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Growing Gourds (Ridge Gourd, Bitter Gourd and Snake Gourd)

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It is spring... Time for garden enthusiasts like me to wake up and prepare the backyard to plant our own vegetables... Even people with very little space use their terrace to plant vegetables in containers. Gourd varieties like Ridge gourd, Bitter gourd and Snake gourd are some of the popular vegetables which can be very easily grown in the home garden. These plants do not require much attention. However, by putting in a little more effort you will enjoy a great yield from the same plant from which you used to harvest very few fruits only.

A step-by-step instructable on growing Ridge Gourd at your home garden... These methods apply to other varieties of gourds like snake gourd and bitter gourd also.
 
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Step 1: Seeds

Picture of Seeds
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Let us start with seeds...

Either you can save seeds from previous year's fruits allowing one or two to fully mature and dry in the plant itself or you can buy seeds from shops.

in the first picture you can see the ridge gourd seeds being collected from last year's dried fruit. The seeds are protected by the sponge-like network of fibers. You can extract the seeds from the fruit whenever you are planning to plant.

The second picture shows the seeds stored in cow dung. You can harvest the matured seeds and press them into flattened fresh cow dung and dry it in shade. Cow dung is natural protector and will not allow any pests to damage the seeds. You can break the dried  cow dung cake and take out the seeds any time.

The third picture is of the store-bought seeds. These seeds are treated with chemical pesticides and are artificially colored to show the presence of pesticides. Take care while handling store-bought, chemically treated seeds and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
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VrkV18 hours ago

how many days will it take for rigid gourd,snake gourd,cucumber,bottle gourd and broad beans plants to produce their respective vegetables .I have planted all the above mentioned plants before one month and i am not getting any flowers...what to do?

antoniraj (author)  VrkV17 hours ago
they will take 2 to 3 months for flowering and fruiting. wait for few more days

sir i want to know viral diseases of sponge gourd.

imtiaz ali10 hours ago
imtiaz ali10 hours ago
Vrkanani6 days ago
My spunge gaurd growing fruit but it's daying small , what's wrong??
antoniraj (author)  Vrkanani5 days ago
they seem to be not properly pollinated. try manually pollinating the female flowers
Vrkanani6 days ago
My ridge gaurd have fruit but it's daying small , what is wrong?
antoniraj (author)  Vrkanani5 days ago
they seem to be not properly pollinated. try manually pollinating the female flowers
NikhilD39 days ago

Hi There

I just started growing this year, I've grown bottle gourd, ridged gourd and cucumber plants. Its been 3 months now, they started flowering together since a month ago and they are still flowering but there is not even a single vegetable I got :-(

bottle gourd has only white flowers and ridged gourd has only yellow flowers, both of these plants are entangled together so that sometimes I could not tell which one is which. Also I did not do any pruning they have spread like all over the lawn. Cucumber plant is separate and has small yellow flowers. I just read your article and now thinks that pollination is something which could be required but I don't think if I have male and female flowers coming on my plants ? Any suggestions please ?

antoniraj (author)  NikhilD39 days ago
You should have managed the plants by pruning from the start itself. No problem, you can do it now. Remove whatever laterals below the trellis level or 3 to 4 feet from the top if it vertical. Make sure only the main stems remain below this level. Now thin out the laterals on the trellis leaving about 12 nodes in each lateral. You will have both male and female flowers soon. it is ok about the color of flowers. look early morning for female flowers. If you find any you can pollinate them manually
harshaa112 days ago

how to save seeds from bottle gourd, ridge gourd and long yard bean(Chawali in hindi)

antoniraj (author)  harshaa111 days ago
Allow one or two fruits to mature in the vine itself. When they are completely dry, you can collect the seeds. Commercial vendors protect and save the seeds using chemicals. We store ridge gourd, bottle gourd and bitter gourd seeds in fresh cow dung. You can save long yard bean seeds in plastic or glass containers after drying them in shade. they should not contain any moisture
Thank you sir
ChamV13 days ago
Hi, my ridge guard plant has some white stripes on leaves suggest something.
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antoniraj (author)  ChamV13 days ago
seems like fungal attack. you can try neem oil spray. mix 5 ml neem oil with one liter water and spray on leaves.
RaviM5 made it!15 days ago
Pointed guord in my garden does not hshahave white flower. But they have yellow ones. Why is the difference .can we eat. Looking for a reply
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antoniraj (author)  RaviM515 days ago
No problem they are all same. You can eat the fruits
Thank you Mr Antony. Your blog is awesome. And the blog regarding the medicinal plants is so professional. Capt MRavi
AlborzA20 days ago

