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Cultivation of Ridge Gourd


Ridge Gourd Cultivation 

Climate: 
Ridge Gourd love light warm moist (24C to 30C). Don't love cool or very low temperatures. Not fit in winter season where the temperature drops below 24C.

Soil: 
Loves well-drained soils like sandy loam soils with a high percentage of organic matter. Give high yields in soils which have pH 6.5 to 7.5(slightly acidic to near neutral is best 7 pH).Can adopt in a wide range of soils.

Seed: 
Approx 1-2kg per acre seed required.1500-3000 plants required per acre. Select virus free and disease free a seeds from farmer. Approx seed germination time is 7days.

Duration: 
Below 100-120 days under full sunlight. From 60days flowers will start approx from 70days harvest will start.

Spacing: 
If your soil contains more percentage of sand dig 30-60cm pits(length * width * height) for every 6-7 feet(pit to pit). Mix soil with compost/fym and fill the pits. If clay soil is more. start preparing raised bed(120cms) or mounds/hills.

‌Field Preparation: 
Ridge Gourd need more organic content in soil. Grow green manure before the crop. Traditional practice is filling all pits with 8tons of FYM or 5tons of compost with 500kg of Neem cake along with top soil. 

Sowing Method: 
Sow 4 -5seeds in every pit/hill/mound. And thin to remain 3plants per pit or hill. 12days old saplings 2 per pit/hill can be transplanted if grown in pro-trays. Ridge gourd loves to climb. So, it needs trellis with a height of 6feet approx. We can use bamboo sticks and GI wire to make this setup
Ridge gourd on Trellis

Irrigation: 
Initial irrigation before sowing. Irrigation is 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. These plants don't like over irrigation. Overwatering, stagnation leads several viral/fungal diseases.

Intercrops: 
Beans for fixing nitrogen, Sorghum and Corn to prevent root rot by controlling soil nematodes, Radish deters leaf-eating insects, fruit borers, Marigold, sunflower attract pollinators and deters bugs and beetles. Mint is said to help control ants, aphids, flea beetles, and rodents. We can sow Marigold/Sunflower as border crop. Radish can harvest before ridge gourd spread on a trellis. Beans can also sow along with ridge gourd in the same pit. They also can crawl along with ridge gourd. At harvest time need to take care. It becomes complex to harvest

Harvest:
Tender fruits are harvested for eating purpose. Matured fruits are left like that for preparing sponge (luffa).The average yield of 7-10 tons of harvest per acre.

Important Notes:
  • Lateral shoots(side stems) should be removed up to the height of trellis.
  • Tendrils (the thread like a stem that helps the plant to grasp support) should be removed because we are giving support to plant to climb trellis by tying loosely with thread.
  • Prune the main stem after 12nodes. This gives rise to many laterals. 
  • If female flowers are dropping without turning into fruit. We must do hand pollination with male flower by rubbing method or use a brush or use a cotton to rub on the male after on the female.
  • Blossom rot caused by over hot weather, lack of moisture or calcium deficiency.
Slight gap in male n female flower opening is the problem in all gourds. 1st male flowers arrive after few days females arrive. More male flowers are produced than female flowers. Boron plays the key role. 

In large-scale cultivation, always better to have 1 or 2 bee hives for good pollination. Beehives in hot climate region is not suitable, if we are placing we need to consider the coolest zone farm and maintain flower garden near to hive. Bees hives got popular in Karnataka and Kerala regions and failed in Tamilnadu and Telugu regions.


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 soapnut 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 or neem seed extract for Aphids & Mealybugs.

Queries:
What is the proportion of neem and water to be diluted?
If you want to spray only Neem seed or Neem leaf extract go with 1:20. Four kg of Neem seeds are powdered and dissolved in 100 litres of water and filtered. Add 10 liters of cow urine and mix it with 50 gm of soap nut powder. Spraying this extract will control many pests and diseases

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