Bottlegourd Cultivation Guide

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#About the Crop

###Crop Name
Bottle Gourd

###Common names
Calabash - Opo - Long Melon

###Scientific Name
Scientific Name : Lagenaria siceraria
Family: Cucurbitaceae

###Name in Indian languages
Suraikkai (Tamil), Sorakaya or Anapakaya (Telugu), Churakkya (Malayalam), Sorekayi (Kannada), Lauki (Hindi), Laau (Bangali), Dudhi Bhophala (Marathi), Jatilao (Assamese)

###Origin, Distribution and Uses
Bottle Gourd which is commonly called Calabash, is believed to originate from Africa thousands of years ago. It is being in use all over the world for food purpose or for making Containers and Music Instruments widely. It is known in neighbouring countries as Laau or kaddu in Bangladesh, Boo thee in Myanmar, Lauka in Nepal, Lauki in Pakistan, Labu in Srilanka. Also known as Jorongbak in korea, Bau in Vietnam, Yugao in Japanese and Hulu or Huzi in Chinese. In Central America it is know as Jicaro. It is called Gara In Arabic. Also commonly called long Melon or Opo Squash. It is being called Calabash since it is Round Bottle shaped.
Bottle gourd is cultivated in Tropical and Sub Tropical areas around the world including Americas for even 8000 thousands years before, according to researchers.

Bottle gourd plant is a climbing vine type plant with leaves near round shape with lush green colour and has a velvety surface. The flowers are white in colour and may be up to 100 cm in diameter. The foliage are having a musky smell with hairs. It grows fast and start flowering in two months. The fruits are green in colour in immature stage and turn whitish in colour when it is at matured stage. Fruits at tender stage are being used in food and beverage preparations and at mature dried stage, used for making vessels and floats for fishing nets and musical instruments.
It has medicinal properties. Rich in fiber, it is used for stomach disorders due to Gastro intestine problems and constipation. It is also having properties of treating night blindness. A Decoction of the leaves of Bottle gourd is used to treat Jaundice. It is having properties of treating Urinary Infection conditions and in controlling Blood pressure and calms down mind conditions. One glass of its juice in the morning can be helpful in losing weight.
According to USDA Data, the Bottle gourd contains the following Nutritional values.
Nutritional value per 100 gm.
Energy - 15 Kcal, Carbohydrates - 3.69 gm, Dietary fiber - 1.2 gm, Fat - 0.02 gm, Protein - 0.6 gm,
VITAMINS:- Thiamine (B1) - 0.029 mg, Riboflavin (B2) - 0.022 mg, Niacin (B3) - 0.39 mg, Pantothenic acid (B5) - 0.144 mg, Vitamin (B6) - 0.038 mg, Folate (B9) - 4ug, Vitamin C - 8.5 mg.
MINERALS:- Calcium - 24 mg, Iron - 0.25 mg, Magnesium - 11 mg, Manganese - 0.066 mg, Phosphorus - 13 mg, Potassium - 170 mg, Sodium - 2 mg, Zinc - 0.7 mg.

Area, Production and Productivity

Area of Production: 2,88,839 acres. Productivity: 100 tons per acre.

##Cultivation Requirements
###Climate and Seasons
It grows in sunny climate. During growing season, it requires plenty of moisture. January- March and September - October are suitable for sowing. It is tolerant to winter but not tolerant for frost. Where there is enough water, it can be grown throughout the year. For crops sown during rainy season, sowing can start after initial rain during May - June.

###Soils
Sandy loamy soils with good drainage and the pH value from 6.5 to 7.5 is best suited for bottle gourd cultivation.

##Varieties

1. Arka Bahar

Developed by IIHR, Bangalore. Tolerant to Blossom end rot. Fruits are straight. Weighing about 1 kg, having light green colour. Yield - 100 to 120 tons per acre.

2. Pusa Naveen

Developed by IARI, New Delhi. Fruits are straight. Weighing about 550 gms.

3. Pusa Summer Prolific Long (PSPL)

Developed by IARI, New Delhi. Long fruits . 40 to 50 cms long.

4. Pusa summer Prolific Round (PSPR)

Developed by IARI, New Delhi. Round in shape, with diameter of 15 to 18 cms.

5. Pusa Sandhesh

Developed by IARI, New Delhi. Medium sized round green fruits weighing 600 gms.
Yield about 71 to 79 tons per acre.

6. Pusa Hybrid 3 F

Developed by IARI, New Delhi, Green colour, club shaped without neck. Yield about 105 tons per acre.

7. Narendra Rashmi

Developed by NDAU&T, Faizabad, UP. Fruits Bottle shaped with shallow neck. Weighing about 1 kg.
Yield about 74 tons per acre. This variety is moderately tolerant to Pumpkin beetle pests,
and Powdery mildew and Downy mildew disease.

