How to Make a Gourd Birdhouse

Learn how to make a gourd birdhouse. You can use dried hard-shelled gourds to make birdhouses for purple martins.
By Beverly Nord
August/September 2008
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How to make a gourd birdhouse. Large gourds make great birdhouses for purple martins.
Photo by Mitchell Nord
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Discover how to make a gourd birdhouse. Grow hard-shelled gourds in the summer and dry them in the fall to make purple martin birdhouses in the spring.

How to Make a Gourd Birdhouse

My friend Avi picked up a package of gourd seeds at the local garden shop this past spring. She just wanted something growing on the trellis in her back yard. She was feeling like Jack and the beanstalk when the vines started climbing on the roof of her house. It turns out that the gourds she planted were large enough for purple martin houses.

Here’s how you can create birdhouses from these large, hard-shelled gourds. When it is time to harvest the gourds, be careful not to cause bruising. Store the gourds in a dry, airy shed or garage. The gourds are dry when they lose all moisture, become light and the seeds can be heard rattling inside. The process may take several months, depending on the humidity. Make holes in the gourds by using a drill, jigsaw or utility knife. Hang the gourds high and in groups, as martins prefer communal living.

— Beverly Nord
Round Rock, Texas








Post a comment below.

 

LEGZ85
3/28/2011 11:20:09 AM
I hang my gourds on my front pourch all winter long and I got no mold. I only got the flaky skin on it. So i would try to hang them other than laying them down and hang them outside that way if it does rot you dont have a mess in your house and they always have fresh moving air.

LEGZ85
3/28/2011 11:19:04 AM
I hang my gourds on my front pourch all winter long and I got no mold. I only got the flaky skin on it. So i would try to hang them other than laying them down and hang them outside that way if it does rot you dont have a mess in your house and they always have fresh moving air.

LEGZ85
3/28/2011 11:18:10 AM
I hang my gourds on my front pourch all winter long and I got no mold. I only got the flaky skin on it. So i would try to hang them other than laying them down and hang them outside that way if it does rot you dont have a mess in your house and they always have fresh moving air.

Bethany_3
5/24/2009 9:30:17 PM
To help your gourds dry without rotting, rotate them periodically, don't lay them on a material that will promote rotting: cardboard. A wire rack would be an ideally ventilated base to help you dry your gourds without rotting. As the gourds dry they do get moldy. When they are dry, you can wash them with bleach water and that will take care of the mold and allow you to paint them if you like.

Katy Sullivan
5/21/2009 8:56:30 AM
How do you dry them witout having them rot? I have tried this a few times and every time they have rotted.

Fred Krampe
12/11/2008 9:41:18 AM
For purple martins, the American Gourd Society recommends a 10" gourd with a 2.5" opening. (Different openings attract different birds) Also, set the opening higher on the gourd as birds like to hop down and it may prevent young ones from falling out. Be sure to drill some .25" drainage holes in the bottom.








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