One never can tell what life will throw at you next, the best you can do is catch what you can and move on. That’s pretty much how gourd farming has turned out here on Deberosa.
Farming anything in the Blue Ridge mountains of Southwest Virginia presents it’s own challenges far different than those encountered on the Olympic Peninsula.
Water is a constant concern so methods of catching and storing water have become important.
Insects are plentiful – from Marmorated Stink bugs which dessimate many kinds of crops to Potato beetles, Japanese beetles and a host of other creepy crawlies!
Deer!!! A constant menace to any garden. What they don’t eat they tear apart scraping velvet off of their antlers. They are plentiful and fearless.
In the last 10 years of experimenting, I’ve hit upon the crop for me. Gourds! With the old farmhouse converted to a crafting workshop, I’ve discovered that DEER HATE GOURDS!!! They will walk through a gourd patch and eat the weeds but not touch the gourds! STINK BUGS HATE GOURDS! I planted a few small hills of a small pumpkin in the middle of my gourd patch – they are ruined. The gourds are not touched! Gourds don’t “go bad”. Once they are dry – by leaving them sit in the field all winter – they are like wood. Gourds are light in weight once dry, so easy to transport to sell. Gourds can be transformed into all kinds of arts and crafts that people love. Once established gourds need far less water than most crops and love the heat of direct sun in the summer. Plus no one else bothers with gourds in the area!
I’m out of my gourd about gourds!
Gourd bird houses ready for a home.