A step by step for growing Agakara from seeds
Today, we learn growing Agakara for profit at home, outdoors, in pots. We also cover Agakara plant care and harvesting procedure. Agakara is a vegetable of the monsoon season and it is also known as a spiny gourd. It has tiny spines all over its body and that is why it is called as “Spiny Gourd”. It is also called as Teasle gourd, Kakrol, Kankro, Kartoli, Agakara and Bhat korola. It is simply cultivated on unfertile soil. Agakara is mostly cultivated in the mountain regions of India. Agakara is coming from “Cucurbitaceous”. It has tiny spines and these are dark green in color and change color when getting ripe from light green to yellow. Size of Agakara vegetable is normally 2 to 3 cm in diameter.
The botanical name of Agakara is called as Momordica charantia; the pods are dark green. They change color as they get ripe from light green to yellow color, indicating they are overripe and bitterer. Growing Agakara is easy. Agakara vegetable grows up quickly and fruits productively.
Different varieties of Agakara:
There are two varieties of Agakara (Khekhsa) obtainable which are normally found, but with different sizes, it is very popular in small Khekhsa (local) and its price is also higher than Hybrid Agakara.
Indira Agakara (RMF 37) Hybrid variety is a new commercial variety of spiny gourd which has been developed by the Indira Gandhi Agriculture University. Mostly Agakara cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa. This excellent variety is generally resistance free.
Climate and soil requirement for growing Agakara:
Spine gourd or Agakara thrives well under warm humid climate. This can be grown successfully in areas where the temperature ranges 25 to 40°C with an annual rainfall of I80-200 cm. It grows very well under sandy loam soils, rich in organic matter. Optimum soil pH level for the crop ranges from 6.0-7.0.
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Sun requirement for growing Agakara:
Provide full sun to this spine gourd growing. Also, if you want to grow it on your patio, terrace or balcony grows it near the wall so that it can go up along with it.
Temperature requirement for growing spine gourd:
In the initial phase of growth, growing spine gourds require a temperature ranges 25 to 40°C. Humid and warm temperature accelerates the growth of the plant. It is more resistant to low temperatures than other plants of this family however requires the hot temperature and humidity to grow.
Spine gourd propagation
The easiest way to propagate spine gourd is by tubers or by seeds. Always use good quality seeds and purchase from the reputed store, otherwise, there will be poor germination of seeds. Before planting seeds accurately treat, this will get rid of many fungal diseases.
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Seed sowing and germination
The Agakara does not require much effort; in a 20-liter pot, you can grow 3 to 4 plants. The distance between plants needs to be approximately 4 to 5 inch, so that roots of all plants can spread well in all directions. For sowing the seeds it is a very good idea to soak the seeds overnight with warm water. Soaking seeds helps in very faster germination but is not a compulsory step. Mark your spots where you’ll be sowing seeds in the pot. Now make 3/4 inch to one-inch holes in the soil using one of your fingers. Place the seeds on their side in the holes and they cover them loosely with the potting soil. Water the pot or container gently. Be careful when watering not to disturb the soil. Test the moisture in the soil every day. Don’t allow the soil dry out any time. In about 3 to 5 days you should see happy seedlings looking out from the pots.
The optimum temperature of 25 to 40°C is considered as the best temperature for better development of Agakara plant.
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Planting spine gourd
- Use spine guard seeds directly in the garden or farm, use the equipment for sowing.
- Before planting the seeds, loosen the soil thoroughly and arrange the bed. Place the seed in the depth of 2 to 2.5 inches inside the soil.
- Insert at least four seeds in each bed. Broadcasting and dibbling process are used for sowing the seeds.
- In the Broadcasting method, the seeds are not evenly distributed; therefore, it must not be used. This causes a waste of seeds.
- This Dibbling method is used where the supply of seeds is normal. There is a very small implementation in sowing. This is called Dibbler.
- You can implant the plant from the nursery. For this, dig the crater in the appropriate place and after planting the plant must be filled with compost and topsoil. Light irrigation should be done after planting.
Steps to follow while growing spine gourd in pots or containers:
- Take a medium-sized pot with 3 or 4 holes at the bottom of the pot. The holes help inappropriate drainage of water. Position small stones on the holes. This stones is to prevent the slipping of soil through the holes.
- Fill the pot or container with soil and compost in the ratio of 1: 1.
- Sow the spine gourd seeds and cover the seeds with soil. In a medium-sized pot, two seeds can be sown.
- Sprinkle some water over the soil in the pot.
- Water the seeds daily and in a week to ten days, the seeds will germinate and will soon grow its initial leaves.
- Water the Agakara plant daily. Don’t allow the potting soil to dry. The soil must be moist.
Growing spine gourd in pots:
Growing spine gourd in pots is easy. You’ll want a 12 inches deep pot. Spine gourd seeds have a hardcover and hence pre-soaking the seeds overnight before sowing those help in faster germination. To decrease the germination time even further you can also first germinate the seeds in a pot before sowing them. To sow the seeds make about 1/2 inch depressions in the soil, place the seeds on their side and cover them up with loose soil. Water lightly so that the soil is not disturbed to expose the seed. Maintain the soil moist all the time. You can plant 4 to 5 seeds in a 15-liter pot. Keep 1 to 2 plants in a 15-liter pot and remove the others when seedlings have developed at least four true leaves. Young spine gourd plants are sometimes susceptible to cutworms. So it is an excellent idea to wrap the base of the plant with aluminum foil when spine gourd plants are young. This will generate a physical barrier between the plant and cutworms.
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Seeds are sown by placing 2 or 3 seeds deep into the pits prepared on raised beds at 1 to 2 cm in depth. If more seeds per pit are used, thinning must be done after the sprouting of seedlings.
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The Agakara plant should have enough room to grow well. There must be a minimum distance of 2 meters between the rows and should be 30 to the 32-inch distance between the plants.
Water requirement for growing Agakara:
Watering immediately after planting according to your environment. If there is a rainy season then do not apply water because there is enough moisture in the soil at this time. Give water one or two times by the difference of every week in a dry spell or regular basis; do not obtain water around the plant.
Spine gourds need good organic fertilizer. Mix organic compost well in the soil while preparing the garden. The application of NPK must be added before the full dose of its tubers and seed planting.
Fruit flies and nematodes are major insects that usually invade the spine gourd crop.
Control measures for Fruit fly:
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- Select resistant varieties
- Collect and destroy dam-aged fruits
- Use of insect traps
- Organic pesticides – apply Neem oil@ 3.0 % as a foliar spray
Control measures for Nematodes:
- Apply neem seed cake at land preparation time
- Plant suitable trap crop or inter-crop
Harvesting spine gourd:
Spine gourd or Agakara is harvested when their fruits are still young and tender. Frequent harvesting at every alternate day or two to three days intervals is recommended to avoid losses due to over-sized and over-mature fruits. Fruits are allowed to ripen if the grower wants to extract seeds from ripened fruits for propagation purposes. If that is the case, harvest the fruits only after the ripe fruit has changed color from green to yellow to orange and the fruit pulp has entirely turned red color with mature seeds.
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