Lagenaria siceraria, commonly known as bottle gourds, are vining plants that grow easily on the ground, or climbing a fence or trellis. The bottle gourd has quite an interesting history when early civilizations used the dried gourds for all kinds of containers. The gourds come in many sizes, shapes and colors from dark green to off white. The popular use for the gourds in recent times has been to make bird houses. They are dried, drilled and painted to create attractive homes for martins, wrens and many other birds. Because these gourds need a long growing season, they are hardy in USDA planting zones 7 and warmer.
Choose a location that is sunny and has good drainage. If you have a location that is suitable and near a fence, the vines will climb the fence and save you from installing a trellis. Plan planting for spring when all threat of frost is gone and the soil has warmed and dried out a bit.
Remove all grass, weeds and stones from the garden bed. Place an inch of composted manure on top of the bed and work it into the soil. This can be done with a hoe or you may want to use a tiller.
Plant seeds 2 feet apart from each other in rows 5 feet apart. If you are not next to a fence install a trellis or arbor immediately after planting, so you do not disturb growing roots. You may also allow the vines to run on the ground; however the gourds will have a flat, dark side where they lay on the ground.
Water the soil completely immediately after planting. Keep the seeds moist for the first 2 weeks, then cut back watering to once a week if there is no rain. More water may be needed during very hot, dry or windy weather.
Apply a side dressing of 3 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of garden when the vines start to run. Water the fertilizer into the ground well.
Mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and to keep weeds from growing. If you did not install a trellis or plant near a fence, keep the vines above the mulch so the gourds won't be sitting directly on the ground.