I've been growing hard-shelled gourds for about four years now. I love them! It's so much fun watching the plants grow and the fruit develop. Gourds come in so many fun shapes and sizes too!
Here's my gourd harvest for 2011 (plus one more little cream of saskatchewan watermelon). I'm slightly disappointed because there were a few new kinds I tried that didn't do well. I'm not sure how many bushel gourd seeds I started (probably about 12), but I only got one plant to survive and produce a single fruit...but at least it's enormous! This is the second year I've tried growing corsican and penguin gourds and I still haven't gotten a single fruit. I even ordered new corsican gourd seed this year (and got 0% germination both years). I also tried, and failed, to grow snake gourd and swan gourd this year. I think the only types I can rely on are birdhouse and baby bottle.
I'm pretty excited about my lone bushel gourd. It's bigger than a basketball! I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet...perhaps make a couple bowls?
I lost a couple nice birdhouse gourds to slugs this year. I've never had slugs tear into my gourds before! Luckily they only ruined two fruits. The others seemed almost completely untouched.