Late spring, I planted about a bazillion gourds and they ALL grew!!! When do I know they're ready to dry out? When do I harvest them? I can think of many things to do with them I just don't want to ruin the process. TIA.
Are they the birdhouse type gourds? When I grew them, I just left them lay - after the vines had died down, after the first frost and before it snowed - I put them in the garage. It took all winter for them to dry. They got very moldy and awful looking, but that peels off. Don't cut them open until they are completely dry and the seeds rattle around inside.
You can clean them with a bleach solution when they are dry. I used bleach and a scotch brite pad to get them clean.
I painted a few and dyed some orange and cut out pumpkin faces. I used leather dye to get the good color.
Here is a link that might be useful: Jack-o-lantern gourds - and gourd info