A very interesting gourd that resembles a small crown. Vines can grow to 1.2-2.4 m (6-8’) long and produce many beautiful gourds of varying colors including orange, white, yellow, lime-green and dark-green, and they can be striped or bi-colored as well.
Gourd seedlings, as with squash seedlings, are tricky to transplant. It can be done if you are careful. The trick is not to disturb the roots too much. Start transplants at least 3-4 weeks before last spring frost. Sow 3 or 4 seeds per pot 2.5cm (1”) deep. When the seedlings are 5-7cm (2-3”) tall, select the strongest seedlings and thin to 2 plants per pot using scissors. Harden off seedlings gradually by cutting back on water and expose them to sunlight daily. Seedlings should have more than 2 to 3 true leaves prior to transplanting outside. Transplant after the last frost or once the soil has warmed up to at least 15-21˚C (60-70˚F). Plant 2 transplants per hill. Space hills 1.8-2.4m (6-8’) apart each way. If planting in rows space seedlings 61-91cm (24-36”) apart. Space rows 1.8-2.4m (6-8’) apart. Direct sow seeds into garden from May to mid-June or once soil temperatures have warmed up. Sow 3 to 4 seeds 2.5cm (1”) deep into hills that are 1.8-2.4m (6-8’) apart each way. Thin gourd seedlings at 2 per hill.
Height at Maturity: Plants can grow 45-60cm (18-24”) tall. Trailing vines can be 1.2-2.4 m (6-8’) long.
Days to Maturity: Long season, 95-110 days.
Watering: Shenot Crown of Thorns has regular water requirements. Water slowly with 2.5-5cm (1-2”) of water per week. Allow it to completely soak the soil 15-20cm (6-8”) deep. This will ensure good growth, whether vegetables are grown in single hills or wide rows. The amount of rain that falls during the week will help supplement how much you should water your garden. Soil should remain moist. Avoid getting water on the leaves to help control diseases. Water in the morning if possible to allow leaves to dry if they do get wet. This will help in preventing leaf diseases. Decrease watering later in the season to encourage fruit to mature.
Sun/Shade: Full Sun
Spacing after Thinning: Space transplant 2-3 plants per hill 1.8-2.4m (6-8’) apart, each way.
Additional Information Gourds are best harvested when the stems dry and turn brown. Try to harvest before a frost. This is a soft-skinned gourd that can be easily damaged by frost. To dry your gourds, they should be cleaned by wiping then with alcohol which will ensure the surface dries completely. Place the clean gourds in a dark, well-ventilated area for about a week. If any gourds show signs of decay or soft spots, remove them immediately. Do not allow other fruit to touch. After about a week, the outer skin of the gourd should be well dried. The second process is to cure the gourds and this can take about a month. Providing a warm environment will help the curing process and discourage decay. Keep in a dark, well-ventilated area. Check your gourds often and turn them so that your gourds will dry evenly. When you can hear the seeds rattle inside, your gourd is cured and ready for painting. Use acrylic paints on gourds.