I have a growing fascination with gourds. Possibly the first vegetable to be cultivated by man, they have a huge number of uses. Not only can you eat them, but you can do all sorts of cool things with their dried shells. You can carve them, decorate them with paints, dyes, or even burn things on them (which is called pyrography apparently). You can make things like birdhouses, bottles, bowls, works of art, and even musical instruments, including didgeridoos.
I have managed to find a really good selection of seeds on TradeMe and I now have a variety of gourds to plant out in spring. I also got some giant pumpkin seeds as well, just for fun. I reckon feeding this variety on my home brewed fertiliser from my worm farm should produce something big :)
My new mission in life is now to grow a snake gourd big enough to make a 1-piece didgeridoo.
Another gardening experiment was born today. I got a dozen old car tires (not hard to come by, they almost begged you to take them away) which I intend to use as potato towers. I've heard of this idea somewhere but have not seen anyone try it. You plant a potato in a tire full of well composted dirt. As the potato plant gets taller you add another tire on top and more dirt, leaving just the top of the plant exposed. I'll 'grow' the tower 3 or 4 tires high. I figure this method should be an advantage because:
- it will require no digging
- being above ground and black the tires should raise the soil temperature significantly which is a huge advantage in this cold, frosty valley
- it will make harvesting the crop easy