I grow spoon dipper and birdhouse gourds each season. I harvest them in the fall after the foliage has died back and dry them indoors, away from moisture. In the spring, the gourds should be very hard and the seeds should rattle around inside. I use a 1” drill bit and slowly drill a hole into one side of the gourd. I dump out the seeds—saving for planting—and my kids decorate them before we hang them in our trees.
HOW THIS BENEFITS YOUR GARDEN/ ORCHARD
1. Inviting birds to stick around all winter means they’ll be there already when bugs and pests make their first spring appearance.
2. Birds like sparrows love to snack on bag worms and coddling moth larvae. I hang these from my fruit trees to keep pests in check naturally.
3. When hung in your garden or growing spaces, birds are invited to stay and feed on cabbage worms, hornworms, and more. This simple effort gets kids involved in the garden, the orchard, and helps encourage native bird populations.
You can find more activities similar to this one in my family seasonal living series called The Little Homesteader.
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead® LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
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