8. Pusa Komal

Developed by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Fruits with light green colour and club shape.
Yield about 98 tons per acre. Tolerant to CMV.

9. Punjab Round

Fruits round shaped light green. Yield about 38 tons per acre.

10. Kalyanpur

Developed by CSAUA&T, Kanpur. Long green fruits with tapering end. Yield 74 tons per acre.

11. Samrat

Developed by MPAU, Rahauri. Fruits are cylindrical. Greenish white coloured.
About 30 to 40 cms long. Weighing about 700 gms. Yield about 105 tons per acre.

12. Pant Sankar Lauki 1

Developed by GBUA&T, Pant Nagar. Fruits are long cylindrical shaped with length about 35 cms.
Yield about 98 tons per acre.

13. CO1

Developed by TNAU. Fruits are green coloured, long shaped with bottle neck at top. Weighs about 2 Kg.
Yield about 89 tons per acre.

14. TNAU Bottle gourd Hybrid CO1F-1 Hybrid

Developed by TNAU by crossing NDBG 121 and Arka Bahar.
Cylindrical shaped without neck. Weighs about 900 gms to 1000 gms. Yield about 197 tons per acre.

15. Hybrid Kashi Bahar

Developed by IIVR, Varanasi. Straight cylindrical. Greenish in colour, with 30 to 35 cm length.
Weighing about 780 to 850 gms. Yield about 120 to 125 tons per acre.

16. Hybrid Varad - MGH 4

Developed by Mayhyco, Jalna. Cylindrical shape and Green coloured with 40 to 45 cms length.
Weighing about 600 gms. Yield about 145 to 160 tons per acre.

Crop Management

###Field Preparation
Plough the field with disc harrow first and cross plough with cultivator 3 times. Add Farm Yard Manure.
After 2 more ploughing and planking with cultivators, the field is ready for cultivation with nice soil.
Dig pits of 60 cm diameter and 45 cm depth, at 2.5 x 2 m spacing.

###Propagation
After about 45 days of planting the seeds, the plants grow and reach a stage where flowers start producing. Both female and male flowers are produced. Female flower will have small fruits attached to them and male flowers will not have one.
In order to have good propagation, pollination is must. If Bees activity is more, pollination will be more and more fruits will be formed. In case there is no Bee activity, pollination with hands by rubbing male and female flowers together helps bear fruits to some extent. If Beehives are maintained near the plantation, it will give result. Spraying water mixed with Sugar or Jaggery may attract Bees,which in turn will help pollination.

##Sowing, Nursery and Transplanting
###Seed Rate
12 to 14 Kg per acre.

###Seed Treatment and Sowing
Before Sowing, soak the seeds in water for 10 to 24 hours to quicken germination. Before the seeds are sown in the pits, treat the seeds with Trichoderma Viridi 4 gm or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10 gm or Carbendazim 2 gm per Kg of seeds.
Sow three or four seeds and thin the seedlings to two after 15 days, removing weak seedlings.

###Transplanting
Transplanting of healthy plants grown in portrays also can be done. Plants raised in portrays or polythene bags selectively, can be transplanted after 15 days growth in the main field.

###Spacing
2.5 x 2 Metre spacing.

###Methods
Pits having 60 cm diameter and 45 cm depth are formed with 2.5x2 meter spacing. Fill the pits with farm yard manure and fertilisers mix well and sow seeds at the rate of 5 to 6 for each pit. After the plants grow, remove unhealthy seedlings and keep only 3 healthy ones. Provide bamboo support for the veins to climb to the pandals.
When the plants attains growth of 150 to 200 cm height, to ensure proper growth and yield in an orderly manner, the plants must be pruned. Auxiliary buds are to be removed till the plant reaches the bower level. At this height just before the bower, Apical bud is removed at 10 cm below bower. This helps opening up of 2 to 3 branches to spread on bower. When a few fruits are formed say 4 or 5, again prune the vines allowing only two to three auxiliary buds to grow. This will give a very good Yield. Also remove all old yellowish leaves at the bottom of the plants.

###Cropping Patterns
Rotation method.

###Water Management
Direct watering can be done for 3 to 4 days after sowing continuously. Thereafter every alternate day during flowering and fruiting.
For efficient and economical water management and fertigation, Drip irrigation system with 4 liters per hour is best suited with lateral pipes placed at 1.5 meters X 60 cm interval. Install drip irrigation system and place the inline lateral tubes at an interval of 1.5m.

###Nutrient Management
N-P-K at the rate of 6-12-12 Kg and at 100 gm per pit as basal and 10 gm of N per pit at fortnightly intervals.