Hi,

I didn't know how to grow bitter melon until I saw your
post just now. Because of that, I got these tall metal "trellis" as
shown in the photos, which the plant wraps around. Your article says to
cut 12 nodes above trellis and any below trellis, but if the setup is
like this, what should I do? I can't plant it out of the pot as we don't
have room; should I add a trellis above the red metal support? What can
I do now? And how do I prune and cut off laterals with a setup like
this?

Much appreciated!!

bitter4.jpegbitter3.jpegbitter2.jpegbitter1.jpeg
antoniraj (author)  AlborzA19 days ago

Your plant is growing well. Just leave it as it is. After flowering, you can prune the laterals after say about four to five fruits to get healthy ones.

Thank you very much for the help! :)

raiavinash19 days ago
Hi Antoniraj,
I'm growing bitter gourds. Overall length of the plant(/main stem) was be 6-7 feet. I accidently cut off its main stem about 2 feet from the top 10 minutes back while sprunning. Argh!!!!
But there are 4 suckers (of about one inch each) still there in the main stem.
Have I harmed the plant real bad? :(
How do you suggest I proceed from here!
Please advice...
antoniraj (author)  raiavinash19 days ago

Nothing to worry, just leave the plant as it is. Laterals will grow from the nodes below the point where you cut off the main stem

thanks Antoni.. God bless you.

Good Morning Antoni,

These are my findings.........I waited for dusk and the buds that were closed during the day opened up. They are a distinct off white color and almost yellow (pollen like) in color. This tells me that the yellow flowers are the male flowers, and the white are the female. I have not seen any of the flowers with a fruit bulge at the bottom, almost like a "giraffe's head with long bulging neck": I did check out this site though and it confirms that the male flower has a yellowish appearance. Can you confirm this is true? Thanks much......have a great day.

http://www.thegourdreserve.com/gourd_flowers.html

Quote: The Male flower, (top) has a yellowish satin appearance, this is due to the pollen that is concentrated on the center parts of the male flower. The female flower initially has a glossy or semi glossy appearance. If you use ourhand pollination technique, you will be able to see a very noticeable difference when the female is properly pollinated as it will take on a satin appearance from the pollen.

antoniraj (author)  Calbygardener19 days ago

yellowish and satin appearance of the snake gourd male & female flowers rspectively may be due to the pollen. there are so many varieties of snake gourd, most of them have white flowers only

Hi Antoni, just saw your site and am pretty impressed. Thank you for educating me. I live here in Northern California and have been growing snake, ridge, pumpkin, eggplant, capsicum, heirloom tomatoes, winter gourd and hot peppers and some Mangalore veggies since 2009. Had great results early on, but since the decline of bees and other winged insects combined with powdery mildew I have had a dwindling harvest. My query today is the small to zero female flowers on my snake gourd plant. Only one plant survived, as compared with three ridge gourd and a lot of cucumber. I had exactly 5 snake gourds and maybe 6 ridge gourds (vegetables) last year. This year I have seen a few nature pollinated ridge gourd so far (transplanted from my indoor pots on May 22nd 2015) and will use your instructions to hand pollinate the others. As for the snake gourd plant, I have not seen any female flowers. I read today that the snake gourd female flowers open up only at night, or just before darkness sets in. I will keep an eye out for them later this evening......I will also post some pictures of my plants and the vertical trellis I train them on. Also need to prune these plants, something I have never done yet. A bit confused about the laterals and the nodes.......could you post a picture of this section so that we don't go pruning the wrong parts? Thanks so very much for taking the time to share your knowledge with others. By the way I fertilize once every 10 days with "weed tea", tea made from the weeds that grow in my yard. Am I using the wrong fertilizer? Could this be just nitrogen?? . . Thanks once again......

