When working with gourds, the following common sense measures and easy-to-find products will help keep you healthy and happily crafting.

Gloves
Avoid direct skin contact with moldy gourds which have not yet been cleaned.
Some people also cannot handle cleaned gourds without gloves.
A metallic taste in the mouth is the first sign of this tactile-taste problem.
Vinyl gloves like those used by the health industry can be purchased by the box at your local pharmacies and large chain stores.
When scrubbing gourds, dish washing gloves are recommended.

Mask or Respirator
Airborne dust particles and mold spores from gourds should be avoided just like any other type of airborne particulate.
A mask or respirator designed to prevent inhalation of these minute particles should be worn when cleaning the outside surface, sanding, cutting, and cleaning inside surfaces of a gourd.

Work with gourds outside whenever possible.
If you must work inside, make sure you have good ventilation – and a dust control system is strongly recommended.

Dust particles and mold spores will cling to clothing and hair.
After working with gourds in the cleaning, sanding, cutting, and carving stages, change into clean clothes and wash the ones you were wearing. Keeping your hair covered while stirring up gourd dust or mold is also a good preventive measure.

If you are new to gourds, you will soon learn your sensitivities to them, and the measures you’ll need to take when working with them.
The first signs of a problem will most likely be a metallic taste in the mouth, fits of coughing, or sneezing with runny eyes and nose.
The measures and protective items mentioned above are the first steps to maintaining good health while working with gourds.
They should be followed even if you don’t notice any sensitivity at all.
Gourds don’t always send us an immediate signal that they are causing a problem.
Gourds are a wonderful natural resource to work with, providing many creative opportunities and practical uses.
So let’s all gourd in good health!

Gourds are one of the oldest cultivated crops that are believed to have spanned the entire globe in prehistoric times.
They were known mostly by cultures in temperate and tropical zones because this is where gourds grow best.
Gourds were most commonly used for storing supplies, hauling water, making cooking and eating utensils, musical instruments, bird feeders,bird houses, and rattles.
Today gourds are still considered one of nature’s greatest gifts to mankind.

There are many surprising aspects of gourds. From their oddly shaped seeds they produce prolific growth.
The plants will spread and climb everything in their area: fences, trees, buildings, etc.
They are a joy to watch growing, and require little care other than good regular watering.

They must be harvested before a killing frost, as even a mild frost will usually damage them, causing them to rot rather than to cure and dry normally.

Gourds are also surprising in their many and varied shapes and colors.
When dried and cleaned, each one will have its own natural blemishes and scars, which serve to enhance their natural beauty.

They are also surprising light and fragile. Dropping one from even a short height will usually crack it.
Gourds are truly “nature’s pottery”.

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