Looking for a complete guide on how to grow Bitter Gourd at home. Well in this article you are gong to learn everything on growing bitter gourd at your home.
Bitter gourd is a vital vegetable which has a unique bitter taste. It has a lot of health benefits for people with diabetes or other health issues. People consume it for its medicinal value.
The origin of bitter gourd is tropical Asia. Particularly in the Indo-Burma region. It belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae.
Bitter gourd is a monoecious plant. The bitter taste of bitter gourd is due to the presence of momordicin.
Bitter gourd has many names, such as bitter melon and balsam pear.
People in Kerala widely consume bitter gourd for its health benefits. It is grown in India, Africa, Malaysia, and tropical America.
The duration of bitter gourd is 100-120 days.
Significant varieties of bitter gourd:
Pusa Vishesh, Pusa Do Mausami, Pusa Hybrid 1, Priya (VK1), Preethi (MC4), Priya, Co1, Coimbatore Long White, COBgH1, Konkan Tara, Punjab 14, Kalyanpur, Baramasi, Hirkani, Phule Green.
Bitter gourd grows well in a warm climate. For better growth and flowering, the ideal temperature should be around 20-30C.
Well-drained sandy loam with fertility is ideal for crop growth.
In Rajasthan, farmers sow bitter gourd from January to March. In Kerala, farmers plant bitter gourd from January to February.
In Tamilnadu, important varieties are Co1, MDU 1, COBgoH 1(Hybrid), Arka harit, Priya and preethi are mainly cultivated.
The ideal PH should be around 6-7.5.
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How to grow bitter gourd at home in pots?
In this blog, you can easily understand how you can grow bitter gourd on pots or containers using trellis support.
The seed coat of bitter gourd is hard to make it germinate quickly. Presoaking seeds for 12 hours is very much essential step.
Preparation of soil:
Mix the soil with 50% cocopeat and 50% vermicompost in a small container to feed the plants.
After the seeds are soaked, you can plant them in the mixture and cover them with topsoil.
Cover the seed with soil, then spray water over it to prevent dryness. Keep the seedling pot in a semi-shady area for a few days.
Pot or grow bag selection:
You can see seedling emerges from the seedling pot after 15-20 days. Now prepare the potting mix for pot culture; the ratio is like 50%normal garden soil+40% cow dung compost+5% neem cake powder+5%bone dust, +1 tsp Trichoderma powder.
Now transplant the baby bitter gourd plants in the large pot or grow bag. Add water after planting.
As bitter gourd is a vine plant, it requires vertical trellis support after 15 days of planting.
To provide that support, you can use bamboo sticks and place them on the pot at each corner to climb the plant. Tie a cotton thread or rope around each bamboo stick for balance.
You can make a vertical trellis for growing bitter gourd plants. Employ mustard cake liquid fertilizer after a gap of one week to provide nutrition to the bitter gourd plants.
Spray neem oil to protect the plant from pests and disease. To protect the plant from fruit flies, use a pheromone trap. After 40 days of transferring to an enormous container, you will notice the emergence of flowers.
Bitter gourd is a monoecious plant requiring natural pollinators or manual hand pollination. To hand pollinate, take a male flower and rub it on the female flower to complete the pollination process
You can apply vermicompost to boost the nutrition of bitter gourd plants.
Following the above steps, you can quickly grow a healthy bitter gourd plant at your home. After two months, you can see bitter baby gourd grown into a completely healthy plant.
How to grow bitter gourd from seeds at home?
Cultivating bitter gourd resembles cucumber and melons because it belongs to the same family, Cucurbitaceae. The only difference is bitter gourd seeds should be soaked for 24 hours before sowing; it leads to good germination if soaked for 24 hours.
The seed coat of bitter gourd is a bit harder; soaking helps loosen the seed coat.
Step 1- Bitter gourd requires a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight daily. Hence proper selection of place is very much important. The selected location should be with appropriate sunlight and ventilation.
Step 2- Prepare the pot with good drainage facilities and a capacity to hold 15-20 kg of potting soil and compost. Fill the pot with potting soil until it reaches the container’s rim.
Step 3- sow the seeds in the pot by making tiny holes and cover with soil. Since bitter gourd is grown in summer, the soil gets dried quickly. Frequent irrigation is mandatory.
