Most children and as far as that goes, most older (adults) enjoy growing gourds. Gourds can be used in many ways. Large gourds for birdhouses, crafts (dried, cut, sawed, glued into lions, turtles, etc.) or birdhouse gourds can even be painted to look like people. Smaller ones can be painted or used for crafts or fall decorations. PLANTING; Fertile, well drained soil is best. In late spring or beginning summer, till up soil. Enrich with compost or fertilizer. Place seeds 1/2-1″ deep, 6-8″ apart in a row spacing of 4-5′. Keep weed free and control insects, like cucumber beetle with Sevin or Eight dust or spray. For squash bugs use Triple action plus. HARVEST; When gourds are fully matured and firm, not soft, cut from vine. Wash with alcohol, chlorine or vinegar to kill any bacteria that may spoil gourds. Use for fall decorations or let dry in a cool, dry place for 6-12 weeks until dry and seeds are loose inside of gourd. Scrape off old dried skin by using a brush and dish soap. Let dry. Paint and use for birdhouses or crafts.