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Neighbors in need replies.

Here are the replies from last month's questions about apple shaped gourds and burlap bags:

What can you do with a burlap bag?

* 1) Burlap is a great material for cleaning and helping warm newborn kids, or lambs! Its rough texture helps pull off the birthing "gunk" without harming the animal, is easily hosed off, and quickly dries in the sun. Also if the mother rejects the animal, it can be cut into warming lamb or kid jackets until the baby's body heat stabilizes. 2) They can be used as hanging planters by reinforcing the top open end, fill with soil and hang, cut slits down the sides of the bag (just big enough to slide your plants' roots into) and plant strawberries or tomatoes. It is off the ground gardening, and helps reduce ground pests from ruining your harvest, and there's no need for staking for your tomatoes as the plant hangs free. A good-sized burlap bag can hold quite a few plants, and the material allows easy watering and good airflow to prevent root rot. 3) Cut long narrow strips (I would double them to prevent leakage), sew them into tubes and fill with sand to lie across the threshold of your doors or windows to block those obnoxious drafts! 4) The bags can be cut into smaller bags, soap can be slipped into the pouches and hung out by the garden for easy-access hand washing, again the rough texture helps remove that tough dirt. This is also handy in the barn after working on the equipment. 5) Burlap, being rough and sturdy, holds paint nicely and makes great place mats, just sew a binding strip around the edge to prevent fraying. 6) Fill pockets made out of burlap with sea salt, oils and herbs and then you have a relaxing scent pillow, put it in the microwave and you have a heated bag for those sore muscles, burlap and the salts will hold the heat nicely! --Wendy Imerti, Oregon

* Trappers use these for anchors when setting drowning sets. The bag is filled with rocks or mud, tied off and then thrown in for the anchor end of a drowning cable. He might be able to find an outlet through his State Trappers Association.--Ron Chamberlain, Wisconsin

* 1) One of the most decorative uses for burlap is as a wall covering. Wash the bags, cut the seams, flatten out the material (iron if needed) dip in wallpaper paste and apply to walls as you would wallpaper or any other cloth. If you want, you can even dye it different colors. (Try to stay in the richer brown colors.) You might even sell the clean cloth to a craft store or advertise it for sale in your local paper. 2) Another use is as a shade cloth for your garden.--Carla, Missouri

* Consider making dog beds. My dogs love theirs better than the ones made with softer material! I purchased an extra large bed made of burlap for $19]--Laura

* Besides using the burlap fabric as a fuel for bee smokers, they can be split open, wetted and placed over seeds that are not planted deeply, i.e., parsley, herbs, lettuce, etc. until germination takes place. Some seeds will even come up through the burlap. It helps keep down weeding.--SuEllen Hull

* 1) Sell them to a tree nursery for new trees (root balls). 2) Fill them with cedar shavings and make pet beds for his favorite pups. 3) Donate them to the 4-H for fair games (potato sack races).--Katie Weber

* Some of the uses I have put them to are: Homemade gunnysacks as gifts to friends that hunt; sand bags for erosion control; rucksack organizers--both full sized and sewn smaller for trash bags and lawn pickup prior to mowing; as a large dog chew toy--cut at the seam and knotted repeatedly; a collection container for acorn harvesting; whelping pen liner; camping pillow--fill with leaf litter at the campsite; and as a pet pillow--fill with cedar chips and eucalyptus chips for flea/tick deterrence. --Joseph R. Dombroski, Georgia.

