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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

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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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Hi Sir,

I live in Chicago, IL(USA). We got a garden plot for rent this year and trying to grow vegetables. I got the ridge gourd from seed in small pot and shifted to garden plot. Its been almost a month by now. I dont see much growth for the gourd. I think the soil has less nutrients in it. What kind of fertilizer is good for ridge gourd? We have summer for from may- oct. Its already June end and i dont see the plant growth. Plant is very small still. We have lots of rain here now. So water is not a problem at all per my knowledge. Can you suggest some fertilizer for ridge gourd?

Thanks,

Praveena

antoniraj (author)  pravina.rao.94 days ago

I hope you can get vermicompost or farm yard manure at your place. You can spread a handful around the root zone once in every 10 to 15 days. It is better to have your soil tested and get advice locally before using any chemical fertilizers. Normally gourds planted directly in the soil grows better than transplanted ones. Hope you can be able to harvest the fruits before winter

Hi Sir,

I see organic compost cow manure at my local store. Is it same as vermicompost or farm yard manure? Please suggest.

Thanks,

Praveena

tschandr2 days ago

Hello Sir

What is the lifespan of bitter gourd plants? I planted a few in Feb and also got fruits few times. They seem to be in their last stages now with old leaves drying out and only a few new ones coming up. The flowers are also very few and far between.

Shall I uproot the plants and start with new seeds?

Regards

antoniraj (author)  tschandr19 hours ago
They are seasonal plants. You can uproot the old ones and start with new seeds
hemasuresh6 days ago

Hi sir,

Your article is very good and informative.

I grow some vegetables, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd.

Planted nearly 2 months ago, ridge gourd is growing good (approx 5 ft) but no flowers,(removed laterals , is that is a problem ) don't know why.

Also not much growth in bottle and snake gourd (nearly 10 leaves) can u please give tips to fix this.

Thank you.

antoniraj (author)  hemasuresh4 days ago

Removing laterals help the main plant to grow well and it is not a problem. All gourd varieties need lot of sun. Hope your plants are getting good sunlight. Spread handful of vermicompost or farmyard manure around the root zone of every plant once in every 10 to 15 days

Hima BinduY18 days ago

Hi Sir,

I live in USA and I grow lots of indian vegetables that are hard to find in the markets here. One such vegetable is snake gourd the viper variety, I tried to grow that last year. the vine grew really beautiful, I saw lots of male flowers but never could see any female ones, the entire season passed by but no fruit at all. What could be the reason? You think there could only male plants? I heard that snake gourd should be grown on its own trellis, is that true? I had cucumber, snake gourd, bottle gourd on the same trellis, you think that could be the reason. Please guide, as I want to grow that here.

antoniraj (author)  Hima BinduY16 days ago
Snake gourd has both male and female flowers. The reason for only male flowers may be due to over use of nitrogen based fertilizers. Pruning the vine also helps in production of male and female flowers. Use organic fertilizers only. It is not true that snake gourd should be grown on its own trellis. Here, we also grow all gourd varieties combined.
srinrajee21 days ago
Sir..really great article. .am really impressed that you have been patiently replying to all.. so i expect you to be extend sane magnanimity to me pl.. have planted ash gourd and tbey are growing fine in a plastic cuo 4 inches deep... pl let me know as when shoild i transplant it.. can i grow it in grow bag.. or a 20 ltr paint box reqd as you have blogged..
antoniraj (author)  srinrajee21 days ago
you can transplant the seedlings after 12 to 15 days of sprouting. You can use grow bags also
Janella24 days ago
Hi, it's my first time to grow ridge gourd, i bought it from a chinese store then transplanted it, now the leaves are turning yellowish, is it because of the cold weather here in toronto? Will it survive, pls tell me what to do. Thanks
antoniraj (author)  Janella24 days ago
it is always better to grow gourd varieties from seeds directly rather than transplant... moreover they may not tolerate cold climate. If you have planted it in a pot, you can move it inside
TA31 month ago

Awesome instructions. Only place where I could find useful information on this topic. Also, is pruning of laterals and tendrils the same for bottle gourd. I wish you would write tutorials on beans, peas, etc. Thanks a lot.

antoniraj (author)  TA31 month ago
thank you... Pruning of laterals and tendrils same for bottle gourd also, which will help in producing large number of good quality fruits
NCgardener1 month ago
Can I grow snake gourd and Indian bottle gourd (lauki) on the same trellis?
Thanks.
antoniraj (author)  NCgardener1 month ago
yes, you can grow all gourd varieties together, no problem
MohammedR21 month ago