Step 4- Trellis is very important as bitter gourd are vine plants. The trellis helps the bitter gourd to grow vertically.
Step 5 – Wait a couple of weeks, and you will see the bitter gourds sprout. Once you find seeds that have grown into young plants, transplant them to a garden or a larger pot.
Step 6 – The first small leaves will emerge in the second week. From then on, the seedlings will start growing into tiny plants. Add organic matter to the plants starting from the second week.
Step 7- Regularly pruning(removing extra leaves and side shoots) and thinning(removing other plants) should be done.
Step 8- We should use neem oil to avoid pests and diseases. Remove the weeds around the bitter gourd to control the pest.
Step 9 – Bitter gourd will start fruiting within 50-60 days after sowing. The ideal size of a bitter gourd should be 4 inches, and the colour should be dark green.
Step 10- The harvesting can be done for up to 6 weeks and even further. Harvest the bitter gourd at proper maturity, not when the fruit is too small and too hard and fibrous.
Bitter gourd germination time:
Bitter gourd requires a hot and humid climate to grow well. Around 8 to 10 days is the germination time of bitter gourd if the temperature ranges between 20c. Germination will be better when sown fresh and water soaked.
Pest: Bitter gourd is usually affected by cucurbit fruit flies. An adult fly enters the fruit and lays eggs inside it. Minor pest includes aphids and thrips; this pest causes viral diseases such as yellow mosaic to the leaf portion.
To control spray, imidacloprid 0.3ml/ litre
To control diseases such as powdery mildew, fusarium wilt, downy mildew, bitter gourd mosaic, and anthracnose, drench the soil with Trichoderma viridae and pseudomonas fluorescens 20-25/litre.
Best Organic homemade fertilizer for bitter gourd:
Chemical fertilizer kills the microorganism present in the soil, and chemical fertilizers used in the long run they may affect the nutrients present in the soil. Organic Wastes are the perfect fertilizer for bitter gourd.
Kitchen wastes such as the cut portion of vegetables and their peels after decomposition act as excellent organic manure for plants. These manures enrich the soil with many nutrients and help microorganisms grow.
Use liquid seaweed fertilizer for bitter gourd plants.
Organic foliar fertilizer can double the bitter gourd yield.
Weeds are a zero-cost investment and excellent fertilizer. Dry the weeds under sunlight first, then chop them into small pieces for mulching.
Weeds are a rich source of nitrogen, and they fulfil the plant’s nitrogen requirement.
Use both animal and plant waste as fertilizer. Use grass clippings from your lawn as fertilizer for plants.
Collect the leaves from your garden and dry their leaves, making them a fine powder. Leaves are a rich source of trace minerals which help earthworms to grow.
If you find earthworms in the soil, the soil is fertile. To prevent weed growth, use crushed leaves mixed with potting soil or leaves for mulching.
Use a green tea mix with water every four weeks for the best homemade fertilizer for bitter gourds.
These include blood meal (How To Prepare Blood Meal Fertilizer At Home. Homemade Liquid) fish emulsion (Fish Fertilizer For Plants – When And How To Apply Fish Emulsion) bone meal Wikipedia. This type of animal waste is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium. These fertilizers enrich the soil and promote a healthy root system.
Milk consumption is not only good for human beings but also for plants when sprayed as foliar spray. Control calcium deficiency by giving the plants a foliar spray of milk
The milk should be diluted with water in a ratio of 50:50 (50%water and 50%milk) and sprayed as a foliar application.
Eggshell is crushed and used as fertilizer; it is rich in calcium carbonate, a crucial mineral for strengthening plant cell walls. Other minor minerals present in the shell are potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Health benefits of bitter gourd:
- Bitter melon is a medicine for diabetes because it reduces blood sugar levels.
- It has high cancer-fighting properties.
- Bitter gourd is full of goodness; it reduces blood cholesterol levels.
- Good for skin and hair as the bitter gourd is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, it fights against acne and skin blemishes.
- Reduce hair loss drastically.
- Bitter gourd juice detoxifies the liver and acts as a cleanser.
- As it has a high amount of antioxidants, it purifies the blood.
- Bitter gourd is rich in vitamin A, so it improves your vision.