* I live close to the Shipshewana Flea Market and those burlap bags are sold there for $10-$40 each; $10 for plain and up to $40 for ones with names or logos on them. The last time I saw any, about a year ago, 30 of them brought $570, and some of them had mice holes.--Ross Troyer, Indiana

* I have used them successfully as mulch, putting them next to the ground and covering with a thin layer of leaves, straw, or sawdust to hide them.--Guy Pritchard, North Carolina

* 1) You might find a beekeeper who would like to use them in their smokers. 2) Plant nurseries use them for bundling root balls in trees and shrubs. Landscapers use them for protecting grass seedlings. They can be used to prevent erosion. 3) On the rare occasion that you find a road kill porcupine and want to collect quills for crafts and jewelry, just toss a burlap bag over the porky and the quills will stick to it when you lift it up! They also make good feet wipers / welcome mats for your house and liners/bedding for doghouses. The base for making hooked/tufted rugs can be burlap, with loops of yarn added. 4) You may know some farmers, or find some at a local farmer's or produce market who could use them for potatoes, or other produce. 5) You could use them to insulate outside water pipes by wrapping them around to prevent freezing. 6) You could use them to store and carry kindling, firewood or pinecones.--Laurel, California

* A friend of mine fills them with composted manure, sets them in a bucket of water, and makes what he calls "manure tea" to feed his vegetable plants. He uses the small size of bag that you buy dried beans in bulk in.--SMR, Colorado

* I had a neighbor whose floors were covered with beautiful rugs she had made using burlap bags. She would find old wool material, tightly woven, like old wool skirts, cut the fabric into strips 3/8" wide or so, depending on the weight of the fabric. I suspect denim would work, but not be as soft. These long strips she would single fold as she worked, pulling the fabric strips through each hole in the opened and flattened burlap which she had tacked to a frame. She would start the first row about 2" in from the edge, so the 2" margin all around could be sewn under when the rug was completed, to make a firm edge. She used a large hook like a large crochet hook for the work, holding the fabric strip underneath the burlap, pulling it through to form a loop about 1/2" long. When she got to the end of one strip she would overlap a little in starting the next one. The idea was to fill each hole tightly enough that the loops were held in place by the tension. She used geometric patterns, so as each burlap bag was finished it could be sewn to the previously worked one. When the rug was large enough, she would sew on a heavy cloth backing. These rugs were beautiful, thick sturdy, and solid underfoot.

I have heard of someone who loosely fills burlap bags with plastic grocery sacks and then quilts them in large blocks to hold the filling in place. Then the burlap bags are sewn edge to edge to make quilts for homeless shelters. They are not pretty, but apparently are warm and very welcome.

Burlap can also be sewn on with yarn using an all-over tapestry stitch to make chair seat covers.

In place of a closet door we use a curtain of plain burlap. It is easy to access the closet, the burlap allows for air circulation, and the plain burlap goes well with the wood cabin walls. --V. Riley, California

Apple shaped gourd sources

* Pinetree Garden Seeds, PO Box 300, New Gloucester, ME 04260.

* Gurneys Seed & Nursery, PO Box 4178, Greendale, IN 47026-4178.

* J. W. Jung Seed Co., 335 So. High St., Randolph, WI 53957-0001; 1-800-247-5864; www.jungseed.com.

* E & R Seeds, 1356 E 200 S, Monroe, IN 46772.

* Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, PO Box 460, Mineral VA 23177.

* Seed Savers Exchange, 3076 N. Winn Rd., Decorah, IA 52101-7776; 563-382-5990; www. seedsavers.org)

* Territorial Seed Company, P.O. Box 158, Cottage Grove, OR, 97424-0061 ; phone orders (541) 942-9547, www.territorialseed.com.

* Park's Seed Company, 1 Parkton Ave., Greenwood, SC 29647; 800-213-0076; www. parkseed.com

* Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Mansfield, MO; 417-924-9817; www.RareSeeds.com

* Harry Hurley, 259 Fletcher Ave., Fuquay Varina, NC 27521; harryhurley@hotmail.com) or www.mindspring.com/~harryhurley

* Johnny's Selective Seeds, 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901-2601; Johnnyseeds. com

Hints:

* I'd advise you to just buy gourds at a farmer's market or farm if you can, as they have a long growing season and need hot weather. --L. D., Bingham, NE

* Gourds, especially the hard shell varieties, have a long maturity time--95 to 155 days. It will help if you nick the seed and soak it at room temperature for 24 hours before planting. --Angle, Iowa
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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:1536
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