I have a young ridge gourd plant, the leaves are developing brown black patches on the edges, I am worried they may ultimately die. Is it normal or any pest infestation that might have attacked. Pls advise

antoniraj (author)  MohammedR21 month ago
It is a fungal disease known as anthracnose affecting many plants during rainfall and high temperature. Prune and throw away the affected parts. You can use Chlorothalonil, an organic compound to control this
SrividyaN1 month ago
I have a doubt regarding pruning.. I am planning to grow bitter gourd & snake hour in buchetd(like 20 l paint buckets).. Also planning to lean a wire mesh (with big squares) and planning to lean in on the wall(slanting)so, I'll have around 2 feet gap between the trellis & wall to enter inside & pick fruit. Now, as my Trellies being rested on the ground, can I let the laterals grow.. Pls help me out.

Also, I've read that we can grow one bitter gourd per 20 l can.. How snt snake gourd? Can I let SG trail on a tree or do I have to build a trellis?
antoniraj (author)  SrividyaN1 month ago
As your trellis is rested on the ground, you can allow the laterals to grow on it. As for the snake gourd you can trail it on a tree
Sunglowart1 month ago

thank you very much for the instructions.I have tried growing bitter gourds and they have always failed I am trying sponge gourd this year I hope i will have more success with your instructions.I will be growing them in pots. which size pot would you recommend?

antoniraj (author)  Sunglowart1 month ago

Gourds generally grow their roots deep and wide. So choose a container of about 12 inches wide and 20 inches in depth. Used paint drums will also serve the purpose

tschandr3 months ago
Very nice article. I am trying out bitter gourds in grow bags. I' ve planted 2 of them per bag but the soil quantity is less around 6-7 inches in depth. The bag has more capacity around 12 inches. Can i fill more soil to the bag on the top or i need to shift the planta to new bags?
antoniraj (author)  tschandr3 months ago
No need to shift the plant to new bag. As your bags have enough space, just fill soil as they grow up
Is it ok to fill more soil on the top? Tomato plants can grow roots from stem. Is it the same for gourds also?
antoniraj (author)  tschandr3 months ago

it is ok to fill soil as they grow. Gourds grow their roots deep and wide

Roots generally grow downwards so I got this doubt whether adding soil from the top will really help. Will there be more roots coming out from the stem portion which goes under soil after filling?

tschandr tschandr3 months ago

This is how it looks right now.

IMG_20150327_120812182.jpgIMG_20150327_120834584.jpg
antoniraj (author)  tschandr3 months ago

they do not have much space for adding further soil. You need to have some free space also from the top of the grow bag. Just train them on supports as they grow

Actually I folded the top edges of the bags. If I unfold them it'll add another 3-4 inches i think. I also see some lateral shoots coming from nodes. As per you suggestion I'll cut all such branches till the trellis level. Planning to use thin coir ropes on the black frame as trellis.

Thank you sir! Following your instructions I had some success in my little terrace garden

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Kamoldip1 month ago

Sir, Thank you for the helpful tutorial. I am from Bangladesh and happy to read your informative steps. what you write is all new to me. I read many Bangladeshi Site. Noooooooooooo. Just ABCD. Whatever, I am aplaying your instructions since today.

Best regards.

antoniraj (author)  Kamoldip1 month ago
Thank you Kamoldip for your appreciation...I am very happy you find my instructables helpful to you
pravina.rao.92 months ago
dodropinsoon2 months ago
Dear Sir,

I am a fresher at gardening but plan to start my own little vegetable garden on my terrace. I live in Oman and the summers here will touch 50 degrees. My terrace faces the west though. Can you give me a few tips on what are the best veggies to plant for this climatic condition? Thanks in advance.

Warm Regards,
Pooja
antoniraj (author)  dodropinsoon2 months ago
Hi Pooja,
I think you can grow all sorts of vegetable in Oman. You can try tomatoes, chilies, okra, Brinjal and all. Do not expose the plants to extreme sunlight and do not allow the soil to become dry. I hope you can get all sorts of vegetable seeds there locally. Also get in touch with your neighbors who have balcony garden and ask their opinion. Good luck
tamilselvan.s2 months ago

I am growing bitter gourd at home and the young fruits become yellow and drops out as soon as it emerges....what could be the reason...I am in Dubai and it is very hot out here...

antoniraj (author)  tamilselvan.s2 months ago
May be due to very hot weather the young female flowers are not properly pollinated. Try hand pollinating very early morning as the efficiency of male flowers is lost by noon.
amu.karthick2 months ago

thanks for your reply sir,,,,,i did B.Sc(Horticulture) from HC& RI Periyakulam,under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Now i am doing M.Sc(Vegetable science) @ Gujarat. My native is sivakasi in tamil nadu. what about u sir?

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