In This Issue: Spring is right around the corner and the birds are beginning to nest, the tops of the garlic are starting

to break through the wet soil and the days are getting longer.


We have owned Northern Dipper for three months now and it has been an exciting time.  We have signed up for the "400" Market in Barrie and have met many people who are happy that we will be available to them every weekend with a large selection of gourds and supplies. The seed sales have been brisk; we love the fact that so many people are going to grow this beautiful plant this upcoming summer. Plus we are getting ready for Easter. We pulled the photo of the gourd ducklings from the Internet...they are so cute we could not resist!


In this issue we have an article on growing gourds, more specifically on seed germination. This article will be of particular interest to first time growers. We also have mail

and our usual trivia so pull up a chair and relax with this

March issue of Gourd Fever.

The 400 Market - Visit Northern Dipper

at Booth 250


Lori and John, the new owners of Northern Dipper, have secured themselves a booth at the 400 Market. This market has been around since 1986 and began as a flea and farmers market to service Simcoe County. It also hoped to draw traffic from the 400 Highway. Since that time it has grown to 105,000 square feet and is now a mix of high-end merchandise as well as possessing that old favorite, merchandise that would fall into the "flea market" realm.

Lori and John will be there with gourds, seeds and other gourd related products. Now is the perfect time to pick up some raw gourds and craft them into birdhouses. Whether decorated or plain houses, there is nothing nicer than sitting there with a cup of coffee in the morning watching mom and dad hunt for food while the babies sit there crying out 'more mom, more!'

So stop buy Booth 250 to meet Lori and John and while you are at it, check out the rest of the market too. Oh yes, one more great place to visit is the Antique Market directly next door. Without a doubt the 400 Market will quickly turn into a family filled one day event. 

The Joy of Gourd Growing: Gourd Tips For The Home Gardener


Gourds are fun to grow and are easy once you get through the germination stage. Here is some information about gourds and some tips on getting those seeds going. 

Characteristics of a Gourd Plant

- A large leaved, vigorous vine that can reach 10 - 15 feet. They are natural climbers and are lovely when grown along a fence or up a strong trellis.

- Gourds can also be grown along the ground...just remember they take quite a bit of space. (When growing heavy, large gourds such as Bushels or Kettles always grow along the ground.)

- They have beautiful white night-blooming flowers.

- Gourds require lots of heat and take around 120  days to grow.


- Start your seeds inside at the beginning of April.

- Plenty of sun.

- Well-fertilized soil.

- Lots of water.

The Planting Of The Seeds

- As stated gourd seeds are a woody seed. Some growers make it a practice to trim the shoulders of the seed before soaking. If you do take this route just be careful not to cut too deeply. For this job nail clippers are perfect.

- Fill 4" peat pots with a good-quality potting soil. Pro-Mix is the ideal medium to use for this purpose as it is light. (Do not use soil from your garden as it may be full of insects or weed seeds.) Pack down and lightly water if using Pro-Mix.  Do not over-satuate.

- Insert 2 seeds about 1/2 inch deep. Plant with the pointed end up. Lightly water and place in a warm, sunny window, under lights or in a heated greenhouse. Small window greenhouses are available at places like Lee Valley, Home Hardware or Home Depot.


- Keep your seeds watered, warm and above all, be patient. Gourd seeds, depending on the variety, can be slow to germinate. Once they come up however they will grow like gang-busters.

Ornamental Gourds

- Ornamental gourds and minis are lovely when planted in containers. Build a small trellis or use chicken wire for the vines to grow up. The vines of ornamental gourds and minis are not as thick as the hard-shell gourds and are easy to control. The flowers are large, yellow and day-blooming. These gourds are fabulous for children's projects and they will have gourds to paint after all have been harvested and dried in the fall. 

Out Of The Mailbag

Hi Lori and John,

Congratulations on your new business. We have been buying gourds from Northern Dipper for quite a few years now and have attended workshops many times over which were always great. As a matter of fact I remember going to a gourd festival that was put on by Northern Dipper. There were scores of people, lots of gourd action and a band. What a good time we had.


