Bitter gourd is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Due to higher market rates, bitter gourd is a profitable crop. Bitter gourd has higher yield potential and its medicinal value cannot be denied. A different successful farmer in Pakistan is getting extra profit more than all other cucurbit crops. It is a long durational crop with 8-9 months, in other words, it keeps the income for almost the whole year. Bitter gourd is included in those vegetables which are exported so in this way bitter gourd market price remains almost higher for a whole season. In this article, I will discuss each aspect of bitter gourd farming. There are the following outlines under which a whole article will be discussed,
- Variety selection
- Land preparation
- Plant protection
- Fertilizer and irrigation
There are a lot of varieties that are high yield like Faisalabad Long. But always as a researcher I would like to recommend exploring the market with easy availability. Different seeds sellers may claim about the variety of its high disease resistance. It was mentioned by the experienced grower that variety contributes to the yield and its potential against a filthy environment, but it makes it more successful when farmers do good agricultural practices. Seed rate is dependent upon the germination rate, the variety with higher germination rates may vary from 2-2.5 kg per acre and 4-4.5 kg for those varieties with lower germination percentage.
Bitter gourd sowing time
Mostly all of the cucurbits are seeded directly, but many farmers are successfully preparing their nursery plant. Majorly, bitter gourd is directly seeded. Plant germination is very important, most of the time germination not successful and farmers get late to produce the crop. To overcome this issue, it is suggested that prepare the mixture of sand and well-rotten farmyard manure and fill a hole with this mixture and seed. This mixture will create a healthy environment for seed germination. Bitter gourd is sown twice in a year, in February-March or in June-July. Majorly, in Pakistan, it is grown in July, but this time is full of a lot of different challenges for the farmer like an attack of different diseases and pests.
Land should be prepared very well; it should be pulverized. Sandy loam soil is most suitable for bitter gourd. Land leveling is important. Land preparation method may differ for different farmers, but it will be suitable when the farmer arranges the beds and furrows in such a manner that after plantation other agronomic practices should be very easy. For this purpose, the walking area should very vast enough for agricultural practices. It is also suggested that bitter gourd will survive little if its succulent branches are not stalked with stalking structures just like bamboo. Land should be prepared with the bed to bed distance of 1.5 ft with 2 ft bed size and the seed should be sown on each corner of beds with 4-5 inches of the plant to plant distances. Later, the bamboo structure is used for trailing on each bed in such a way that bamboo to bamboo distance should be 5-6 ft, and in between each bamboo bitter gourd branches are stalked with threads through trained labor.
The sowing in the month of July gives many dangerous surprises to survive this crop. The attacks of insects or fungal diseases are very common. It is suggested that do not wait for any attack or disease symptoms. The good plan to control the fungal diseases and insect attack is to be ready as early as possible. It is recommended that apply a spray of each fungicide and insecticides on the 2-3rd day of every week from the first day of plantation and keep going until the two months so that the crop should cross the danger zone as well as become resistant. In insects, whitefly, thrips, and aphids are very common. Apply the insecticides of the best companies with fungicides. Another important thing is the weed problem apply the roundup or paraquat by avoiding spray-on actual plants. It is also suggested that cover the plant root with more soil so that branches trail over easily.
Fertilizer and irrigation
A food and water plan for every crop is necessary. For this purpose, apply a nitrogenous fertilizer like ammonium sulfate in which nitrogen with Sulphur will incorporate and create a healthy environment for easy uptake and kept the plant away from soil-borne disease. To give the complete nitrogenous dose apply the 15kg of urea with 1 bag of ammonium sulfate with each irrigation and do until the crop reaches the flowering stage. Irrigation requirement is very important and bitter gourd needs plenty of water and did not tolerate the water stress. When bitter gourd reaches the flowering stages apply the potash with humic acid, which will help in the uptake of bound chemical complexes of nutrient compounds. It is also suggested that spray the different growth regulators so that more fruiting could be obtained at the fruiting time.
Bitter gourd yield per acre in Pakistan
It is claimed theoretically that bitter gourd average production is 8-10 tones per acre. The harvesting of bitter gourd started after two months of the plantation. It is suggested that harvest early in the morning or in the evening time.
- Bitter gourd is a member of the family Cucurbitaceae and considers as most yield potential crop.
- Almost, all cucurbits survive in pure sandy soil, but sandy loam soil is much more suitable.
- There are two favorable seasons for bitter gourd in February-March or June-July.
- Bitter gourd considers more medicinally important especially for diabetic patients.
- Bitter gourd is sown directly with seeds, but it is also successful as a nursery plant.
- The higher rate of bitter gourd in the market attracts the farmer to do as a commercial business.
- Selection of variety is very important, always select variety with more reputation in the market.
- Bitter gourd is more successful in trailing structure than on beds.
- The application of fungicides and insecticides should be applied as early as possible after plantation.
- Prepare a good fertilizer plan with each irrigation and spray different plant growth regulators for better fruiting.
- Bitter gourd is a long season crop.
I hope this article helps you a lot. Feel free to express your thought in the comment section and stay tuned!