Lagenaria siceraria. Large Fruited Gourds are commonly referred to as Hardshells, which may be crafted into whimsical, hanging bird houses. Closely related to Squash
, Gourds need lots of room to ramble and a hot growing site in full sunlight. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date
and transplant out into the garden. These crafty Gourds are not colorful but make up for it in an amazing range of fanciful shapes and sizes. Only harvest Hardshells after the vines have totally died back: frost and even freezes will not affect Hardshells. Cure thoroughly outdoors on pallets or screens until the Gourds are light and the seeds rattle inside the shells. Bee friendly. Deer resistant. Average seed life: 3 years.