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.

Step 1: Seeds

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.
<p>Please put Luffa in the title and key words.........so more people can find this! I will be on my fourth year of growing luffas and I adore using them for dish scrubbing and in the shower. Thanks for your instructable!!</p>
Thank you for the suggestion. I have added &quot;Luffa&quot; to key words
<p>I want to add that the growing season is short in Northern Illinois so often I have to dry my luffa gourds out in the microwave and then peel them...I try not to do this to save the seeds, however.</p>
All my bitter gourds are turning yellow at an early stage itself.... They are not growing fully... What to do ?
There may be many reasons.<br>1. They are not properly pollinated. Try hand pollinating<br>2. Due to extreme climates like cold weather or dry high temperature<br>3. Moisture condition. If the plant is in a container, you need to water few times as required to keep the soil moist. If it is in ground make sure you are not over-watering the plant.<br>4. Do not over-fertilize
Sir i have planted the ridge gourd.and its been a month and above..U may see the fruit is ripenning before the flower blooms.There is no way to pollinate.Can u suggest me a remedy please do reply.Thank you
<p>Initially it may happen. Do not over water and do not add more compost / fertilizer. You can also prune and train your plant on a trellis. You will get good male and female flowers soon. Look for them early morning and hand-pollinate the flowers</p>
<p>It is possible to propagated the bitter gourd by undergroun stem?</p>
I have not tried it. you can try it and post your results for others to follow
What is a node? Thanks for your instructions. I am ready to harvest my very first bottle gourd.
If you closely look at the plant, you will find leaves and buds growing from places along the stem of the plant. That place is called a Node. Enjoy your harvest...
Is it points where both leaves and buds grow together or also points where just leaves grow?
<p>points where both leaves and buds grow together and also points where just leaves grow are all known as nodes</p>
Thanks. I wasn't very strict about following your instructions this time and if I am lucky, may have 2 more weeks before it gets too cold. But your point on no laterals below the trellis is very important. But my trellis is only about 4 feet tall on a raised bed. It is 3x5. Do you think I will be able to get a greater yield in this space by pruning below the trellis?
<p>you can get good yield as height of the trellis does not affect it. only thing is you have to crawl below the trellis to harvest the vegetables</p>
Thank you!
<p>I have planted a few karela seeds and now have some very healthy young plants which are growing robustly. I am preparing to build a structure to support their growth. </p><p>Will this plant do well and produce fruit on a trellis which is strictly vertical with no horizontal plane? </p><p>I'm asking because all of the images I have seen show this plant growing and producing fruit on a horizontal structure. In these photos the plant climbs up the sides and then across the top but I only see fruit hanging from top.</p><p>I only have room to build a trellis with one vertical plane. I can't imagine why this would prevent the plant from fruiting as it seems illogical but I thought I'd ask. </p>
If you do not have room for making horizontal plane, no problem for karela. They will find their own support
I have ridge gourd plant where leaves are turning yellow in color. I have another pot which has an healthy growth Please see the photos request expert advice
If the yellowing leaves are at the lower level of the plant and the plant at the growing end are healthy, it is normal as older leaves will dry and fall off. If the entire plant is affected like this, then it may be a fungal infection. Better to uproot and discard the plant to prevent it affecting the healthier one
<p>hello sir</p><p>my bottle gourd vine produced a large number of small guards but none of them grew to an adult fruit and fall. what may be the reason of not producing any bottle gourds. please help me what will i do.please mail me at amitnagarvfx@gmail.com</p>
This may be due to non-pollinating of young female flowers. try to hand pollinate the flowers early morning. I hope you will get good fruits soon
<p>sir following your instruction iam growing ridge gourd for the first time.plant has reached the trellis,it took 28 nodes to reach there.i pruned the main stem after 12 more nodes over the trellis.now laterals are growing frrom all these nodes.my doubt is shoud we need to prune these laterals too after 12 nodes? and shouldl we prune all the tendrils above the trellis too?again if more branches come from these laterals-what to do? since iam growing this iln a big pot should i let the plant keep on growing,when will it produce flowers?</p><p>laterals too after 12 nodes?</p>
Yes, prune all those laterals after 12 nodes and also the tendrils if possible. Most of the male and female flowers appear between 4th and 10th nodes. If you do not find any flowers in the laterals prune them also. Provide good support as you have planted it in a pot. Do not add too much of nitrogen based fertilisers. This will increase vigorous plant growth but less flowers
<p>Dear sir,</p><p>I have planted Sponge guard and bottle guard together in one planter. However, sponge guard plant is drying up while bottle guard is doing fine. What may be the reason and remedy? watering is in time.</p>
it seems that some insect cut through the sponge gourd vine. Please look all along the vine. Prune at the point where the insect damaged the vine and it will regrow
Hello Sir,<br><br>I am a starter in home gardening. I am planning to plant a bitter gourd in a pot and make it climb on my kitchen grill. Can you please share your valuable tips and pest control method to grow a healthy kitchen garden to my email id adwait.sawantsg@gmail.com<br> Also,how much time is required for the plant to have flowers ?
