Gourds take over Chehaw - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gourds take over Chehaw

April 11, 2004

Albany- Glenn Burkhalter is not ashamed to tell you how he got into growing gourds. "Oh, boy I tell you it was an accident," he laughs.

His original plan was to plant them in his garden to attract birds that would in turn eat mosquitos.

"The first year I planted two little short rows in the garden and those gourd vines took over everything. I didn't have anything out there that I could find but gourds," he says.

So, he joined the National Gourd Society, and has since become a gourd growing expert.

"These are what we call the knotted dippers," explains Burkhalter as he motions toward a gourd with a long knotted stem. "These are long handle dipper gourds, and the knot is kind of a specialized thing."

So special it took him four years to learn to tie one in a figure eight, and to this day he says he's the only person he knows in the country that has grown a double knotted gourd. What do people do with the knotted ones?

"Some people just take them home and say look what I have," he laughs.

He says others turn them into art work. Burkhalter's learned to use them too, for his stage name that's is. He also doubles as "The Singing Gourdman."

"There are some gourd songs, but I have not learned any. In fact, there's a gourd rap and I really ought to learn that."

But until he does, he says he'll just enjoy growing and selling them...

"There's so many uses for them. You can eat them. I don't know if you knew that or not but young gourds can be eaten."

...and sharing his extensive gourd knowledge with everyone he meets.

Posted at 4:00 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com