Good luck to you. It will be interesting to see where you take Northern Dipper.

                                   Leah and Kelsey Paquette



Hello there,

Welcome to Northern Dipper. I have been getting the newsletter for a long time now and love it but I live in the US so therefore don't buy gourds from you. I do feel I know you though. I spend quite a bit of time on the Internet looking at gourd art and thought you may like this photo to welcome in Easter. All the best to you and your new adventure.

                  Theresa Crompton - Long Beach, CA 

"Other Stuff" - The sOccket  



Here is soccer's newest utility ball and it is a brilliant idea. It is called the sOccket and it generates and stores energy. All that is required is that players kick the ball for 15 minutes on the field and then at home, the ball has stored enough energy to power a small lamp for 3 hours. This ball would be invaluable in developing countries where kerosene, a leading cause of respiratory illnesses and fires, is used on a regular basis.


This marvelous invention was the brainchild of a group of Harvard students. The project is funded by the Clinton Global Initiative University and the Wal-mart Foundation. In the US it is being sold as a high-end cell phone charger and profits are being used to provide low cost balls to Third World Nations.


To learn more about the sOccket click here:  

Looking Ahead: June 2017

June - the summer is coming on strong, school is almost out, vacations are being planned and we will be happy. Out in the gourd garden the vines are growing rapidly and in the vegetable gardens, the tomatoes are beginning to flower. Mmmm, we can almost taste those juicy red tomatoes now!

In our June issue we will be bringing you an incredibly talented featured artist, an update on where we are taking Northern Dipper and an article on gourd growing. Pollination will be the main topic but there will be other tips as well. We want all of you to end up with a bountiful crop.

Take care everyone, maybe we will see you at the 400 Market (make sure to seek us out at Booth 250 and introduce yourself), see you soon.

                                                  Lori and John Chalmers

PS Ideas, comments, photos! Send them our way at
















Volume 13, Number 125 


In this issue:

The 400 Market: Visit Northern Dipper In Booth 250 

The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper

The Joy of Growing Gourds: Seed Germination

Out of the Mailbag

Gourd Sightings and Trivia 

  The Bulletin Board

 Gourd Seeds Available! 

Our seeds are top-rated and are sourced from reputable seed growers. They have gone through germination testing. Each packet contains between 10-12 seeds.

For details on varieties click here: 


The 400 Market 

Northern Dipper can be found in

Booth 250



Saturdays & Sundays 9am - 5 pm


The Northern Dipper Booth # 250

at the 400 Market



This market is located just south of Barrie, Ontario off Hwy 400, Exit 85 - Innisfil Beach Road Exit. There is a map on the 400 Market website.


For details click here:

 The Joy of Gourd Growing

Growing Tips For The Home Gardener


 Amazing to think that you can end up with this by planting a little seed. This photo was sent in by Fiona in 2016.

Gourd seeds are very woody. Soak them in water for 24 hours before planting to soften them up.

The shoulders of the seed being trimmed.

This is a home-made pot made from newspaper. For gourds it can be made larger and only one seed per pot would be planted. Like peat pots, when it comes time to plant, the paper pot can be planted right along with the seedlings.

Gourd Sighting 

 These gourd balls were spotted at the Toronto Zoo in the gift shop. They are from Africa. I love the little beaded animals that sit beside the gourds. 

 It's A Dog's Life

 OK I admit it. I am addicted to dog shows and the king of shows for me is the Westminster Dog Show. It started in New York in 1877 with origins belonging to a group of sporting gentlemen. Since that time it has grown in both size and reputation and is known as one of the best dog shows in the world.

This year the Best of Show belongs to a German Shepard named Rumor. He's a magnificent looking animal as are all the runners up. Check out the video on the following website.


 Music Pick Of The Month


The Artist: Branford Marsalis


The Songs:

The Nearness of You

 The Ruby and The Pearl

To learn more click here:


Published by Pam Grossi 

Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7 

Northern Dipper 
Simcoe County, Barrie Area
Ontario, Canada
Phone: 705-817-8000 

© Northern Dipper. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be used in any form without prior written permission from the authors.


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