Hot dry summer weather has finally arrived in Whanganui, after a rainy December and a windy January. Gourd plants may need watering over the next few weeks. Check the soil under your plants. If it is dry, give the plants a full bucket of water each, around the roots. If the leaves begin to wilt, your plant needs urgent watering!
Gourd plants have an amazing ability to grow and thrive when they have the right conditions. Every time I visit the gourd garden, the vines are spreading further; taking over a stump, climbing up trees, and heading off across the wood stack.
You can discipline the plants by un-tangling the clinging tendrils and moving the vines around to point in the direction you actually want them to grow, or you can chop the growing tip off the vines before they take over your back garden. It won’t harm the plant, and will ensure more of that growing energy goes into the rest of your plant and into the fruit.
We are finally enjoying warm sunny summery weather here, and the amazing gourd flower display continues. They look especially lovely in the evening. As it grows dark, the delicate white flowers look as if they are floating in mid-air.
You might notice bumblebees going form flower to flower doing the important business of pollination. Under the spreading leaves of the vines, look for all the small green fruit which have formed and will now spend the rest of the summer getting bigger.
At this young stage, the gourd fruit are still tender and can be eaten. However, if you are growing your gourds for drying, leave them to grow until the vines die off in autumn.