###Weed Management
Weeding can be done by hoeing as and when necessary, also can be done during application of fertilisers. Fruit rot during rainy season can be checked by training the plants over the bamboo stick or dried branches.

###Pests and Management

  • Fruit fly (Dacus Cucurbitae)
    Lays eggs on the fruits. Grubs eat the fruit from inside rendering the fruit unfit for marketing.
    Apply Carbaryl 10% DP in the pit before sowing to destroy any pupae. For small cultivation, the fruits may be covered with Polythene bags. For large farms application of Carbaryl 25 gms or Malathion 40 ml in 15 liters of water with sugar or jaggery at the rate of 10 gm per liter of water, sprayed at fortnightly intervals during flowering and formation of fruits can control this menace. Remove any fruit
    affected with Fruit fly and destroy.

  • Epilachna beetle
    The beetles and their Grubs eat away the leaves, resulting in their destruction. This affects the productivity of the plants. Spray Carbaryl 25 gm per 15 liters of water. Remove the affected leaves containing the egg and Grubs and destroy.

  • Red pumpkin Beetle (Aulacophora foveicollis)
    Pests are in Red colour, hatch white coloured Grubs.They feed on the roots, stem and fruits.
    Spray Malathion 50 EC, 500 ml or Methyl Demeton 25 EC at the rate of 1.235 Liters per acre.
    Thoroughly plough the field immediately after harvesting and the field to sun to destroy hibernating pests. Collect Adult beetles physically and destroy them.

  • Aphids
    They are the carriers of Mosaic virus, besides causing damage to foliage.
    Spray Imidachloprid at the rate of 0.5 ml per liter along with Teepol, Tritron for adhesion

###Diseases and Management

  • Powdery Mildew
    Ash coloured spots appear on the surface of the leaf and stem. Damaging both. Spraying a mixture of Mancozeb and Carbendazim at the rate of 35 gm per liter of water can control this disease.

  • Downy Mildew
    Yellow spots appear on the top side of the leaf. Similarly water soaked like spots of fungus appear on the bottom side of the leaf. Mostly appears during rainy season. To control this, spray Mancozeb, at the rate of 50 gm per 15 liters of water.

  • Mosaic Virus
    Yellow and Green coloured mottled appearance of the leaf. To control this it is necessary to control the carrier pests. Use of Mosaic Resistant varieties can help. Further to Control the vectors spray Dimethoate, at the rate of 35 ml per 15 liters of water. Remove affected plants and destroy them to prevent the spreading to other plants.

  • Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum)
    Affects the leaves, causing surface wilting and yellowing of the leaves. Spray Neem oil on the leaves. Remove and destroy the affected leaves.

Harvesting and Yield

Fruits are harvested when they are at tender stage. They become edible and reach harvesting stage 10 to 12 days after they start grow. They are soft to touch. At this stage it can be harvested for marketing for food purposes. At this stage the seeds are soft. Generally tender fruits are preferred. Harvesting of Bottle gourd can start after 55 days of sowing and can be continued at 3 to 4 days interval. During harvesting, care should be taken to avoid injuries to fruits and veins while cutting the fruits from the veins. While plucking the fruits leave a small bit of fruit stalk along with the fruit. Do the plucking with a sharp knife. The fruits should be harvested when they are still green for getting a better price.
Average yield is about 60 tons per acre for pollinated varieties and about 120 tons per acre for Hybrid varieties.

Cost of Cultivation

S No Activity Cost Rs
1 Field Preperation 6000
2 Nursery and planting/sowing 8000
3 Weeding 8000
4 Plant protection 8000
5 Fertilesers 7000
6 Wages 5000
7 Total 42000
Description Amount in Rs
Total cost of cultivation for yield of 40 t/ha 42000
Lowest Market price 3
Net income 78000
Profitability per ha 78000

Source :- (TNAU Agritech portal.)

Marketing

The Bottle gourd is having a good demand both in local markets for day to day consumption as well as for Export Markets. They can be sold in local markets or through some marketing agency for exporting in good profit.

Post Harvest Technology

The harvested fruits can be stored for 3 to 5 days under refrigerated condition. It is profitable to market the fruits earlier. Fruits should be thoroughly washed in water before use, to remove the residues of chemical sprays.
Bottle gourd fruits are used in many ways for thousands of years. Generally it is used in food preparations. It is used in treatment of many disorders and widely recommended in Ayurvedic treatments. The matured ripe fruits are used for making musical instruments like
Thambura,Veena in India and for making Containers for storage of Water, Medicine and Floats for fishing nets. Also used in sacred rituals in many other Countries.

Reserved for additional information