Gourd vines need plenty of water on a consistent basis to produce large, full gourd fruits. You need to make sure the plants receive this water on a somewhat regular, weekly basis from seed to gourd harvest. During these warmer months, try to make sure the gourd plants receive the equivalent of one inch of water over the entire gourd planting. Watering plants is achieved through rainfall and when needed, irrigation. As an example, if your gourd plants cover an area of 250 square feet, you will make sure that cumulatively the plants receive, (1 / 12 feet)(250 square feet)(7.481 gallons / 1 cubic foot) = 156 gallons weekly. It is very important for gourd vines to receive this water when the daily high temperatures begin to consistently stay at 85° Fahrenheit and above.
Gourd vines can be watered directly using overhead sprinklers, drip irrigation or simply with watering cans. Drip irrigation is an ideal method which avoids getting plant leaves wet which can leave the plant susceptible to diseases like Powdery Mildew which can be especially present when plants are closely spaced and there is little airflow between them. It is best that you are watering plants earlier in the day and not evenings when plants may remain wet during cool, damp nights. Both hard shell gourds and ornamental gourds love the heat and grow well in it but they need plenty of water applied in the right way at the right time to grow healthy and produce good gourd fruits.
Give plenty of good nutrients to your gourd vines. If you have had a soil test performed then you should follow the nutrient recommendations to add to your soil and in doing so, you will be in a good position to yield a full, abundant gourd harvest. Even if you did not have a soil test performed you could just follow a generalized fertilizer program. Use a balanced granular fertilizer such as a 10:10:10 or 17:17:17, in conjunction with liquid fish fertilizer and liquid Miracle Grow through out the season, but hold off on applications as soon as you see female flowers begin to form and do not resume until you have a confirmed 3 to 4 fruit sets that are beginning to develop. When fertilizing plants always follow fertilizer application recommendations to avoid plant injury. A good rule of thumb when applying fertilizer is to apply half as much twice as often, this will help reduce the chances of burning your plants or causing injury.
RESOURCES / REFERENCES:
Grassbaugh, Elaine, Metzger, Susan & Riofrio, Marianne. Growing and Curing Gourds in the Home Garden, HYG-1630-96. Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, Horticulture and Crop Science.
Retrieved from: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1630.html
Mary Ann Hansen, Extension Plant Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Virginia Tech. Virginia Cooperative Extension,
Powdery Mildew of Cucurbits, 450-710.
Retrieved from: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/450/450-710/450-710.html