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Cultivation of Bottle Gourd


Before going to topic please refer topic "10tips to grow vegetables"




Cucurbit vegetables are very popular, especially for live mulching. We all know 3 sister gardening method where pumpkin or squash used to cover ground. Today I will deal with Bottle gourd.



Bottle Gourd.
a)Climate: Bottle Gourd love light warm moist (24C to 30C) climate(Jan or June) best suits. Don't like cool or very low temperatures.

b)Soil: Loves well-drained soils like sandy soils with a high percentage of organic matter. Give high yields in soils which have pH 6.5 to 7.5( slight alkaline).dislikes clay soils. Can adopt a wide range of soils.

c)Seed: Approx 600g per acre seed required.Select virus free and disease free seeds from a farmer. 600g for transplanting and 1kg for direct sowing

d)Duration: Below 140 days or approx 4 months under full sunlight.

e)Spacing: If your soil contains more percentage of sand dig 30-60cm pits for every 6 feet(pit to pit). Mix soil with compost/fym and fill the pits. If clay soil is more. Start preparing raised bed(120cms).


f)Field Preparation: Bottle gourd needs more organic content in the soil. Grow green manure before the crop. Traditional practice is applying 8 tons of FYM or 5 tons of compost with 500kg of Neem cake. If you are planning crop in rainy season staking is compulsory. Use bamboo or anything to support the plant. Or make trellising as below

g)Sowing Method: Sow 2-3 seeds in every pit. Bottle gourd takes 7-20 days to germinate. After germination cut the excess plants to the ground. Make sure only 2 plants per pit remain.

h)Irrigation: initial irrigation before sowing. Irrigation was required every week . Especially before flowering. Maintain specific time every day at least irrigating deep 20cm soil gives best results. Give mulch for soil if the climate is too hot outside. watering, stagnation leads several viral/fungal diseases.

i)Intercrops: Radish, Corn, Sorghum, beans and marigold.

j)Harvest: The Average yield of 6-9 tons of harvest per acre. Unripe/tender fruits will be harvested. Fruits have some fine hairs at this time When you press with the nail on fruit, it should go easily. Fully mature fruits develop hard skin n white patches at base

k)Important points :
*Spraying boron (arka solution) at 4 leaves early stage results more female flowers.

*Pollination is very important if you don't see bees around your farm collect a male flower and rub on the female flower.

*All cucurbits are cross-pollinated crops. pollination is done by Honey bees, bumble bees n house flies. Always better to have one beehive in the field under commercial cultivation. Grow bright coloured flowering plants as border crop.

*When the plant reaches 12-13 leaves cut the tip of the plant to make plant to give side branches. more branches more flowers more fruits.

*Asafetida (25 gm) is dissolved in one litre of water. Spraying the contents helps to control flower dropping.


*If female flowers are dropping, without turning into fruit means pollination is not happening in the field. We must do hand pollination with male flower by rubbing method or use brush or use cotton rubbing on male than on the female.

*Blossom rot caused by hot weather, lack of moisture or calcium deficiency.

*Fully matured and dried bottle gourd fruits are collected and hanged in the house for seed preservation.

*As seeds have a hard coat, soaking in water for 6 hrs n wrapping in wet gunny cloth for 3 days n sow in the field.

Intercrop was leafy vegetable called Chukkakura in Telugu. In English, it's called duck sorrel,


Pest control:

*Bacterial/viral infections occur due to water stagnation, over moist conditions and no proper circulation of air.

*Four kg of Neem seeds are powdered and dissolved in 100 litres of water and filtered. Add 10 litres of cow urine and mix it with 50 gm of soap nut powder. Spraying this extract will control many pests and diseases.

*Install light traps one for every half acre from 6-10pm to overcome moths laying eggs and remove traps before flowers start to appear.

*Spray diluted Neem oil for Aphids & Mealybugs.

*Ash is sprinkled on crop (before sunrise) to control aphids and powdery mildew. Neem spray every week prevent pest attack.

*Set up pheromone trap at 6 numbers per acre to overcome fruit fly attack. Refer http://www.ecosecretz.com/2017/12/pheromone-lures-traps.html?m=1

Culinary Notes :
Tender leaves, fallen flowers or male flowers can be consumed as curries.
Consumption of 100ml Bottle gourd juice on empty stomach for three days can effectively control body heat, piles.

Queries:

What is staking? 
Basically, they are creepers providing some support with poles is called staking. In this case trellising.

Since these grow on soil, won't they be affected by soil pathogens or pest? How can we prevent the fruits getting affected that way?


Mulching with materials like coconut leaves, bamboo mats etc..avoids this problem. Bruises like this can form on the ground, fetches a low price. Trellising gives more yields and quality fruits.

Does watermelon, muskmelon and cantaloupe also belong to cucurbit family?
Yes.

I have a 2-year-old plant without fruiting
Cut back the vines, spray arka solution n JA or PG

What is trellising, I am planning for 200 nos bottle gourd under drip irrigation Pls help me by advising as I am new
Trellis is like mesh kind of structure used to give support for the plant to crawl. It is trellising. Staking means pole like structure used to give support for the plant to crawl. It is staking.

But bottle gourd is heavy no sir. If it crawls up the trellis, will not fall or get plucked/dropped away from the creeper.

Is trellising possible for watermelon and muskmelon?
These are summer crops, so no rains will affect fruits. No need for this arrangement.

Bitter gourd trellising

Trellising with stone poles.

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