Introduction of Growing Ridge Gourd in the Backyard
The botanical name of ridge gourd is Luffa acutangula Roxb. Ridge Gourd (Turai) is the only vegetable of the summer season that you would like to plant in your garden. You can easily grow ridge gourd in your garden or the containers. Ridge gourd is a member of the cucumber family and contains plenty of water along with dietary fibers. It has a very low amount of saturated fats. Hence it’s a great vegetable for weight loss. Ridge Gourd is also an excellent source of vitamin A.
A Guide to Growing Ridge Gourd in the Backyard
Ridge gourd is one of the major vegetable crops in Asia. Ridge gourd is also known as Ribbed Gourd. This vegetable is mainly used for culinary purposes and it’s very popular in China, Vietnam, south, and east India. Ridge gourd vine requires support for its growth and development.
Ridge gourds need very little attention and hence are well suited for any garden. But, with the help of this article on how to grow ridge gourd in the backyard, you can increase the yield and performance of your plant.
Varieties of Ridge Gourd
There are improved varieties of ridge gourd specific to most of the regions in Asia. They are:
Arka Sumeet: Fruits are lush green color, it has a cylindrical shape, 55 cm long 2.5 cm girth, and 380 g weight with prominent ridges, delicate aroma. Days to the first harvest is 50-55.
Arka Sujat: Fruits are lush green color, it has a cylindrical shape, medium-long (35-45 cm) and average weight (350g).
Pusa Nasdar: Fruits are club-shaped, they are light green color, 15-20 fruits/plant.
Pant Torai-1: Fruits are club-shaped and 5 cm long, yield 10 t/ha. More suitable for the rainy season.
CO 1: Fruits are long that is 60-75 cm, Days to first harvest is 55, 10- 12 fruits/plant weighing 3-4 fruits/kg.
CO 2: Fruits are green with shallow grooves and very long that is 90-100 cm, weighing 350-400g, duration is 120 days.
Pusa Nutan: Fruits are green color and straight and are long (25-30 cm), weighing 105 g, mature at 50 days.
PKM-1: Fruits dark green, average weight is300g.
Swarna Manjari: Tolerant to powdery mildew. Fruits are green with soft flesh, medium-sized, elongated, and highly ridged. Days to first harvest 65-70 days.
Swarna Uphar: Fruits are medium-sized (200g), elongated, ridges with soft weak flesh. Days to the first harvest is 65-70.
Punjab Sadabhar: Fruits slightly curved and long, 3-5 cm.
Konkan Harita: Fruits are dark green, tapering at ends, and 30-45 cm long, 10-12 fruits/plant.
Growing Conditions of Ridge Gourd in the Backyard
Soil requirement for growing ridge gourd in the backyard
Ridge gourd can be grown in almost all types of soils. However, well-drained sandy loam soils rich in organic matter are perfect for ridge gourd cultivation. The soil should be plowed 4 to 5 times. The suitable soil pH range of ridge gourd is from 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal. It requires good drainage. For better yield and quality, apply organic matter or Farm Yield Manure (FMY).
Suitable climate for growing ridge gourd in the backyard
The optimal temperature for Ridge gourd cultivation is 25°C to 35°C. Ridge gourd can thrive very well in a warm and hot climate.
Water requirement for growing ridge gourd in the backyard
Careful while giving water, though this plant needs regular water but should be given with more water and the plant can be destroyed if there is no proportional drainage. Regular water, there is no set formula. The summer plantation requires frequent watering at an interval of 3 to 4 days.
Fertilizer requirement for growing ridge gourd in the backyard
If you promote organic compost for ridge gourd, then it is the best, so that you get a better taste in the vegetable. If you get a cow manure it is perfect. It is also good if you use kitchen scraps collected in your compost bin. Excellent compost is also produced through the biogas plant.
