How do you go from this...
First question was did I grow my own gourds? No, the gourds you see in the bottom picture were ones Mark bought for me at a local farm when I was decorating for fall when Country Sampler came. I was very lazy (too cheap) to go buy gourds and pumpkins last year. I was told that there would be pictures outside so I needed them in a hurry and told him to go buy some since I was stuck at work and they were coming the next day! EEEEEKKKK Truth be told Mark is not a creative guy. He admits it so I can say it. Anyway, after I told him what I wanted this is what I got. I don't like perfect. I like bumpy and warty. He did a great job picking them out.
Anyway, all I did was lay the gourds in my planter boxes to decorate. Nothing fancy. Well, the weather turned cold and this gal stayed inside. Fall turned to winter and the gourds were fine where they were. I would just clean them up this spring and throw them away. Yes I had gourds out for my Christmas decorating before you ask. LOL. Winter gave way to spring and it was time to do a little clean up. I had read awhile back that gourds can be placed on screens to dry or just leave them on the ground and they will dry there too. So, much to my surprise most of them had dried. They were black and moldy looking. I did have a couple that didn't make it. WARNING: The black mold on the gourds is toxic and can cause breathing issues!!!! Anyway, since I didn't take pictures of my process I found some on the internet that will help explain what I did.
First, I took a bucket and some bleach about a 1:4 ratio maybe a little more bleach than that and combined them OUTSIDE. I then took a couple of my gourds at a time and threw them in the solution and let them soak for about an hour. You will need to cover the top of the bucket with a damp cloth or weight down the gourds because they float. I turned them occasionally to be sure all sides got in the solution. I then used a kitchen scrubby like this to clean off the mold. I actually used one of the dish sponge scrubbers on mine. I could get into the cracks better. If you have an old toothbrush that would work great too!
NOT my picture....
I then rinsed them off and laid them on a towel to dry. I kept turning them over so all sides could dry. If you left them in the sun to dry I'm sure that would work great. I did not... I let them dry on my counter.
Some of my gourds were really moldy and I actually sprayed them with Tilex thinking it would remove some more of the mold. I really don't know if it did, but I'm sure it killed some more of the spores. LOL I scrubbed and scrubbed but because of the warts it was difficult to get in every crevice.
It did take some elbow grease to get some of the mold off and I do recommend using rubber gloves when you do it. I do not want anyone getting sick. I did not spray or put any kind of sealer on them but for extra protection from the spores you could. :-) Once dry decorate with them as you like!
So there you have it. Pretty easy right?