Ridge Gourd F1 Hybrid - Seeds
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Ridgegourd scientifically known as Luffa acutangula and also known as turiya or turai or beerakai or dodka in different languages in India is another variety of gourd and a versatile vegetable which adds a facet to the vegetarian cuisine. This is also known as Chinese Okra or Sponge gourd.
This vegetable is an extremely popular vegetable in the Asian, African and Arabic countries. Also known by other name like loofah, luffa or tori etc this vegetable is believed to be originated in the Arabic desserts and spread throughout the world. It is a dark green vegetable on the exterior side with white pulp and white seeds embedded within in a spongy flesh. All the species of the ridge gourd or loofah are edible and must be consumed before they mature or else they are too woody and fibrous to eat.
Ridge gourds, need approximately 110 days to mature and should be started early (indoors) in climates with short growing seasons. Ridge gourd seeds should be soaked for at least 24 hours before planting to speed up germination. Seeds tend to sprout rather erratically and young plants should be monitored carefully for disease. Provide growing plants with a sturdy support for climbing as soon as new growth emerges.
Usually in the summer, germination takes place within 4 days from the date of sowing when conditions are favorable.The young seedlings are highly susceptible to attacks from red pumpkin beetle. To avoid this, imidochloprid @ 0.5 ml per litre is very effective. Within 2 weeks of germination, climbing support must be provided & the plant starts developing tendrils for this purpose. The tendrils help the plant to grasp the provided support & start climbing. The support in the form of long sticks, plant branches etc must have a height of 6 feet.
General Growing Tips
Soil Requirements: Ideally, gourds should be planted in mounds of nutrient rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8-6.2. Space mounds about 4 feet apart with 3-4 seeds to a mound. Mulch around plants to control weeds. Gourds will deplete the soil of nutrients and should not be planted in the same place in consecutive years.
Exposure: Full sun. Plant them several hundred feet away from late varieties of squash and pumpkins to avoid cross pollination.
Feeding: Fertilizing gourds is generally not necessary, but plants can be given a balanced organic fertilizer or side-dressed with well-rotted manure once about mid-season.
Watering: Gourds are not drought tolerant. Soil should be kept consistently moist (not wet) and plants should be watered at least once a week during dry periods.
Supports: Fruits are heavy and plants are fast climbers. They should be provided very sturdy supports while growing.
Growing Gourds in Containers
Light-colored buckets (maybe 2-3 seeds in each) or large terra cotta pots will probably work best for this project. Gourds climb like monkeys so they will also need supports. Make sure to put a sturdy trellis of some kind in each pail.
After the seedlings emerge, cover the top of the soil with some course mulch. This will help keep the soil cool while helping retain moisture. If the plants start to decline and you suspect the roots are getting too hot, you might try deflecting some of the heat away from the bucket by wrapping the outside of the bucket with something shiny like aluminum foil.
Just like anything grown in containers, watch moisture levels carefully. Gourds like a lot of water to begin with, so plan to check them everyday. if you are growing gourds in containers give them a balanced (10-10-10) liquid house plant fertilizer (diluted to half strength) early in the season, and then again about mid-way through. Better yet, you might periodically top the soil off with a little compost.
Keep your gourds well away from pumpkins, squash, and other cucurbits in the garden to avoid the possibility of cross pollination.
Harvesting: Gourds should be left on the vine until the stems die back and turn brown unless there is danger of a hard frost. Handle mature gourds with care and place them in a warm place with good air circulation to dry. When you shake them and hear their seeds rattle they are completely dry.
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