One of the most significant vegetables in India is the bottle gourd, often known as “Lauki,” which is grown in practically every state. It’s also one of the most popular and profitable veggies in Indian marketplaces. Due to old farming methods, many farmers were unable to produce a good harvest and make a profit from the bottle gourd industry. The secret to increasing the production of bottle gourd cultivation is smart farming.
The bottle gourd is a hard-shelled fruit that originated in tropical Africa and is now grown in warm, humid settings all over the world for a variety of uses, including as a vegetable and ornamental item. It is abundantly grown in Northern India throughout the spring, summer, and rainy seasons. Because of its bottle-like shape and historical use as a container, the bottle gourd got its name.
When this fruit is green with leaves and a stalk, it is consumed as a vegetable. Its hard shells are used by tribal communities all over the world as utensils and for crafting various musical instruments. Its pulp is renowned for being an excellent source of fiber-free carbs. When it is at the tender stage, it is even utilized for the creation of sweets and pickles. Hard fruit shells from mature fruits have been utilized as water jugs, household items, fishing net floats, and other things in tribal and rural villages.
Material and Method for Bottle guard Cultivation:
The bottle gourd is a climbing crop that takes two to four months to mature. Its physiology includes leaves that are dark green until they are dried up from aging, single flowers that are a pale, chalky white color, and fruits that vary in shape and size according to the variety.
Climate and Soil:
Its production requires a hot, humid atmosphere because it is a characteristic warm-season vegetable. As it cannot withstand cold, which can stunt its growth and lower its yield, the ideal night and day temperatures for its healthy growth and high fruit set are 18 to 22 °C and 30 to 35 °C, respectively. It was determined that soil made up primarily of sandy loam is best for its cultivation. It is advised that the soil have good drainage and be rich in organic materials. It was determined that growing bottle gourds required a productive, well-drained silt loam soil.
Method of Sowing:
For the rooftop method, the ideal location should be one that makes watering and fertilizer application simple. It should be highlighted that its planting location would make it simple to pull it through a rope on the roof. Seeds can be sowed at a distance of 2.0–3.5 m between plants after adding farmyard manure. Sloppy sowing is carried out in pits with two to three plants per pit on farms and on agricultural land. If the seeds were immersed in water or succinic acid for 12 to 24 hours, more germination would result.
How to cultivate bottle gourds from seed:
You may grow bottle gourds all year long by sowing seeds. The optimal seasons for seed planting are summer and monsoon.
Direct sowing of seeds in small pits or raised beds results in germination in 7-8 days.
Bottle gourd seedlings grow quite swiftly and immediately develop the habit of climbing.
For the climber to grow, ladder support should be constructed. Many gardeners encourage the plant to creep along the ground or to climb up poles or the roof of a house.
Training and Pruning
Because the bottle gourd has high vegetative growth, proper training and pruning are beneficial. Bowering plants enable them to absorb sunlight more efficiently, and yields of up to 80 t/ha have been recorded. It was instructed to cut off auxiliary vine buds until the vines reached bower height. When the vine reaches the bower, the apical bud is cut around 10-15 cm below the bower to allow two or three branches to spread onto the bower. After producing 4-5 fruits, plants are again clipped such that just 2-3 auxiliary buds can sprout on the main vines.
This should be treated as a plant in the kitchen garden and should receive a gentle watering every other day (10 liters). The summer crop needs to be regularly irrigated every 4-5 days. There is no need for irrigation during the wet season.
Yielding and Harvesting
Depending on the cultivator, bottle gourd harvesting might begin 35 to 55 days after sowing. It was recommended that it be picked when the fruit’s rind was still very soft and green. Harvesting shouldn’t be put off because doing so renders the fruit unfit for sale. The typical yield that can be produced ranges from 0.25 to 0.45 kilogram per square foot of floor space. Fruits reach edible maturity 10 to 12 days after anthesis, and this can be seen by pressing on the fruit surface and observing persistent pubescence. Seeds are soft when they reach the point of being edible, but as they age and dry out, they turn hard and have gritty flesh.
Uses of Bottle Gourds:
- Bottle gourds are a delicious, soft vegetable with a delicate flavor that may be used to make both sweet and spicy recipes.
- In India, it is prepared as a vegetable and added to chops, Koftas, or Halwa.
- The ideal low-calorie health food, bottle gourd is high in vitamins, minerals, and water.
- Calabash(Lauki) is used for much more than just cuisine in culture. In India, calabash is frequently utilized as a resonator in string instruments. Wooden instruments like the sitar, veena, and others can have a calabash resonator called a toomba at the end of the strings table.
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