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Growing Ivy Gourd In Backyard At Home (Kovakkai)

Introduction of Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

The botanical name of ivy gourd is Coccinia Grandis. It is also referred to as scarlet gourd. In African and Asian countries, Ivy gourd is a popular vegetable. This vegetable resembles watermelon and grows quickly as a climber. It is used in several recipes. Apart from the delightful taste of Ivy gourd, it is a good source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Each part of Kovakkai offers lots of health benefits, It can be made into a paste and applied to the skin or can be directly consumed as a tonic. Other names of ivy gourd are Tindora, Kundru, Tela Kucha, Tendli, Kovakkai, and Dondakaya.

A guide for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

Ivy gourd grows to about 4 inches a day. It has attractive flowers. Young leaves of ivy gourd are also edible and considered a good substitute for spinach in Thailand. The upper body of the leaf is hairless, while the lower body is hairy.

This vine has aggressive climbing properties and spreads easily over fences, trees, shrubs, & other supports. This plant is an outdoor plant and these vegetables are being used in Indian dishes. It is grown mainly in the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, and AP. This guide will show you how to grow Ivy gourd in your backyard.

Varieties of Ivy Gourd

Ivy gourds are classified as either striped or non-striped (plain). Fruits with stripes come under striped Ivy. Plain skinned, green fruits come under non-striped Ivy. Ivy gourds are available in improved varieties such as Sulabha, Indira Kundru-5, and Indira Kundru-35. Ivy gourd is a popular vegetable crop and grows well in humid and warm climates. It can easily be cultivated throughout the year.

Propagation of Ivy gourd 

Propagation of Ivy gourd can be done either from seeds or stem cutting. But, most gardeners choose a cutting method, as it gives yield within 3-4 months, whereas in seed sowing, takes more than a year to establish a plant to bear fruit if they are propagated through seeds.

Propagation of Ivy Gourd from Seeds

For propagating Ivy gourd from seed, you can either purchase seeds from a local seed supplier or use the seeds of the gourd. Just choose any ripe gourd, extract its seeds, and dry them for sowing. Now, fill the pot with potting mix, leaving some room at the top. Make a hole and insert the seeds about an inch deep and cover them with soil. After misting, cover it with plastic. The ideal germination temperature of Ivy gourd is between 15-27° C.

Propagation of Ivy Gourd from Cuttings

Grow Ivy gourd from cutting is too simple and ensures you that your ivy gourd will give fruit, which is why it is often normal and successful too. Choose a healthy semi-hardwood stem from a mature vine. Snip off 6-7 inches long stem. The stem should contain 4-5 leaves. Cut it obliquely with a 45° angle. Now, dip the cut portion in the rooting hormone. In a pot or garden soil, plant it 2-3 inches deeper and water evenly. The cuttings are placed upright or at a slight angle to promote the development of side shoots. When planting is done during a dry spell, water it and continue watering regularly.

Transplanting Seedlings

If you live in a hot climate, transplant seedlings when the temperature is optimum, except for the hot summer. In cooler regions, wait for the passage of the last frost to pass before transplanting. Select a place that gets complete sunlight. Add lots of manure or well rotten compost to the soil well and to the planting site too. Plant mature plants the way you do on your own. Each seed must be adequately separated. Fix a pole or frame near the plant at the moment of planting seeds.

Growing Ivy Gourd in Pots

Growing Ivy gourd in pots is a good idea if you live in a cool climate and want to grow this. Plant it if you’re an urban balcony gardener, or you don’t want it to spread in your yard.

  • Start growing this plant in a large 16 inches pot or select a medium-sized 5-gallon pot with 10-12 inches depth
  • Once it becomes something bigger (it can grow up with a speed of 4 inches a day), move it in a much larger pot
  • Choose a sunny location. Afternoon shade is good for this plant
  • Use regular potting soil and add 1/4 of compost or aged manure to it
  • Water it regularly, to keep the soil evenly moist in the initial stage. It prefers a slightly moist growing medium
  • Side dress the plant with compost or aged cow manure. If it’s not doing well, feed the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer
  • Also, feed the plant occasionally with potassium-rich fertilizer
  • Provide support so that it can climb. It’ll use your vertical space
  • Maintain its height between 6-10 feet. All the other growing tips are similar

Growing Conditions for Ivy Gourd

You should not miss this: Growing Luffa Gourd In Containers, Pots.

Growing Conditions for Ivy Gourd.
Growing Conditions for Ivy Gourd
Soil Requirement for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

Ivy gourds are generally grown in rich sandy loam soils with a pH of 6.0 – 6.5. The gourd performs best in well-draining, fertile soil. Use loamy-sandy soil, and avoid heavy clay soil that hinders the drainage capability. Also, it prefers neutral soil, but slightly acidic or alkaline will also work. And, for pots, use potting mix by mixing equal parts of peat moss, well-rotted manure or compost, coarse sand, and garden soil.

Climatic Conditions for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

As mentioned earlier, this crop loves humid and warm weather conditions and although it can grow well throughout the year. The ideal temperature range of Ivy gourd 20°C to 32°C is best for its growth, quality, and good yield. Peak seasons for fruiting are rainy and summer seasons respectively. Ivy gourd should be planted before the monsoons in July or the spring season February – March.

