Gourds, in all their fascinatingly unique shapes, are a member of the Cucurbitacex family. These fruits are used in a number of crafts, including painting the shells or hollowing out the insides and creating a gourd birdhouse. For those living in cooler climates, starting your gourds out inside, in pots, is the perfect way to ensure they will be ready for your garden once the risk of frost has passed.
Make a small chip in the hard, outer shell of each gourd seed with a small knife.
Soak the gourd seeds in warm water for 24 hours.
Moisten a paper towel and fold it into quarters.
Place the gourd seeds in a straight line atop the moistened paper towel. Lay the paper towel in a large plastic bag. A sealable freezer bag works well.
Set the plastic bag on a warm, flat surface in the light. A windowsill that receives sunlight throughout most of the day works well.
Plant the gourd seeds, three per 4-inch pot, when they sprout roots. Plant the seeds approximately 1 inch deep in good-quality top soil, with the roots pointed down or horizontal to the seed.
Place the pots in direct sunlight and keep the soil moist.
Transplant the small gourd plants into your outdoor garden when the risk of frost has passed and your plants have four leaves. Typically, it is safe to plant your gourds outside at the end of May or beginning of June.