How to preserve gourds

It’s fall again, and the markets are full of wonderfully shaped and colored decorative gourds.  So you come back with an armful and arrange them around the house in tasteful groupings.  And a week later, they are either covered in poisonous white fuzz or have turned into piles of toxic sludge that require hazmat suits to remove. Or maybe you have bought some of those large swan-necked gourds so you can dry them out and turn into flowerpots or birdhouses or lanterns. Martha Stewart Living says to put them in a cool, dry place, but you live in an apartment and you don’t really want to turn the heat down as winter begins to bite.

So how to keep gourds from rotting?

My approach is pretty simple, no cool, dry spaces required. Wash any soil off, using an old toothbrush to work any dirt out of the crevices, and then let them dry.  Then spray them with Lysol (or other disinfectant spray), first on one side, and then on the other. Once you’ve cleaned them up, you just need to find things for them to do to keep them out of trouble.