<p>Please see attached files sent to your mail on growing Bitter gourds</p>
<p>I planted bitter gourd on a trellis over a year ago. Lately the leaves have been showing holes and also turning brown. It is also not producing the number of fruits as before. I originally had two vines but that has increased with self-sowing.</p><p>Is it advisable to uproot the vines and replant after amending the soil OR to cut back the vines? I have looked at the vines but they have interwoven over the months. Note: we have year-round sun (and rain - no cold weather).</p>
The plants are more than one year old. So, better to uproot and plant new ones. As you have sunlight all year round with no cold weather, you can grow gourds any time you like.
Hello sir,<br>I am facing a problem with bottle gourd plant. Fruits get infected at earlier stage as shown in the pic. What could be the reason and please suggest.
These spots on the young fruit may be caused by fruit flies. If you find fruits like these, prune and discard as they may not grow into healthy vegetable. Most of the farmers use chemical pesticides which is not advisable. You can spray the young fruits with few drops of neem oil mixed with about one liter of water. Alternately, make ginger + garlic + chili paste, mix small quantities in water and spray on the young fruits
<p>hello sir really very informative steps i had started a kitchen garden many vegetables i have harvested but only ridge gourd it had been spread very widely but there is no male or female flowers for the other wine i have receive some male flowers no female and the trellis i have planned horizontally to the wall do it matters i never had pruning will it help me out will be thankful if u reply</p>
You need to prune unnecessary vines. you can train the vines horizontally to the wall, no problem, but make sure the plant gets some sun light. Too much of Nitrogen based fertilizers will help the plant to grow vigorously without any flowers. So stop adding fertilizers. Proper pruning and training the plant will get you more flowers and fruits
<p>Very nice information...Thank you for that. I have also planted gourds in my garden but the leaves and some time also the fruits when small gets dried out. what could be the reason? Please guide.</p>
May be due to over-watering. Water only when required.
<p>Hi - Very nice info on growing gourds.. This is my first year growing so i am a bit confused on the pruning part - When u say cut the main stem after 12 nodes, do u mean count 12 nodes from the bottom of the plant to the top or 12 nodes from the top of the trellis n prune it. Please clarify. Am assuming the same technique works for bitter and bottle gourds as well.</p><p>Thanks !</p>
Count 12 nodes above the trellis and prune. If you count 12 nodes from the bottom of the plant then your plant will not reach the trellis. All other laterals, count from where they started growing. You can follow the same technique for other gourd varieties also.