Planting Ridge Gourd Seed
To germinate ridge gourd successfully, the seeds need a warm, sunny location with the added compost. For about 24 hours before planting, ridge gourd seeds also require that you rub the seeds with sandpaper and soak them in room-temperature water. This helps ensure germination by helping the seed coat take in air and water more easily and this is known as scarifying the seeds.
Steps for Seed Sowing Method
- Take a container of your choice with drainage holes at the bottom
- Fill the container with selected growing medium and proper potting layers
- Sow 2 seeds at the middle of a container
Spacing of Ridge Gourd
- Sow two seeds per pot in a spacing of 2 x 2 ft on raised beds
- Push the seeds a little with your fingers in soil medium and completely cover them with the surrounding soil
- With a watering can water the sown seedbed immediately by a light shower
How to Take Care of Ridge Gourd
Taking care of ridge gourd can be done by following these tips:
- Your ridge gourd seeds will germinate within the first 6 – 8 days. You will notice tiny sprouts growing at this stage.
- Seedlings will start growing into a small plant from the second week onwards.
- After the second week, retain a single seedling at one spot, prune the undergrown seedlings with a pair of scissors.
- Ridge gourds require full sunlight to grow and daily watering in summer.
- For even shower use, a Watering can to water your plants or use a drip irrigation system.
- Ridge gourds are aggressive climbers and need a lot of space to grow. So by using locally available material like pipes, bamboo, ropes, wires, etc. develop strong trellis support up to a height of 5-6 ft, for your ridge gourd plant.
- When your bottle gourd plant is more than 45 days old, provide one tablespoon of 15:15:15 (NPK) Fertilizer per plant or mix a handful of Vermicompost in the soil around each plant.
- Your plants will flower 80-90 days from sowing, it has separate Male & female flowers on the same plant. Fruits will be formed on female flower after pollination.
- Ridge gourd can be harvested 3 months after sowing the seeds. Harvesting season can continue for the next 3 months
Trellis for Support in Growing Ridge Gourd in the Backyard
As the Ridge Gourds begin to grow, its tendrils begin to appear. These tendrils are used by the plants to support the neighboring plants or to climb above other supports. You can use the trellis to guide these plants. For growing and spreading plants, use the upper part of a tree or the GI wire the trap at approximately 7 to 8 feet.
Pruning and Training of Ridge Gourd Plant
- Pruning and training the vine over the trellis is very important to get maximum yield from the plant
- Allow the plant to grow without any laterals and tendrils about 12 nodes above the top of the trellis
- Now prune the main stem
- Lightly tie the stem with the trellis wire using a string
- You may find laterals growing from the nodes. Do not allow any laterals below the trellis
- Count each lateral to 12 nodes and prune the rest. Remove all tendrils also
- Train the vine over the trellis system by tying the laterals with a string
Ridge Gourd Flowers and Pollination
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Usually, gourds have a series of male flowers before the female flowers begin to bloom. Female flowers carry the ovum and there is fruit at the base of the flower while male flowers do not have the fruit. Ridge gourd pollination is done by bees. In case you do not get bees in your garden you need to hand pollinate the flowers. Take a cotton earbud or paintbrush. Gently dip it into the male flower and then into the female flower.
Pests and diseases of Ridge Gourd
Below are the pests and diseases attacked by the ridge gourd:
Pests of ridge gourd
Fruit fly (Bacterocera cucurbitae)
This is a major pest of the majority of cucurbits like ridge gourd, bitter gourd, and snake gourd, etc. It lays eggs in flower or developing fruits or ripening fruits with the help of the sharp ovipositor of females. Infestation is more during the rainy season.
How to control:
Collect and destroy affected fruits by dipping in hot water or insecticide solution. Do not leave infested fruits on the gourd
Aphids (Aphis gossypii)
Aphids suck sap from leaves of cucurbits like ash gourd, snake gourd, mush melon, watermelon, cucumber, etc. causing crinkling of leaves. It also transmits the mosaic virus.
How to control:
Control aphids by spraying Malathion (0.1%) or tobacco decoction
Red spider mites (Tetranychus sp.)
Resulting in the production of white patches. Infested leaves turn yellow and fall off prematurely. Intense webbing occurs giving a dusty appearance to the undersurface of leaves in severe cases.
How to control:
Mites can be controlled by a spray of Dicofol or Kelthane or neem oil garlic mixture on under the surface of the leaves.
Red Pumpkin Beetle (Aulacophora foveicollis)
Particularly at the cotyledon stage of crop beetles eat the leaf lamina causing defoliation. Causing holes/galleries and result in drying up of plants grubs feed on the underground stem and root portion of plants.
How to control:
To take care of young seedlings from the attack of beetle, apply Furadan 3 G granules 3-4 cm deep in the soil near the base of just germinated seedlings.
Diseases of ridge gourd
A symptom of the disease is the appearance of dark brown water-soaked lesions wrapping the base of the stem at soil level followed by the death of plants. During rainy seasons and under waterlogged conditions it is more serious.
How to control:
Treating seeds with Thiram seed before sowing, sowing of seeds on raised beds, drenching vines with Redomyl (0.2%), or Carbendazim (0.1%) are recommended for control of the disease.
Powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fuliginea)
Symptoms will appear as white to dirty grey spots or patches on leaves which become white powdery as they enlarge. The powdery coating covers entire plant parts and causes defoliation.
How to control:
For control of powdery mildew, fortnightly spray of Karathane or Calixin or Carbendazim are recommended.
Downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis)
Symptoms appear as angular spots on the upper surface corresponding to the water-soaked lesions on under the surface and water-soaked lesions on under the surface of leaf lamina.
How to control:
The disease spreads very fast. Spraying Dithane M-45 (0.2%) on under the surface of leaves and plucking and destruction of affected leaves give effective control.
Anthracnose (Colletotrichum lagenarium)
This disease is endemic in warm and humid conditions where rainfall and humidity are high. Different types of symptoms are observed on leaves, petioles, stem, and fruits.
How to control:
Spraying crop at 10 days intervals with Indofil M-45 (0.35%) and treating seeds with Carbendazim seed. Benomyl or Carbendazim (0.1%) gives effective control.
Viral diseases are causing extensive damage to the ridge gourd. Once a crop is infected, curling and twisting of leaves, stunted growth, mosaic mottling, shortening of internodes are common symptoms, and vegetative growth, flowering, and productivity are adversely affected.
How to control:
Complete control of the diseases is not possible. But, by collecting the seeds from healthy virus-free plants, seed treatment with hot water (55°C for 60 minutes), or hot air (70°C for 2 days), avoiding relay cropping of susceptible crops, prophylactic spray of organic pesticides, have to be tried for raising a mosaic free crop.
When and How to Harvest Ridge Gourd
Ridge gourd fruits grow very fast. Harvest ridge gourd fruits at a young stage before the skin becomes thick, otherwise, the fruits will become inedible with lots of fiber. Ridge gourds harvesting can be done just by looking at the stem right next to the gourd. If it has started to shrink, turn brown and dry, then, the gourd is done growing and can be picked. The body of the ridge gourd may still be green, but the dried stem means that the gourd is not receiving any more nutrients from the vine so that you can pick it. Leaving it too long on the plant makes it fibrous and then it cannot be consumed. These vegetables can be harvested with a sharp knife. Do not remove the fruit by pulling, as it will damage the plant.
Note: Since these vegetables are long, care must be taken to make sure the vegetables are hanging in a downward direction. Usually, when the vines grow long & thick, the developing fruits get entangled in the vines, resulting in fruits getting undesired shape.
Storage of Ridge Gourd
After harvesting, fruits can be stored for 3-4 days in a cool place. Ridge gourd storage is best in a refrigerator. They can be stored in a plastic bag and will stay crisp and firm for a week. Care should be taken to avoid injury.
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