Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Birdhouse Gourds

I have two birdhouse gourd vines growing along my garden fence. I got the seeds at the last February's Bay Area Seed Interchange Library's (BASIL) annual hoedown and seed exchange--(an evening field trip with Zoey and Lily).

It was a perfect seed-exchange moment. As I picked them up, the woman who collected them was standing next to me and said, "I live in Oakland and I've tried to grow a lot of birdhouse gourds--these are the only ones that have worked. The gourds are beautiful. To dry them you'll need to put them in a dark warm place--I have them over my stove--and let them completely dry out. It will take all winter and they'll get nasty looking as the outer skin pulls off. Then in the spring they'll be ready!"

These instructions aren't as complete as what I've found since then--but it was an astonishing moment--these seeds are from an Oakland garden! Collected by the woman who is talking to me! She is telling me how to dry them! She is a helping me.

The vines are important (even symbolic) for other reasons:
-They are among the first plants I've successfully grown from seed
-They are growing along the fence at my garden which makes me think of them as for me and the larger neighborhood
-The BASIL seed exchange is the first time I really thought about collecting my own seeds
-They are beautiful

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