Spring Arrives

September 1 this week marked the calendar beginning of Spring, and the slight warming of the air is encouraging lots of plants to start their spring growth. It’s time to get those hue/gourd seeds growing! It won’t be warm enough for gourd plants to be out in the garden until October, when all the danger of frost is past, but the seeds can be soaked overnight and then sprouted inside before then.

gourd shoots

The best sprouting place is a warm hot-water cupboard in a container with damp paper towels. just make sure the towels don’t dry out. Your seeds will have little shoots popping out within a few days. As soon as they sprout, get them into some nice clean damp seed-raising mix; one seed per partition (eg in a six-part cell-pack).

sprouting gourds

Within a week, the first two seed-leaves will appear. At this stage, the seedlings need protection from slugs and snails. They need warmth, light and moisture. Too much water will make the stalks rot. Keep them growing inside like this until the true leaves have appeared.Plant out in the garden when the seedling has about 4-6 true leaves

If it’s still too cold where you live, transplant your hue / gourd into a big pot and keep it in a sheltered place.

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Celebration of the Hue Harvest

Kia ora ra,
Greetings to all the growers of hue (gourds) over the 2014-15 growing season. What a dry and challenging summer it was! Hopefully you managed to successfully get some gourds growing in your school and home gardens. Now that the harvesting is complete, it’s time to bring  your best gourds in the Whanganui Regional Museum and show them off to everyone else!
 
We will decide on prizes for all kinds of gourds on Thursday 18 June, between12.30 and 2.30. There will be lots of Puanga activities happening too, so come along and join in the celebration! If you want to bring your gourds in earlier, you are most welcome. Just label them and pack them in a box and deliver to the front desk of the Museum. To make sure you get your precious taonga back (with the prize you deserve, of course!) put a label sticker underneath each hue/ gourd with your name and contact phone number.
 
Please spread this message to anyone else you know who has been growing gourds this year. We hope to see you all there!
 

Fruit on the Vine

Summer warmth and rain will be producing rampant growth on the gourd vines all around the region. Gourd growers will be noticing the growth of the fruit from below all the female flowers. The male flowers produce pollen, but no fruit. So, if you seem to have lots and lots of flowers but not many young gourds forming, it means you have mainly male flowers. 

You can intervene in nature to change the size of your gourds and the numbers of fruit that form. If you want your fruit to grow large, cut off the end of the vine-branch that lies beyond your young gourd fruit, so that the all the growth goes into the one fruit, instead of into forming more stems, leaves and extra fruit.

If you want lots and lots of gourds, chop the end off the long vine, so that it grows more side branches. These are called laterals, and they produce the fruit.

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Gourd fruit with withered flower, and new female flower-bud forming

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Aramoho Playcentre’s baby gourd