This blog carries detailed information about the cultivation practice of gourd crops. You will get the best ways to grow a successful gourd crop on your farm.
The vegetable, more commonly referred to as a gourd and a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, grows on vines and is popular in India. In India, production is crucial for both economic and nutritional reasons. All varieties of gourds, including bottle gourds, bitter gourds, sponge gourds, pointed gourds, ridge gourds, snake gourds, spiny gourds, and ivy gourds, are in high demand in India due to their high nutritional value. They are available in many colours, sizes, and shapes.
Farmers can make huge profits from gourd cultivation. It is crucial to understand how to cultivate the crop properly. Each factor—soil, land, proper irrigation, and fertigation—is crucial for crop growth. This blog will tell you the best ways to cultivate gourd crops successfully.
Table of contents
- Soil and climatic requirements
- Sowing requirements
- Land preparation
- Nursery preparation and transplanting
- Training of gourd crops
- Diseases in gourd crops
- Pests in gourd crops
- How can Fasal assist?
Soil and climatic requirements
Typical warm-season gourd crops grow well in the summer and rainy seasons, including bitter gourd, ridge gourd, and smooth gourd. The ideal temperature range is between 25 and 27 °C. The ideal soil required for its cultivation is humus-rich, well-drained loam.
In the plains, sowing occurs between February and April for the summer season and from June onward for the rainy season.
Crop growth is adversely affected by delayed sowing. A 15-day sowing delay can result in a 35% reduction in yield. Fruit and blossom development is quite favourable to early sowing. In hills, sowing takes place from March to April.
|Crop||Sowing time||Sowing distance|
|Rainy season||Summer||Row to Row( in meters)||Pit to Pit (meters)||Seed rate(kg/ha)||Sowing Depth|
|Bottle gourd||10-15July||10-15 Feb||2.0-3.0||1.5 – 2.0||4.00||3.0 cm|
|Ash gourd||20-25 July||—||2.5-3.0||0.60 -1.20||7.50||2.5 cm|
|Bitter gourd||10-15th July||10-15th Feb||1.5-2.5||0.60 – 1.20||5.00||2.5 cm|
|Snake gourd||5-10th July||–||1.5-2.5||0.60 -1.20||4.00||3.0 cm|
Gourd crops can be grown in various soil types, but they do best in loamy or sandy soil rich in organic matter. The ideal pH range for soil is 6.0 to 7.0. It is essential to consider proper drainage when choosing a field since, without drainage, it will be challenging to produce a good crop. Starting three to four weeks before seeding, the field is prepared. In the field, well-decomposed farmyard manure or compost must be added at a rate of 10–12 t/ha.
In the summer, plants need to be frequently watered every 5 to 6 days once 4-5 leaves develop. In general, irrigation is not necessary throughout the rainy season, but during a dry period, irrigation is used as the crop requires. One light watering is given to the entire bed when the vines are appropriately spaced and right before flowering, which generates the ideal microclimate for flowering and fruit growth. Cucurbits are crops with deep roots and broad leaf surfaces that reduce excessive transpiration, making them only modestly drought tolerant.
|Gourd crop||Irrigation required (cm)||Interval (in days)||No of irrigation required|
Due to adequate water availability to the root zone, drip irrigation benefits gourd crops.
|Gourd Crop||Percentage increase in yield||Water Save Percentage|
Nursery preparation and transplanting
Cucurbits are also grown outside the regular growing season to obtain an early harvest using nursery preparation and transplanting techniques. Nurseries are raised using planting bags or tubes that are 15 x 10 cm and constructed of 100 gauge. Equal parts of soil, sand, and properly decomposed FYM or compost are put into these polyethene bags. For airflow and water drainage, polyethene bags should have 4-5 holes on the top side and 2-3 holes at the bottom. Two seeds are planted in each bag to a depth of 2.5 cm.
Using a “rose can”, you must provide mild irrigation after seeding. Typically, seedlings that are 30 days old are transplanted. When transplanting, polyethene bags or tubes should be cut vertically with a sharp blade or knife to separate them.
Transplanting should often be done in the evening with the entire soil ball attached. Light irrigation is crucial right after transplanting for plants to establish themselves in the main field.
|Crop||Days required for raising||Seedlings requirements (per hectare)|
Fertiliser requirements for one hectare of land are typically 200 kg of urea, 350 kg of single super phosphate, and 125 kg of muriate of potash. During the final ploughing, a whole amount of one super phosphate, one-third of muriate of potash, and all of the urea were mixed together and applied as basal doses.
