Bottle gourd is one of the rarest vegetables which is being cultivated from historic period of time among the cucurbit crops. Immature fruit is eaten as vegetable of this crop. This crop is very rich in Vitamin A, B Calcium, Phosphorus and Iron. At present juice of bottle gourd is being recommended which helps in controlling high blood pressure. It can be cultivated from Terai to altitude of 2000 m above sea level in the hill of Nepal. Nursery is kept in cooler period of season whereas it is cultivated in summer and rainy season. For off-season cultivation, nursery is maintained in Poush.
Climate & Soil:
It requires hot and humid condition and is very susceptible to frost. Cooler climate does not help in good crop growth and development. High rainfall and eratic climatic condtion leads to incidence of pest and disease attack. Temperature of 20-30 degree Celsius is suitable for this crop and temperature higher than 40 degree Celsius can lead to flower drop. It can be cultivated year-round in area with hot and humid climate.
Generally, bottle gourd requires high organic matter contained sandy soil in summer condition and in rainy season clayey loamy soil is suitable. pH of soil required is 6.0-7.0 and pH less than 5.5 lead to poor crop growth as well as with adequate moisture in the soil.
According to location, time and varieties it is planted from magh to Jestha. Nursery establishment in magh and transplantation in Falgun or dibbling seed directly in the planting area.
The recommended varieties if bottle gourd in Nepal are as below: –
- NS 421
- CBH 4
- Gudka 1
- MHBG 8
Direct dibbling of seeds of bottle gourd from Baisakh to Bhadra can be done but raising seedlings I polybags is very profitable and productive. Generally, in the winter season, seedlings are raised in polybags 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.
Plough the field for 3-4 times and make it free of weeds and clods planking is done to level the field. Pit digging of size 60 cm * 60 cm * 60 cm length, breadth and depth is dug and recommended fertilizer amount is applied in the pit. Pit filling is done with compost or FYM, top soil and fertilizers. At time of planting, irrigate the seedlings adequately to draw them easily and without injuring. Cut the polythene bag with blade and plant the seedlings in the centre of pit upto nursery ground level only. Raised bed is essential in rainy season and apply hay or straw around the seedlings after planting to avoid rainfall damage to seedlings or irrigation stress.
Off-season: Ashoj – Jestha
Seasonal: Ashad – Ashoj
Geographical Region Time
Terai & Inner-Terai Mangsir – Baisakh
Lower Hills Magh – Chaitra
Mid Hills Chaitra – Baisakh
High Hills Baisakh – Jestha
Varieties Staking No staking
Local 5/5 meters 5/5 meters
Hybrid 4/3 m 4/4 m
- Pit filling stage:
Each pit is filled with 20 kg well decomposed FYM, 100 grams DAP, 50 grams Potash and 50 grams Urea before 7 days of transplanting of seedlings. For higher production, oilseed cake powder @ 100 grams, Bone meal @ 50 grams, Borax @ 10 grams and 10 grams bio-jam can be applied.
- First time:
After 7 days of seedlings transplantation, apply 5 grams urea each plant at 10 cm radius from plant in ring.
- Second time:
After beginning of harvest of bottle gourd, Amino lome super 1 @ 1 ml/liter water should be applied in each plant.
- If it is cultivated in small area, stake with tree branches or bamboo parts for every plants.
- If cultivated in commercial scale, build the cowshed structure or plastic tunnel with poles where central pole is taller. Place the half part of bamboo between the poles and join the central to the others. As like in plastic tunnel. 2-3 meter is recommended distance between two poles.
Irrigation & Weeding:
Irrigate the crop weekly in summer season and do not allow the stem or vine to come in contact with irrigated water. Weeding is essential to make field free from weeds as per the requirement.
Harvesting & Yield:
Yield varies from cultivation location, time & varieties however, average yield is 800-1500 kg per ropani whereas income varies from 13000 to 21000 per ropani.
Harvesting should be done when the fruit size reaches closed fist size which is tender and free from fibers for better marketability. Harvesting should be done at the evening time free from rain.
Learn the disease management of Bottle gourd (cucurbit) from here.
Insect – Pest Management:
Learn the pest management of Bottle gourd (cucurbit) from here.