Introduction & Uses:
Bitter gourd is one of the cash crops like vegetable crop in Nepal which is cultivated for tender fruit. This crop is rich in Ayurvedic value, minerals, vitamins in it which is cultivated successfully cultivated from Terai to Mid-hills of Nepal.
Common Name: Bitter gourd
Scientific name: Momordica charantia
- Cure for stomach related diseases
- Increase the hunger and taste in mouth after being non tasty when we fall sick with fever.
- Increase appetite
Vitamins & Mineral:
- Abundant presence of Vitamin A and C
- Minerals like Calcium, Phosphorus are found.
- Very useful for people with high blood pressure and diabetic patient.
Fact: People with low blood pressure should never consume bitter gourd.
Climate & Soil:
For successful cultivation of bitter gourd, warm and humid climate is required. This crop is cultivated in summer and rainy season from Terai to Mid Hills. Areas with good irrigation facility, it can be cultivated during Cahitra/Baisakh period. High humidity and high temperature having places are suitable to this crop. Temperature range of 20-30 degree Celsius where temperature less than 18 degree and higher than 36-degree Celsius cause low flowering of female flowers, high count of male flowers and low fruit set. This crop is very susceptible to frost and snow.
It can be cultivated in all types of soil but sandy loam soil with high organic matter content and well drainage system is best for this crop. pH of 6-7 is recommended where acidic and alkalic soil both have effect in production of this crop.
- Open pollinated varieties: Pali, Pusa do mausami, Coimbatore
- Hybrid Varieties: NS 436, Jelashwai etc
Either for seedlings preparation or main crop production, 5-20 cm deep ploughing is done for 2-3 times. Make clods and weed free field before planting. 150 cm width, 15-20 cm height raised from ground is raised in beds with 40-50 cm between two beds. Furrow is made in between those beds for drainage of water, easy weeding and other interculture.
Planting season & Seed rate:
The required seed rate is 200 grams per ropani. Seed can be directly dibbled in the field or raised seedlings in the poly-bags. Generally, in the winter season, seedlings are raised in poly-bags in the hot seed bed. Moisture content should be maintained in the hot seed bed for growing seedlings. 4 holes in polythene bag is made filling it with compost: soil and sand in ratio of 2: 2: 1. Dip the bottle gourd seed in mild hot water for 24 hours, dibble 2/2 seeds in each polythene bags and irrigated them. Plastic is taken out during day time in hot seed bed. Seedlings are ready after 4-5 days of dibbling.
The recommended fertilizer amount is mentioned below:
Compost or FYM per ropani: 1-1.5 Mt
Urea per ropani: 8 kg
DAP per ropani: 10-12 kg
MOP per ropani: 4 kg
Apply all other fertilizers and half dose of urea during field preparation and other half of urea after 30 days of transplantation around the plant in ring.
Spacing & interculture:
The recommended spacing of bitter gourd is 120- 150 cm between rows and 50-75 cm or 75-100 cm between plants. Transplant the seedlings without causing injury or damage to roots in the pit. Or dibbling of seed which are soaked for 24 hours in water.
Irrigate the crop in 5-6 days interval which are planted during Chaitra – Baisakh period. Irrigate the beds in the furrow at 10 days interval reaching the moisture half the height of beds. During the rainy season, drainage is more concerned than irrigation. Weeding is carried out within 20-25 days of seedlings transplantation along with earthing up which helps in better root growth of plants.
Staking & Cutting:
Seedlings which are ready for climbing small stakes should be given stake of 7 ft height with underground pressing of 1ft and using nylon ropes for easy climbing of bitter gourd. Also, farmers practice, criss cross pole staking with tightening them and putting support along the criss cross poles/stakes in the beds along length. Somewhere, if no staking is available, mulch the field to prevent decaying of fruits. And disease attack in the crop.
Cutting is done to maintain only 3-4 main branches pruning all other unwanted branches. Netting is done with nylon or other ropes in the staking structure to allow growing of bitter gourd above the ground. Unnecessary bushiness is certain if no cutting is done, which allow low air flow susceptible for diseases and pest attack causing low productivity.
Harvesting & Yield:
Harvesting is ready after 70-80 days of sowing or transplanting of seedlings. Harvesting is done within 4-5 days interval and apply urea around plant after every 2 harvesting. Harvesting is done at tender green or white state for vegetable and marketing but it is left until yellowing for seeds to mature for seed production.
Generally, vegetable bitter gourd production is 600-1000 kg per ropani. But, the yield for seed production is 20-30 kg per ropani.