Friday, August 13, 2010

Bitter Gourd Cultivation in Continuous Pits

Bitter Gourd Cultivation in Continuous Pits by Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia) also known as bitter gourd or Karela (hindi), karathe (konkani) and kanchala (tulu) is cultivated in mainly tropical and sub tropical places throughout the world.
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer



The bitter taste is due to the presence of Momorcidin. The wonder fruit, which is consumed as a vegetable is widely used in traditional medicines and is well known for treatment against diabetes, preventing malaria and constipation. It is also used as an effective bio repellent. however the red arils of the seed (outer red coating) can be toxic to children.

Bitter gourd is an acquired taste, but its medicinal properties make it a commercially viable crop.

Climate and Soil
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • being a tropical crop, it grows well in temperatures ranging from 28 to 35 degrees celcius
  • extreme temperatures not favorable as it will result in spread of mosaic disease caused by virus
  • soils have to be well drained and loamy.
Sowing
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • the seed coat is very hard and unless conditions are favorable, germination will not take place as usual. for this , soaking the seeds in water for a minimum of 24 hours before sowing is recommended to break the seed dormancy
  • in some places water is replaced by curds and it also helps in rapid germination as the curds contain bacteria which also break the seed dormancy by softening the hard seed coat
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer


  • dried and decomposed farm yard manure is added to the pits just before sowing the seeds
  • each pit, about 5 seeds are sowed and after germination 2 plants retained in every pit
  • the distance between pits is about 45 cms
Inter Culture Operations
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • after about 21 days after sowing, the growing tendrils will begin to droop on the ground. this will require support and it being a climber, adequate arrangements need to be made
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • here the soil around each plant is gathered around to fortify the pit and organic manure is added to each pit
  • then support in the form of long sticks is placed in each pit as shown
  • the growing vines are then trained on them and a pendal is erected
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • the pits help to prevent excess leaching of water and acts as a retention barrier
  • weeding, irrigation and earthing up of the soils are made easier
  • moist soils require less irrigation, about once a week, while areas which have direct sunlight, require frequent irrigation.
  • pits also help in mulching and prevents loss of water by evaporation
Flowering and Harvest
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • spraying certain growth hormones such as Ethrel is done to increase the number of felame flowers and has to be done 2 weeks before flowering begins
  • during flowering, another dose of farm yard manure or dried and decomposed organic manure is added @ 10 kg per pit
  • if the manure is fresh and not properly decomposed, it will injur the roots and stem
From Bitter gourd cultivation in continuous pits By Pritham D'Souza Metal Farmer

  • fruits can be harvested after 60 to 75 days from the first day of sowing
  • the tender , immature fruits are preferred over ripe fruits
  • soon after harvesting, they are washed in water and dried before taking to market
Pests of Bitter Gourd and Treatment
  • the bitter taste of the fruit prevents it from getting attacked as frequent as the other crops belonging to the cucurbit family, however the major pests include the following
  1. red pumpkin beetles which are most notorious as if feeds the young and tender leaves during growth stage. also feeds on the flowers .
  2. Stink Bugs are huge and have a plate of scaly armour to prevent from natural predators attacking it. also it releases a stink liquid which helps it to escape before getting caught. it feeds on tender fruits and results on rotting of the fruit
  3. aphids and thrips can cause serious damage, while the former can colonise the plant, the latter can feed on the leaves which later curl inside
  4. leaf eating caterpillar destroy the leaves and skeletonise the plant, the silk cucoons can be seen mostly on lower surface of the leaves
  5. fruit fly bores on the growing fruit and lays the eggs which grow inside the fruit. worms can be seen in the rotting fruits
Treatment
integrated farm management practises recommend the use of both organic as well as chemical pesticides for effective control of pests . however since i advocate the use of mostly neem based sprays, i advise the following
  1. neem cake applied to the soil at 25 day intervals around the plant
  2. during the growing stage, neem solution is sprayed weekly twice @5 ml per litre water
  3. during flowering stage , Neem solution is sprayed weekly once @10 ml per litre
  4. since neem is all natural and non toxic , it can be sprayed on standing crops and when yield is seen
  5. spray neem preferably in the evenings, when its cooler between 4 to 6 pm

all data and images by Pritham dsouza aka Metalfarmer

11 comments:

  1. HI,

    Thanks to your blog, I was getting help , whenever I was in doubt while growing vegetables in containers.

    In fact, the feriliser shop guys in Hyderabd were wondering where on earth I was getting ideas to
    ask for Ethrel and other growth harmones!. Of course I did not get them in Hyderabd.

    I admire your container plants , using no soil. I have a long way to go before I can grow soilless veggies.

    God bless

    Pattu

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey pattu
    my nick name is pittu!! thanks for checking out my blog.. and am glad u found it helpful...what are th veggies u are growing??? send me photos to prithamdsouza@gmail.com

    cheers
    p2

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey good source of material on bitter gourd.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome article, i like it.Thank you share information growing various vegetable and fruits.Nice picture of growing cowpea beans.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amazing pictures vegetables and fruits growth by hydroponic technique. I hardly believe that this type of technique using hydroponic culture can create these beautiful growing of seeds. Very informative article, thanks for sharing.
    hydroponics shop

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Pittu,

    Thanks a lot for the information on growing vegetable plants, especially the images of the plants at different stages is a great idea.

    Srinivas

    ReplyDelete
  7. hi ,
    can you help me how to grow bottlegaurd at home. we have enuf place at home. i planted before but after growing to certain stage, the fruits were not growing instead it was falling, kindly help . my email id is tangiralamurthy@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi, can u tell me reason for using ethrel, cos its generally used for fruit ripening and leaf drop. does it have any other effect here. and wat ppm shall it be used
    satya

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, That was a good presentation. I am cultivating bittergourd in terrace in gunny bags. if I cultivate the same in my land in pits where sunshine is limited, what will be the effect of the yield? Which are the vegetables where sunlight requirement is not that necessary?
    You have told about organic manures in general, but can you throw some light with manuring with neem cake or coconut cake or cotton seed cake. Kindly mail me to sujaiks@live.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Brightway Exports - Leading Manufacturer & Exporters: Rotavator | Rotavator Gear Box Single Speed | Rotavator Gear Box Multi Speed | Gear Box Manufacturer | Tractor Rotavator | Gear Box. Contact: + 91 9878546522 - Dhuri, Sangrur, Punjab, India, UP , MP.


    Brightway Exports | Tractor Rotavator



    ReplyDelete