<p>hello, this is all wonderful and helpful information. Thank you so much!! This is my 1st year growing gourds and i already have two beautiful teenage gourds which i hand pollinated 8 days ago..i had a question to the approximate yield of each plant. I have 6 bottle gourd plants and all are doing well... According to your experience, how many gourds can i harvest each week? </p><p>I have a mild white fly infestation from a near by hibiscus plant. I see around 1-2 white flies on each alternate leaf.. What can i use to stop the infestation? Please advise...</p><p>I also have tomato, cucumber and pepper plants within a small backyard garden and i m worried it will spread...thank you again for all the info and your advice.</p>
with six bottle gourd plants, you will harvest more than you can consume. the yield depends on how you manage your plants by pruning, providing support, watering, pest control and fertilizing.<br><br>The mild white fly infestation are caused by mealybugs. trim the most affected parts and throw them far away. Hibiscus plants are easily affected with these bugs and they spread to everything surrounding it.<br>You can remove them by spraying a water jet. Otherwise wash the affected parts with kerosene mixed with water.<br><br>Do not over-water as to much moisture will increase the infestation.<br>
Thank you for your quick reply..before planting, i tried searching as to how many plants i would need for a family of 4 but was unable to get that info, so now i have 6 bottle gourd and 6 bitter gourd plants ?... My neighbours are going to be happy! <br>I pruned each plant the way you have outlined, i have cattle panel arch trellis for support - around 10 ft in length and 8 ft width.. The ht would be around 6.5 ft. All my plants are in diy grow boxes with a water reservoir, so water is not a problem. I am not sure about pests as it is my 1st year growing gourds and in such numbers. When i planted the saplings, i used handful of bone meal, 1 tbsp epsom salt, and 1-2 handfuls vermi compost. The potting mix is soilless with peat moss and cow manure addition. I also put in 1 handful of vegetable food meant for squash, eggplants, tomates, cucumbers etc.<br><br>I will try the water and kerosene method and keep it up each week. Thank you again for your response and this wonderful treasure of information and experience.
Hi i have grown bitter gurad. Earlier it was placed in lobbie with 2 hrs sunlight plant grown well.then i placed it on 3rd floor outside where shed is there and sublight comes after 2pm but i am seeing that my plant leave turning yellow and not that green as it was earlier. More flowers are not openning up really well fruit gwoth is also slow. Please auggest. I water plant once in a day.
Potted plants lose water very soon and become dry. Instead of watering once in a day, try watering in small quantities 2 to 3 times a day so that the soil is kept moist not wet. You can also place a plastic water bottle with a small hole at the bottom which will add drops of water to keep the soil moist. Do not add to much fertilizer. A handful of vermicompost or organic compost per month is enough. Mix the compost well with top soil. Also try pruning the laterals and keep the plant in a manageable condition
Very detailed info , thank u raj <br>I planted my ridge gourd store bought ( pink color ) seeds in good potting mix compost , after scraping &amp; soaked in warm water for 24 hrs too . But they r not germinating . What could be the reason ? I live in Boston area in Us . Now the temp's are good too.
I checked my seeds they just look like how planted.this is the fourth time happened to me ,trying from last two months ( indoor , out door ).Changing each time different tech's. But no hope. I just have my last round of seeds , let me give a final try . My strong gut is I got not a good seeds( this is the 3 rd packet Iam using ).any suggestions would be great To see at least one seed germinating. <br>Thanks again.
<p>Please see step 2 where I have shown different methods for germinating the seeds. Plant few seeds in paper cups and few wrapped with soil in banana stem. You can also wrap the seeds in newspapers with soil and keep it moist. If your seeds are good then they will show signs of germination. Otherwise it is better to get good seeds. Hope you will get at least few germinating</p>
Ok, Thanku . I will try with news papers
Germination of ridge gourd seeds may take some time. So please wait for a few more days. you can just dig out one seed and see how it is. If you find them rotten then replant fresh seeds. I think this is the best season in your place to grow gourd varieties.
<p>Hello, I have planted chilli in my balcony garden, I live in India, Pune. My flat is on 8th floor so there are very less bees/flies to pollinate. My plants are healthy and are bearing lots of flowers but the fall off with stems. I give them vermicompost every 15 days, 1 spoon. I have tried had pollination also but it did not work too. I have heard the chilli self pollinate. Please advise. My email is ipshu283@gmail.com</p>
Chilies are very easy to grow in containers. Place the pots in your balcony where it is getting some direct sun light at least for a few hours in a day.. Stop adding vermicompost or any other fertilizer and water when required. Hope your plants will bear fruits soon.

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Bio: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan ... More »
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