antoniraj (author)  Calbygardener20 days ago

If you look at Step 4, you can see a lateral growing sideways in the first picture which I have removed. Node is the point from which laterals, tendrils and flowers grow. By removing unnecessary laterals, the main plant gets more nutrients and grows healthy. As for as your fertilizer is concerned, adding the same type of fertilizer like "weed tea" again and again will provide same kind of nutrients only. The plants won't have other nutrients required for their growth which may be missing in weed tea. So try to mix other kind of organic fertilizers like vermi compost, farm yard manure and other kinds from time to time.

For hand-pollinating the flowers, visit your garden very early morning. It is the time the male flowers start to open up like here in this pic

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Thanks very much, Antoni. The male flowers were open this morning as you describe. I was unable to spot any female flower with a bulge at the bottom. It has been 54 days since I transplanted the gourd plants. Do the female flowers take time? I understand the males arrive first. Since I am growing them up a vertical trellis, it was hard to decide what to prune off. So I left 4 laterals in place with the main stem. I did rearrange them to grow vertically up instead of across. it's too bright now for a picture. Will post later this evening. Thanks again Sir.

antoniraj (author)  Calbygardener19 days ago

you can wait for a few more days to get female flowers. Normally, the new shoot after pruning will produce more female flowers. Prune the 4 laterals also after about 12 nodes

Good Tuesday morning to you Antoni. i have attached pics of the trellis spread and of the snake gourd plant setup. Please comment on the sex of the white flowers and the pruning location of the vines. Thanks a million.....JR

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antoniraj (author)  Calbygardener20 days ago

you have a very nice setup. The white flowers with the spider's web like structure on them are male flowers. the female flowers do not have them and are attached to a small immature fruit. it is very difficult to point out the pruning locations from these photographs. However, you can trim off any unnecessary and unhealthy laterals from the plant as you can visualize. try to grow a single stem up to the top of the trellis.

ToufeeqA121 days ago
RadhaV23 days ago
Hi sir, This is the third time that I have read your article. I can't thank you enough. Thought that climbers were messy and difficult to manage. But your article has inspired me!

I have a terrace garden and so plan to grow the climber in a bucket with 4 corner stakes tied by wires and a centre one. I use cocopeat and vermicompst with soil or sand. Would be grateful if you could suggest a potting mix. Will this set up be good for snake ridge and bottle gourd too?

Also , you mentioned to prune the main plant once it has 12 nodes over the trellis. Does that mean plucking or pinching off the top leaf and stem? since we have pruned all side shoot will this again make the plant grow side shoots? Please let me know if you also answer queries in Facebook. Thanks once again for your contribution and will look forward to your reply.
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antoniraj (author)  RadhaV22 days ago
you can use this type of trellis system for growing ridge gourd, bitter gourd and shorter variety of snake gourd. For longer snake gourd varieties you need a trellis where the gourds can hang down and grow lengthy. Use a stronger trellis system for supporting Bottle gourds. Your potting mix is ok.

For pruning, you have to pinch off the entire stem 12 nodes above the trellis and tie it down. This will produce more branches on top of the trellis. Even after pruning all side shoots below the trellis, they tend to grow again. Just pinch them off. I have added you one of the gardening groups in FB, you can also post your queries in the group
Thank you for the quick reply. Will post the pics once I start. Plan to begin with bitter gourd.
RadhaV RadhaV23 days ago
I meant the trellis setup of the pic... Can I use this trellis setup for snake, ridge and bottle gourd?
VindhyaJ24 days ago

Hi Raj, Thanks for your detailed information. I just started gardening this year and have a question. I see the male and female flowers but the female flower doesn't open up, the male flower opens up and falls off. Can you please help me.

antoniraj (author)  VindhyaJ23 days ago
Remove unnecessary laterals and prune the healthy ones after 10 to 12 nodes. The flowers between 5th to 10th node produce healthy fruits. Hand pollinate if possible in early morning. Do not over water and also do not over-use fertilizers
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