Gourds have been around for thousands of years, providing man with sustenance as well as being used for a variety of helpful tools. These days, many Americans mainly grow and use gourds in craft items and holiday displays. The Shenot Crown of Thorns is a small gourd about five inches in diameter. Its shape is round and it has ten finger-like projections pointing in the direction of the blossom end. Sometimes referred to as the Ten Commandments gourd, it is a favorite to add in woven baskets along with other types of gourds for fall displays.
Growing Shenot Crown of Thorns
It takes 95 days until Crown of Thorns gourds will be ripe, so you will want to plant early, after the last frost of the season. If possible, start seeds indoors six weeks before moving outside. Gourds grow on vines and are climbers so spacing of seeds or plants is important to prevent overcrowding. Plant seeds in rich organic soil in hills two to three feet apart. They will thrive in either full sun or partial shade. If you are limited on space, plant them next to a trellis. White blooms will appear late spring to early summer and when the fruit begins to grow, keep plants well watered, but do not over-water.
The fruit of the Shenot Crown of Thorns varies in color. Some are dark green with grey-green strips, while others are white or orange. The leaves and stems of the plant have a fuzzy texture, which some people find irritating. Handling of the plant has been known to cause allergic reaction in some people and the spines on fruit can be sharp.
Saving Shenot Crown of Thorns Seeds
If you are growing Shenot Crown of Thorns from heirloom seeds, you can save the seeds from year to year. If you are using a hybrid or genetically engineered seed, you can save the seeds, but will probably only get a yield from one or two years planting. If you decide to save the seeds, pick an unblemished fruit and let it over ripen before harvesting seeds. Save seeds in a dark, cool place until next season.
Eating Shenot Crown of Thorns
Shenot Crown of Thorns is a member of the summer squash family and can be used in the same dishes as zucchini and crookneck squash. It is at its best for eating when it is young and tender, right before it has fully matured.
Shenot Crown of Thorns in Crafts
If using for crafts or decorations, pick Shenot Crown of Thorns gourds when they are ripe, and hang them from their stems in a cool shaded area until dry. Add some varnish for extra shine before using in your craft.
Sources: Personal Experience, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, The New Victory Garden