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The History of Gourds as Containers

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Gourds were human’s earliest containers. Their diversity in size and shape let early peoples select them for a variety of purposes. Some were cut in half and filled with food, hot rocks were added to cook those contents. Others with flat bottoms and long necks held and easily dispensed liquids. Early on they were decorated as we humans want to add beauty to our homes, be they caves, teepees, or fiber covered structures. In Kenya, where gourds were essential to life for ten thousand years, the proliferation of plastics led to a decline in their use. With the help of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, a museum there preserves the most diverse germ plasma for bottle gourds in the world and teaches woman decorating and marketing practices. I wonder if art galleries in the future display lovingly decorated Tupperware? 

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.