Gourd Fever Back Issues

 artists, growtips, info & more

September – Back to school and the world returns to a more normal routine. The subtle changes in the season are apparent with the migrating geese overhead and the slow decrease in the nighttime temperatures. Here in rural Ontario, there are large crews in the fields harvesting tomatoes, cabbages and soon pumpkins. At Northern Dipper the gourds are well hidden under the thick vines and the occasional bank of weeds. They are in the last 2 months of maturing and at this point we just leave Mother Nature to do her thing.



 White Egg Minis – Vines are dying off as they only take 70 days to mature. Do not harvest minis until the stems are brown.


September is also the month where people start getting back to crafting and art. With Halloween right around the corner and then Christmas, gourds are the perfect gift for a friend, mother, father or the hard to buy for. It is stated in the Marvin Johnson Gourd Museum in Fuqua Varina, NC

“There is an old legend that says

If you give or receive a gourd…

With it goes all the best in life…

Health, happiness and other good things."


(Quote taken from “The Decorated Gourd” by Dyan Mai Peterson) For more info click here.



Magical Blue Dragon by Artist Diana Stahle

Blue bowl from the Song Dynasty. During this period porcelain develops as an important ceramic product. Gourds were used earlier than this in Chinese history. For more details on the Song Dynasty click here.


Gourds In History

Here is an interesting website on how gourds played a significant role in Chinese agricultural society. This site discusses everything from food to medicine to making weapons – all from gourds!  For more info click here.


Tutorial: Decorative Swan Gourd

This tutorial was written by Sue Bonifacio, a Niagara resident whose passion in art includes painting, ink drawings, gourds and gardening. Sue began using gourds as her canvas over 2 years ago but has been creating art for more than 30 years. She is a self-taught and directed artist who enjoys trying new and creative ways of expressing her talents. Discovering gourds as a canvas has really allowed her to explore new and exciting paths. Most of her work is inspired by Mexican art.


Sue is a member of the Canadian Gourd Society and she does a few select shows each year. Coming up is Heritage Days, October 1, 2005 at the Christian College on Niagara Blvd in Niagara and the Jordon Station Lions Club on the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.


For the tutorial you will need:


1 hard shell “Swan” gourd

1 hard shell “Kettle” or “Short Handled Dipper” gourd (for the beak of the bird)

Wood Glue

Wood Filler

Sand Paper

Jigsaw or regular saw

Dremel Tool (if desired)

Design Stencils (if desired)

Acrylic Paint (if desired)

Black Ink or Black Acrylic Paint and Fine Paint Brush (if desired)

Glaze – Spar Varnish



1.)     Using the top of extra gourd (kettle or other) cut beak with jigsaw.

2.)     Using a Dremel tool, sand and smooth inside of beak before applying glue.

3.)     Glue beak onto “swan” gourd.

4.)     Using wood filler, fill in around beak to smooth. Let dry thoroughly and use sand paper or dremel to smooth out ridges.

5.)     Take desired patterns/design stencils and trace or draw onto “swan” gourd.

6.)     Paint in desired colours and let dry completely.

7.)     Using black ink or paint and fine paint brushes outline and detail designs as desired. Let dry.

8.)     When you are happy with your design and color, glaze with at least two coats. Let dry completely – about 24 hours.


You can use any design or pattern. Be Creative! And please remember, always wear safety glasses and a good respirator when cleaning, sanding, opening or drilling.

 Gourd Growing In September 



The trellising is reminiscent of an “Alice In Wonderland” story

September is an easy month for gourd growers. All the pollination is finished as well as the pruning. At this stage in their development they are large and look quite mature. They are however still growing. As long as the leaves and stems are green they should not be touched other than standing them up.  


Canteen drying on the vine.  It will not be harvested until the stems are brown and the vines are dead.


Some of your gourds may be turning brown like the Canteen shown above. The drying process has started but in a case like this do not be tempted to harvest it. Wait until the vines are dry and the stems are brown before removing the gourd from the vine. In the Northern climate a good rule of thumb is wait until after the first hard frost. This usually occurs around Halloween. In the warmer climates wait until your stems have turned completely brown.

Powdery Mildew can still be a problem at this time of year. Powdery Mildew is a fungus caused by a spore which is carried by the wind. It appears as small grayish white spots on the leaves. There are a couple of methods you can use to alleviate this problem. In Ginger Summit's book "Gourds In Your Garden" she recommends 2 Teaspoons of baking soda & 2 Teaspoons of lightweight horticultural spray oil mixed with 1 gallon of water. Spray both sides of the leaves well. Or go to your Garden Center as they will be able to recommend an appropriate solution to fight powdery mildew. For more information click here. For "Gourds In Your Garden" click here.


Cucumber beetles: They will eat into your fruit and will badly scar or destroy the shell. For more information click here.



Always keep your gourd patch clean from debris and dead vines.


At Northern Dipper…

September is a busy month with lots of people coming out to the farm to stock up on gourds.