Sunlight for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

Whether growing Ivy gourd in a garden bed or a pot, choose a sunny site for both as the plant doesn’t produce fruits if grown in shades. Ivy gourd prefers 6 to 7 hours of full sunlight. But, provide afternoon shade to younger plants. For indoors, prefer a west or south-facing window.

Land Preparation for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

Plough the land/soil until fine tilth is achieved and to kill any weeds. Apply any well rotten manure along with micronutrients. The plant needs bamboo sticks for support to grow like a vine. 

Water Requirement for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

Water the plants immediately after plantation is done. Keep the soil evenly moist for the prolific growth, but not waterlogged. If growing Ivy gourd in a garden bed, water it deeply at a one-week interval. Do not water during monsoon. And for pots, pay a bit more attention, as water evaporates sooner. Check the consistency by poking a finger, 1 and a half inches in the soil. Water deeply if it looks dry until it starts coming out of holes.

Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Ivy Gourd in the Backyard

For a prolific growth, supplement the soil with well-rotted manure, compost, or cow dung manure. Mix it with the soil before transplanting or sowing seeds. Also, side dress the soil with compost or cow dung manure twice a year, especially during the flowering and fruiting period.

Taking Care of Ivy Gourd Plant

It is a low maintenance plant and does not require much care. Still, for a bountiful harvest make a note of these ivy gourd plant care points.

Pruning of Ivy Gourd

Ivy gourd has invasive growth and can cover a lot of areas if not trimmed. Therefore, you must prune the stems of it that are growing out of bounds. Be assured of the pruning shear is sharp and properly-oiled. So, after harvesting, prune it back to control its growth. Using sanitized shear or knife, snip off the branches, leaving only 2-3 feet long stem vine. Following pruning, dispose of the fallen stems.

When the production of the ivy gourd plant stops following the fruiting season then, you can stop pruning it, left behind only three feet thick of its stem. The development will resume again. You can skip the pruning process of the plant if you living in a warm climate and let them grow.

Weed Management in Ivygourd Plantation

Weeding and hoeing are usually done during the early phase of the plant growth to avoid weeds. Ivy gourd is an invasive vine, its branches touching the ground can root and start a new plant. Seeds, fallen on the ground can germinate aggressively. Keep an eye on it avoid this situation–remove the fallen fruits, pick up the trimmed stems, and don’t let the branches come near the soil. Alternatively, you can also plant it in containers.

Pests and Diseases in Ivy Gourd

Aphids, Whiteflies, Mites & Thrips are the main pests found in Ivy gourd or Tindora cultivation. Appropriate chemical control measures should be taken for these pests. In the latest improved variety Sulabha, no major pests and diseases are known. Usually, the ivy gourd is a tough and strong climbing vegetable that doesn’t get affected by any serious pests and diseases. But keep a close watch for common garden pests.

When and How to Harvest Ivy Gourd

The vine starts bearing fruit within 3 to 4 months of planting. But, it can differ in the case of seed propagation, where it may take 1 year. Hand-picking or sickle is used to harvest the Ivy gourd when they are young and look green and bulbous. Hand-picking may damage the vine, so better use a small cutter to harvest the Tindora vegetable. Don’t let them over-ripen, as the ivy gourd tastes best with a crunchy texture, when young. Young fruits are harvested about a week after flowering. Harvesting is best done weekly as long as there is enough moisture to produce new leaves and flowers.

Some commonly asked question about Ivy Gourd

How do you store Tindora in the fridge?

You could cut it and store it in a container or ziplock bag for a few days in the fridge. Once it’s cut – this dish will be ready in no time, around 20 mins. Heat a tsp of oil – once hot add a tsp of cumin seeds and then add the cut tindora. Cover and let it cook for 5 mins.

What is the best fertilizer for gourds?

Gourds are fertilized the same way as cucumbers and melons. Incorporate 6-12-12 fertilizer into the soil at planting. When the plant runners are 12 to 18 inches long, fertilize again spreading the fertilizer at least 18 inches away from the plant stems.

Is Tindora and Parwal the same?

Don’t get confused between Tindora and Parwal. There is a slight difference. Parwal has a pointed end, and slightly tougher skin, while Tindora has slightly rounded ends and tender skin.

What are the Benefits of Ivy Gourd?
  • Ivy gourd contains laxative properties and is rich in fiber and therefore helps ease bowel movements
  • It contains curative properties for asthma, jaundice, bronchitis, skins problems such as leprosy, scabies, psoriasis, etc
  • Ivy gourd helps maintain a healthy skin
  • It contains antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties
  • It is a good source of vitamin c and hence very effective to keep common colds at bay
  • Its roots, stems, and leaves are used widely in Ayurvedic practices in India to make medicines
  • Ivy gourd helps normalize blood sugar levels
  • Kundru promotes metabolism in the body and protects the nervous system
  • It has good amounts of calcium and hence is excellent for bones
  • It prevents the formation of kidney stones
  • It keeps allergies at bay and prevents fatigue

In case if you are interested in this: Organic Watermelon Farming.


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