Grow Your Own Birdhouses

Grow Your Own Birdhouses

Bottle gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) are easy to grow on fences or trellises, and once dried they make an ideal home for purple martins, swallows, chickadees and wrens.

Although gourds can be grown in hills as you would grow squash and pumpkin, gourds that are left lying on the ground will flatten on one side and may be susceptible to rot. If you prefer to grow them in hills, provide several inches of hay as a mulch to keep the gourds off the ground. Bottle gourds will tolerate a light frost, so allow them to dry on the vine as long as possible. Once harvested, they will need a cool, dry place to finish drying, which may take several months. They are completely dry when you can hear the seeds rattle inside when you shake them.

To fashion you birdhouse, drill an entry hole 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Smaller holes will accommodate small birds such as wrens, while a larger hole will allow larger birds such as martins to take up residence. You should also drill a few tiny holes in the bottom of the gourd for drainage. Drill two holes in the top, and thread a cord through them for hanging your birdhouse. Untreated birdhouses will last up to two years. For a longer lasting birdhouse, add a coat of varnish.

Easy to Build Birdhouses
This booklet contains plans for building nextboxes for several species of birds, including robins, eastern phoebes, barn swallows, chickadees, titmice, downy woodpeckers, nuthaches, wrens, wood ducks, kestrels, screech owls, and more.

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