The apple bins will be moved into the barn as this is where the dried gourds are stored during the winter months. The net baskets, which sit on top of the trellising, will be tightened up as this is where the field gourds dry. And onward we march….


To see photos of growing gourds click here.

Out Of Print Books

It is to my great disappointment that the following books are now out of print. These were fabulous resource books and they will be missed. We still have some in inventory and are trying to locate other copies. As follows:


1.) Gourds In Your Garden by Ginger Summit

2.) Making Musical Instruments by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess . (We have obtained multiple copies of this book. If you have ever wanted this book, this is the time to order.)

3.) Gourd Pyography by Jim Widess

 To view these books click here.





The Norfolk Fair, held in Simcoe, Ontario, is one of the oldest agricultural fair in Canada. It is also one of the largest and this year they have opened up a competition category for gourds!


Here are the details you need to know


There is only one classification for all gourd entries.


1. You must fill out the form below. It must be received in their office no later than Sat, Sept 24th

        Description of entry must read “Hard Shelled Gourd – Carved or Decorated” The class # is 460 and the Sec# is 90

2. You can fax it in but you must send the original and entry fee by mail. It must be received no

      later than October 2

3. Entry fee is 5.00 & 1.00 per entered piece. (one entry = 6.00, two entries = 7.00).

Make all entry fees payable to Norfolk County Fair.


To obtain an Entry Form click here. For more about the Fair click here.


Submitting Your Work

Northern Dipper will accept your exhibit pieces and will take them down to the Fair. Your exhibit pieces must be received by Northern Dipper no later than Sept 30th.


The address to ship to is:

Northern Dipper

1666 Villa Nova Road

RR1 Wilsonville,

ON, N0E 1Z0


Many people live far way and are unable to personally attend. To make it easier we will accept your shipments, unpack them and deliver them to the Norfolk Fair set up people. At the end of the show we will pack up your entries in the same box it was sent in and send it back to you by Canada Post.  Make certain you include:

1.) Copy of filled out Norfolk Fair entry form.

2.) A return address label with a phone number as well as a Visa, Mastercard or American Express number on which return shipping will be charged. There will be no charge for this service other than the postage.

3.) If you want to insure your art pieces, you need to give us a value for insurance.  We will purchase through Canada Post the insurance & charge to your card.  


A Reminder - “Come If You Want, We’ll Be Here Anyway"


Ed & Darienne McAuley are hosting their 5th Annual Fall Gathering, Saturday, September 17, 2005 at their farm in Caven, Ont. (Near Peterborough) Times are 10:00 AM until folks leave and the atmosphere will be casual.  You don’t have to RSVP…but it would be nice to have some idea of how many are coming. Potluck welcomed. Anyone needing directions please Email Darienne at roadsend@pipcom.com or phone at 705/799-0614.


So…Come If You Can, We will Be Here Anyway.   Ed & Darienne McAuley


  A healthy year for hay as well as gourds!


The next issue will be all about Halloween. Join us in a Tutorial on a Halloween gourd. Also a Gourd Grow Report, Gourds in History and more! See you then…Pam Grossi & Peter Bell


Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are on our Website. If you have missed any issues there are some interesting tutorials and grow information you may want to check out.


PS If you have any stories or ideas that you would like to contribute to this newsletter please send to info@northerndipper.com


Volume 1, Number 7


Email: info@northerndipper.com

In this issue

Gourds In History


Tutorial: Decorative Swan Gourd by Sue Bonifacio


Gourd Growing In September


Out Of Print Books


Norfolk County Fair Gourd Competition 2005


Gourd Sightings & Trivia


Reminder: “Come If You Want, We’ll Be Here Anyway”

“More Winners From Gourd Fest”

 Geisha Doll by Mary Druissi-Yaber. Even the hair is carved gourd!


“Fish” by Louise Warner-McDougall

Niagara Artist Sue Bonifacio

Woodburned Lion


Beautiful Lidded Dipper Gourd

Long Horned Cattle – The rim is made

from pine needles.



Red Roses

 (The  above 4 photos are the work of Sue Bonifacio)


 A cluster of dippers



Kettle Gourd 



Gourds covered with early morning dew




Coneflowers by Artist Steve Generaux



Father Xmas by Melanie Daniels


Geometric Patterns by Annie Boquist

Mask by Pat Alford

Next issue learn how luffa played a part in US history.

 Gourd sightings and trivia

Many gourd instruments were spotted at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Blues, Celtic, Bluegrass, World Gospel and more made for an exciting trip around the world. For more info click here.


Another interesting website is "Calabash Music" – The Worlds’ First Fair Trade Music Company. To view click here.


Published by Northern Dipper Enterprises
Northern Dipper Farm
1666 Villa Nova Road
RR1 Wilsonville, Ontario
N0E 1Z0 Canada
(519) 443-5638
Get your gourds in Canada from Northern Dipper, your Canadian gourd supplier
Every month, you'll receive info, tutorials, and features on artists. PLUS Growing Tips from April to November. Every month, you'll receive info, tutorials, features on artists and much more.
Password: gourdpower