Drying gourds

I have a couple of small, colorful, striped gourds that I purchased at the supermarket. I use them for still-life arrangements, and I would like to prevent any mold growth while they are drying.
I have read that they should be kept in a dry, warm area with good air circulation, and sponged with a dilute bleach solution. But I could find no details on how dilute, or how often to do this.
What do you suggest? What has worked for you?
- David
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On Thu, 23 Oct 2003 15:10:39 -0400, "David D."

I let mine (large gourds) dry in the basement during the dry winter months. Some collaspe and some rot, but all get a thin mold over the surface. Hang them to dry without touching each other. Some folks dry them in the attic, but my basement is drier next to the furnace. Expect some color loss during the drying process. I wait until they rattle when shaken, then sponge them off with a household bleach solution. (1 cup of bleach and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon warm water). Check them once a month and throw out the ones that collapse or become soggy.
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Definitly not more than 10%.
Some gourds are you better than others and those that are well 'ripened' in the sun may be more successful.. Some gourds may lose colour when dried though so its important to dry them away from bright light as this fades them more.
I have a number of Malabar gourd that I have dried to a thin hard wood.. Some I am keeping as it is and the others I will cut open with a miniature rotary saw so as to access seeds whislt keeping the overall shape intact (hopeully). Some often go mouldy during the drying process. easiest way to proiduce is to grow plenty of you're own.
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1630.html was useful as was a search on google.com for How to Dry Gourds
// Jim
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