Every year, something which we did not plant sprouts and grows in our garden. If we cannot identify it, we are tolerant to watch what it develops into. Most of the time, these are squash of various sorts, zucchini to pumpkins, from seed which the ducks and goats missed. A half a dozen years ago, the plants were currant tomatoes from a failed experiment at growing them in hanging baskets. We now have a dedicated section of the garden in which they sprout every year. Last year, the mystery plant turned out be gourds.
They grew out from our pea and bean hills, crossed a path, took over another section of peas, and climbed a fence. By the end of the season, we counted about 18 gourds. A handful were not fully ripe by frost. We pitched those for the wildlife to consume. Thirteen we harvested, brought inside for the winter, dried by the wood stove, then scaped and sanded in late winter.
As the birds began to migrate back through our mountains, I drilled 2″ holes in the gourd’s sides, painted sunflowers on them, and spray painted them with clear gloss for protection.
One hangs in our yard. Others have been distributed for Mother’s Day (okay, so our mothers could not stand waiting a week to open the boxes we sent them early). A couple of friends have a new home for birds. We’ll check the list to see who gets the remaining birdhouses.
Of course, each gourd had hands-ful of seeds, which I tossed out along the edge of the forest. We’ll see how many birdhouses we have next year…. new decorative pattern.