for sun, water, and love to take over and make things happen. Apparently, Mother Nature didn't get the May 10th memo because the following week after planting we got a lot of rain and it turned cold and we even got a little snow.


So, that is how it started. My plants got a shock right out of the gate and most of them didn't make it. So, I re-planted and was met with another nightmare imposter, the cucumber beetle. They were really bad last year and killed off many of my new plants. So, I re-planted yet again. At this point, I was dealing with cucumber beetles still and bacteria in the soil issues. However, some of my vines from the first planting were strong and trudged on...and on...and on. Way up to the top of the nearest tree.

When all was said and done, I made out ok. I ended up with 36 gourds! That is pretty awesome given the challenges of the season and it was also about 10 more than last year. The only successful gourd type of the 2023 season was the dipper gourd, all long-handled style. All cleaned up and ready for paint.

Planting 2024

"Meanwhile, back at the ranch"

This planting season I decided to do a little something new. With the beetles and bacteria, I was in need of a new space. My sister in-law sent me an idea for a new trellis using fencing t-posts and cattle panels. I set about gathering the supplies I would need:

  • 4 Cattle panels 5'x16'

  • 12 Fencing t-posts

  • 1 Bag of fencing t-post clips

  • 1 Roll of galvanized wire

  • 1 Bag of stainless-steel zip ties

Thankfully I had some help with this project. My brother helped me haul the panels from the store and my cousins helped me put it together. It turned out fabulous! We made two sections leaving a gap through the center.

Getting Ready

We were building the trellis the week of the 'May 10th cold spell' plus we have been getting lots and lots of rain. While I waited for a suitable day, I gathered up my seeds and supplies. It will be a while before I can get a more suitable weed barrier. So, in the meantime, I put some cardboard over the grass to keep the grass and weeds from taking over.

Finally, on May 20th I put seeds in the dirt and my hopes have not waivered at all from last year's trials. I planted bottle, apple, bushel, and dipper gourds of various varieties. I have two trellis locations, 1 large pot on my front porch, and also 4 large cattle mineral tubs donated by my cousin. If you want to plant using a raised bed method; ask a local farmer if they have cattle mineral tubs. They are huge and work great! Oftentimes those tubs end up in a landfill. So, save your money on expensive large pots and see if you can score some mineral tubs.

Hard Work Pays Off

It has been a little over a week and I am happy to report that I have gourds growing in every location I planted them! So far, they look healthy too.

Hard-shell gourds have a long growing period. It will be into October before harvest time by my estimate. If all goes according to plan, that is. That's what's happening here at the Farm Shed. Thanks for reading and remember to farm your dreams and shed your fears.

Have a blessed day.

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