The remaining urea should be applied as a top dressing 30 days after seeding and at the beginning of flowering. Due to the increasing rate of fertiliser use and its adverse effects, it is advised to apply fertilisers in the trenches or pits where seeds will be sown. However, the most important thing to remember is that seeds should never come into contact with fertiliser, as this could prevent seeds from germinating or cause germinating seeds to die.
|Gourd Crops||Nitrogen (N2)||Phosphorus (P2O5)||Potassium (K2O)|
In the production of cucurbitaceous vegetables, pruning is a crucial process for both the highest-quality fresh harvest and the highest-quality seed production. Even though a plant in this group has numerous branches, only some can produce fruit. Therefore, the branches from the main stem must be removed to improve flowering and fruiting. Pruning must be done up to the main stem of the trellis in case of gourd crops.
Training of gourd crops
The different methods used for training the gourd crops are as follows:
A bower is a crisscrossing netted structure that offers an appropriate platform or environment for exhibiting the maximum potential of growth and fruiting.
Training plants in a bower system helps to obtain a large production of fruits on consistent quality cucurbits.
Cucurbits are vine-like plants. Thus they produce more fruits for a longer time on a supporting framework. Throughout the growing season, the produce obtained by the bower system has a consistent market price and export quality.
Another crucial method for harvesting quality fruit for a more extended period of time is the Kniffin system. The bamboo or wooden poles used to construct this system are connected by 16 gauge G.I. wire. Along the length of the rows, the wooden poles are buried in the ground at a 45 cm depth and spaced 5 m apart. In this system, flowering and fruiting begin quite early, and length increases significantly due to the freely hung fruits.
It was standard practice to take cucurbit harvests by spreading vines out on the ground. Even in the summer, this method is beneficial since it protects against sunburn and helps vines, sensitive leaves, flowers, and fruits develop by absorbing enough moisture. The main issues caused by implementing this approach are fruit and vine rotting.
Harvesting of gourd crops should occur when the fruits are relatively soft and tasty. There might be continuous harvesting from the end of June through the end of October.
|Gourd crop||Harvesting time|
|Ash gourd||75-120 days after sowing|
|Bitter gourd||55-100 days after seed sowing (depending upon variety)|
|Bottle gourd||60-100 days after sowing|
|Ivy gourd||85 days after transplanting|
|Pointed gourd||80-90 days after transplanting|
Diseases in gourd crops
Numerous diseases affect the production of gourd crops. Some of the major diseases found in gourd crops are described below.
Powdery mildew is one of the devastating diseases found in gourd crops. Timely identification and prevention are necessary to produce good harvests.
The identification measures to detect powdery mildew are as follows:
- A white or dirty grey, powdery growth is present on leaves, stems, and early growing portions.
- At last, the entire leaf area is covered by surface growth.
- The infected portions turn brown and dry, resulting in premature defoliation and death.
- Fruits are still malformed and undeveloped.
The best ways to prevent gourd crops are described below:
- Use resistant plant varieties.
- Improving airflow within the canopy.
- Maintain proper spacing between crops.
- Prune the infected leaves to avoid the further spread of disease.
Downy mildew is one of the major diseases affecting gourd crops worldwide. The diseases cause significant losses in yield and quality to farmers.
The identification measures to detect downy mildew in gourd crops are described below:
- On the upper surface of leaves, there are yellow, angular dots constrained by veins that resemble mosaic mottling.
- In the rainy season, the corresponding lower surface of these patches exhibits a reddish downy development.
- With time, the spots become necrotic.
- The infected leaves become yellow and drop.
- Infected plants get stunted and eventually die.
- Fruits produced could not fully ripen and have a bad taste.
Timely prevention is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. The best ways to prevent disease are as follows:
- Limit the time when leaves are wet by avoiding overhead irrigation or irrigating in the late morning.
- Manage alternative weed hosts in nearby fence rows and field edges (wild cucumber, golden creeper, and volunteer cucumbers).
Cercospora leaf spot
Cercospora leaf spot is a threat to the production of gourd crops. It is essential for the farmers to identify and prevent disease at the right time.
