Homegrown – Grow a Birdhouse!

By the fabulous Terri Mason


Until I signed the mortgage papers and bought my little Taj Mahovel here in Maple Creek, I had spent my life only interested in grass from a grazing perspective. But then came home ownership, and suddenly, everything changed. 

Seed catalogues began arriving. I was on a first-name basis with the folks at local greenhouses. I started diverting downspouts into wildly-decorated rain barrels. Birds flocked, bees droned, and people slowed as they walked by the rapidly-expanding flowerbeds out front. In the backyard, it wasn’t long before I covered most of the grass with raised vegetable beds and created larger flowerbeds. 

That’s right — the gal whose only contact with flowers was on her various wedding days was now growing them and winning a highly-coveted Yard of the Week award. (See how I slipped that in?) But there was still something missing. 

Pair of Purple Martins busy keeping their young chicks fed with insects.

I like the unusual, the unique, and the things (and people) in life that deserve a second look. For me, that “second-look” plant is a Birdhouse Gourd. 

Birdhouse gourd seeds are available at many greenhouses; I found them at Peavey Mart and saw them at Veseys.com. Start them indoors, transplant them under a sturdy trellis and have fun. 

Drying the gourds is crucial. I drilled a hole through the top of each one, lashed them onto heavy string, and hung them like a garland over the heater. The hole helped them dry faster. I recommend you do something similar to prevent mould. 

Once dry, drill the bird-sized hole, shake out the seeds, decorate (if you’d like), and then wax to provide protection. No two will be the same!