Amish Bird House Gourds

We purchased a milk cow from an Amish family in Kentucky last week.  They milk several cows and were selling off a Guernsey cow and heifer they had.  

On our trip back up to pick up the cows, I spent some time with her in the greenhouse and just listened to her talk and mentally took notes.  We have been putting up a greenhouse very similar to theirs, so I was learning some tips from someone who knew what they were doing. 

She educated us about some different heirloom tomato plants that she likes.  I bought some from her the first time I was out at their farm.  She gave me more plants the next time I showed up.   Outside her greenhouse and near her garden, I was admiring her purple martin bird houses and asked her what kind of gourds they were.  I snapped some pictures when I was in the truck.  I didn’t want to take the chance at offending her…she had already let us use her outhouse and taken us in their basement to show us her neat butter churn and their mechanical cream separator.


Purple Martin swallows are amazing birds.  She told me they eat their weight in bugs every day.  They come build their nests in these gourds.   


Her boys grew the gourds and hollowed them out and dried them…. then painted them. 


Do not plant them near your melons, evidently they will affect the taste???  But they grow well vining up along a fence line.  She gave me some started plants and a bag of seeds so we are going to try our hand a making bird house gourds. 

Maybe next year we can cut our bug population by hanging a bird house line out like this?


  • Collin says:

    Very interesting. I’ve been meaning to look into martin houses for some time now. The big question for me: How do you convince the martins to take up residence on your property? Is simply setting up a string of these houses enough to attract and keep them?

  • BethTN says:

    I think it is a “build it and they will come” thing??? I’m not sure—We have bird house gourd plants popping up along our fence line…hopefully we will have some nice vines with lots of gourds hanging off our fence—