The identification measures to detect the disease are:
- At first, tiny yellow specks or water-soaked spots appear on leaves.
- Rapidly growing spots have round to irregular shapes, pale brown, tan, or white centres, and purple to nearly black borders.
- Spots combine to produce substantial patches.
- It’s possible for the leaf to dry out and die, giving it a burned appearance.
- Fruits are also occasionally affected.
The best ways to prevent the disease are as follows:
- Sanitation in the field
- Ensure proper soil drainage and airflow between vines.
- Remove weeds and plant waste from the field.
- Spraying copper-based fungicides will help in the control of the disease.
Pests in gourd crops
Pest attack is a major hindrance to the production of gourd crops. The major pests that affect the production of gourd crops are fruitflies, aphids and leaf miners. They cause enormous yield losses to farmers.
Fruit flies are the major pest affecting citrus production worldwide. It is necessary for the grower to identify the pest on time and take preventative actions.
The identification techniques to recognise the presence of fruit flies are indicated below:
- Only maggots can harm fruit by feeding on ripe fruit, invading it, and contaminating pulp.
- Flies eat through the fruit’s skin and leave sores as they feed on the pulp.
- Fruits rot as a result of secondary bacterial infection.
- Fruits are attacked when they are still developing. Fruits that have been infested drop off too early.
- Fruit decay is brought on by a subsequent bacterial infection.
- In the monsoon season, the damage is worse.
The best ways to prevent the infestation of fruit flies are described below:
- Early-maturing cultivars are less impacted than those that mature later.
- Adjust the dates for sowing the crops as fruit fly populations are quite less in hot weather and more prevalent in the rainy season.
- Gathering and destroying fruit that is contaminated.
- Use a methyl eugenol-based trap (0.1%).
Aphids are the destructive pests of gourd crops. They restrict and growth of the plant and cause substantial yield loss to farmers.
The following are the identification measures to detect the presence of aphids on time.
- Aphids are numerous and feed on the plant’s sap by populating the lower leaf surfaces and delicate stems.
- Yellowing can be seen on slightly infected leaves.
- Young leaves heavily infested with aphids curl and develop abnormal shapes.
- Aphids, like whiteflies, create honeydew, which promotes the growth of sooty mould.
The best ways to prevent the aphids are listed below:
- For the control of pest sap-sucking insects, promote beneficial insects and spiders.
- Preserve parasites like Aphidius colemani, Diaeretiella spp., and Aphelinus spp.
Leaf miner is a devastating pest affecting gourd crops across the country. Timely identification and prevention are necessary to protect crops.
Identification measures to detect the pest are as follows:
- Narrow snake-like mines on the leaves are observed.
- Due to a severe infestation, leaves start to dry out and drop.
The best ways to prevent the pest attack are as follows:
- Gather and eliminate mined leaves.
- Use castor, tomatoes, or marigold as a trap crop. ( Trap crops are generally used to attract leafminers away from gourd crops.)
- Eliminate plant waste and weeds from the field.
- Employ yellow sticky traps to attract pests.
Different gourd crops require a unique set of growing conditions. The farmer must carefully implement all of the techniques. The farmer needs to protect their fields to obtain higher yields. Today, farmers can make tremendous profits with advanced cultivation techniques. In our modern era, technology can assist them in overcoming all of the issues they confront daily.
How can Fasal assist?
- Fasal’s iterative technology promises to revolutionise agricultural practices for a more sustainable future in the field of agricultural learning.
- The Fasal technology, based on the concept of precision farming, monitors the gourd crops, weather, and soil parameters, including soil moisture and leaf wetness, to assess the crop’s health.
- Fasal continuously tracks these variables, spotting any discrepancies and calibrating a solution in combination with its in-depth comprehension of the optimal circumstances for a crop.
- Our sensor will be able to detect conditions that favour the growth of gourd diseases, such as excessively moist soil, impending rain, or favourable temperatures.
- Fasal’s machine learning technology interacts with the crop utilising its farm-level data to warn farmers when their crops are at risk for disease.
- Our system continuously monitors the health of the soil and trees as well as their ideal mineral and water requirements, resulting in higher-quality produce.
- Fasal also offers Sorting, Grading, Packaging, and Logistics services to help farmers sell their produce at greater prices.
We would love to talk to you and help you understand more about Fasal.