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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #6, Page #36
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He Grows Long Handled Dipper Gourds

I had a lot of fun last summer growing long-handled dipper gourds, one of which has a 59-in. long handle. Many others are nearly as long. Usually these kinds of gourds grow only about 2 ft. long. My gourds hang from a homemade 6-ft. high wooden rack and are planted in two rows about 10 ft. apart and spaced 4 ft. apart in the row. The vines climb up a series of vertical 1-in. sq. wooden strips and then across the rack, which consists of a series of wooden strips spaced 2 ft. apart. The plants need 20-ft. runners before they'll start blooming, so I have to turn the runners back over across the rack at least once before gourds form.
  I applied a lot of fertilizer and used black soaker hose to irrigate the plants, which I think is why my gourds grew so long. I mixed 10 sacks of manure and 20 lbs. of 8-8-8 fertilizer into the ground, and also scattered a 4-in. layer of leaves on top. I installed the soaker hose at the base of the plants and also on top of the rack so water drips down on the leaves.
  After the gourds mature, I carve out holes in them and use them as water dippers. The gourds can also be used as birdhouses or simply as decorations.
  Every fall before Halloween I put out a homemade decoration that shows an old man pulling a wagon loaded with jack o' lanterns and bales of hay. The lanterns are set on an automatic timer and light up at 6 in the evening and go off at 10 at night. The wagon looks like the ones used in the old days to haul luggage around railroad depots. I made it entirely from junk parts. The wheel rims were cut out of a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood and are covered by rubber from old bicycle tires. Both sets of wheels are connected by 6-ft. long threaded rods. The man wears coveralls, boots, and a hardhat. He's stuffed with leaves and hay. I use a big piece of styrofoam for his face and a big old mop for his hair.
  I made an inexpensive play toy for my goats by bolting four tires together in a square and then nailing a sheet of plywood across the top. The animals can run through the tires from either side, then turn and jump on top of the plywood and try to push each other off. (Johnny W. Self
, 1638 Penn Rd. S.W., Hartselle, Ala. 35640 ph 256 773-0677).
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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #6