A step by sttep guide to Snake gourd container gardening
Hello gardeners are you wondering about grwoing Snake gourds from seed in containers/pots? here, we are providing required information for Snake gourd container gardening. Snake gourd plant is an annual creeper, belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family and its scientific name is Trichosanthes anguina. Snake gourd occupies an important place among vegetables in India.
Select a planting location:
Snake gourds should be planted in full sunlight, with plenty of space to sprawl. Although they can be grown in pots or containers, this will significantly limit their size and overall production. If you’re planting your Snake gourds without a trellis, choose a space with plenty of square footage for growth. Otherwise, stake your trellis out in an area with plenty of sunlight and little shade. Plant your seeds a least 8-10 feet apart to accurately prevent diseases from forming and spreading.
The soil preparation for Snake gourd container gardening:
It isn’t too tricky to get soil under the proper conditions for Snake gourds, which makes them easy to grow in most locations. The soil wants to be well-drained and warm. They like plenty of moisture with a bit more clay than sand that means they may not thrive in sandy soil. Test the pH of garden plot to see if it is somewhere between 5.8 and 6.4, which is the best range for gourds.
If your pH level is too high, incorporate peat moss to increase the acidity. If the air is warm but the ground is still cold, the Snake gourd plants won’t grow well.
Growing Snake gourds in containers:
Use big circular pots or grow bag with a 16-inch diameter and a minimum depth of 8-10 inches.
Using trellis for Snake gourd container planting:
Trellises are wood or wire constructs built to hold plants off the ground, and in the case of Snake gourds, are used primarily to encourage unique shapes. You do not need a trellis to grow your Snake gourds, as they will grow fine on the ground. However, Snake gourds that grow on the ground will have a flat side where they lay, while gourds that grow on trellises will maintain their rounded shapes. If you decide to use a trellis, set it up before planting Snake gourds, and then stake the plants to it over time.
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Snake gourd plant is an aggressive climber and needs plenty of space to grow. To develop strong trellis support up to a height of 5-6 feet, by using locally available material like pipes, bamboo, ropes, wires, etc. for your bitter gourd plant.
Steps for seed sowing in a container:
- Take a pot or container of your choice with drainage holes at the bottom.
- Fill the container with proper potting layers and selected growing medium.
- Sow 2 seeds at the center of a pot or container.
Spacing of Snake Gourd Plants:
- On raised beds, sow 2 seeds in a spacing of 3 x 3 ft.
- Push the seeds a little in a soil medium with your fingers and completely cover them with the surrounding soil.
- Water the sown seedbed instantly by a light shower with a watering can.
Snake gourd planting:
- Snake gourds produce in tropical regions, so a similar climate is ideal for cultivating Snake gourds. Like most squash, Snake gourd is a summer vegetable and it needs warm soil and nighttime temperatures.
- Using a raised red or mounding soil above ground level helps raise the soil temperature. And waiting until temperatures stay above 50 degrees F through the night can keep Snake gourds plants healthy and thriving.
- Trellising Snake gourds will give them room to grow long and straight. This style of growing Snake gourds also keeps them off the ground, where disease and critters can damage the fruit.
- The optimum average day temperature for growth the Snake gourd is 30 to 35°C with a minimum of 20°C.
- The Snake gourd plant does not tolerate dry soil and requires a good moisture reserve in the soil, but sensitive to waterlogging.
- It is in flower from July to September month, and the seeds ripen from September to October.
Watering Snake gourd plants:
Under-watering, as well as over-watering, will destroy the Snake gourd plant. You can visually inspect the Snake gourd plant every day and water as required.
Water your potted Snake gourd plant every day in the summer season. You can make provision for watering by watering by drip irrigation system for your raised beds.
Cracking the seeds for Snake gourd container gardening:
The outer shells of the Snake gourd’s seeds are unusually hard, making them difficult to seed germinate. Even under ideal conditions, the seeds can require a month to germinate, and up to 40 percent of the seeds fail to sprout. To increase the germination rate, carefully crack the hard shell with pliers, much like you’d crack open an almond shell and place the pliers’ jaws on the ridged seam that joins the seed’s two halves and press lightly until it cracks open.
Soaking the Snake gourd seeds:
After breaking the seam that holds the shell together, soaking the seeds for 2 to 12 hours helps activate the germination process. Simply put the cracked seeds into a bowl of warm water and place it on top of the refrigerator or in another warm location. After soaking the Snake gourd seeds, plant them in a moist seed-starting mix in large flowerpots or peat pots. Cover the pots or containers with plastic wrap to hold the moisture in. When the sprouts appear, generally within 10 days, remove the plastic wrap.
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Direct planting the seeds:
Either you can plant the Snake gourd seeds directly in the prepared pit or germinate the seeds separately and transplant. Planted seeds hole directly in the arranged pit and watered. You can thin out to 4 or 5 when the seeds germinate and grow up.
Germinating the seeds and transplanting seedlings:
You can germinate the seeds separately and then transplant. You can use paper teacups, polythene bags or any other container or pot for this.
The plants want a trellis system to grow and spread. You can make one using timber poles and GI wires about 7 to 8 feet above the ground level.
After the seeds germinate, between 10 and 30 days after planting, the seedlings need regular watering. Once you plant Snake gourds in the garden, water twice a week or when the soil is dry to the touch. Adding a side dressing of compost 3 weeks after planting the seedlings provides additional nutrients as the gourd vines grow. The Snake gourd plants need a large trellis to support their 4 1/2- to 6-foot-long fruits. Also, adding a small light bulb to the formation attracts moths to pollinate the night-blooming flowers. Harvest the Snake gourds three months after the seeds germinate.
Paper towel method:
Some gardeners choose to use wet paper towels to germinate the seeds. Put a warm, wet paper towel on a plate; then add the cracked seeds and cover them with another wet paper towel. Keep the seeds in a warm location, such as on top of the refrigerator or on a seed-sprouting mat set at 80 to 90F. Monitor the seeds and maintain the paper towels moistly. The seeds commonly sprout within two weeks.
Snake gourd plant care:
Pests and diseases
Always look for the early signs of any insect, fungal and any other infections. Spray suitable medicines as soon as any symptoms of such diseases are spotted. Watch out for Powdery Mildew when Snake gourd plants are young.
Leaf beetles and root-knot nematodes are problem pests for Snake gourd plants. Fungicidal control can be needed for downy mildew and anthracnose.
Snake gourds harvesting:
If let alone, Snake gourds will continue growing up to about 6 feet. Unfortunately, when they get that large the Snake gourd becomes fibrous and inedible. To get a delicious Snake gourd, you must harvest when the fruit is about a foot and a half long, generally the length of your forearm.
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