Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bitter gourd is very nutritious vegetable having high therapeutic value


SEVAI SHG women harvest Bitter guard vegetable

SEVAI Women self help groups grow bitter guards, Paharkai in their backyards and in their marginal landholding garden lands. Manimegalai, SEVAI woman SHG member of S.Pudukottai shared her experiences of Bitter guard vegetable cultivation. She added, “Bitter gourd is very nutritious vegetable having high therapeutic value. It is a good vegetable for those suffering from diabetes. It is cultivated as inter-crop vegetable. They are green when unripe turning to an orange yellow colour when ripe. Bitter gourd is believed to have originated in the tropical regions and it is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop in India.A well drained soil of loamy type is preferred for bitter gourd. Lighter soils which warm quickly in spring are usually utilized for early yields and in heavier soils vine growth will be more and fruits are late maturing. The soil should not crack in summer and should not become waterlogged in rainy season. It is necessary that soil should be fertile and well provided with organic matter. Bitter gourd is essentially a warm season crop; it can also be grown at slightly lower temperature. The growth requirements of bitter gourd are generally long period of warm preferably dry weather with plenty of sunshine. Bitter gourd is generally grown in summer as well as in rainy season. A wide range of variability in plant and fruit characters exists in bitter gourd. The varieties grown in summer season are small fruited and those grown in rainy season are long fruited. Coimbatore Long variety has been released by the Agricultural Research Institute, Coimbatore. Fruits are long, tender and white in colour. This variety is suitable for rainy season. Soil moisture is an important factor governing the germination of bittcrgourd. Generally, sprouted seeds are planted in spring- summer season and adequate moisture has to be maintained at the time of emergence. Usually, irrigation frequency is reduced when the fruits reach near maturity and completely stopped in the last stage of harvest. It is advantageous to keep the field free from weeds especially in the early stages. Frequent hoeing and weeding promote healthy growth and heavy fruiting. This is possible only till the vines are not fully grown, and at later stage only large weeds may be pulled out manually without disturbing the vines. The average yield of bitter gourd is about 150 quintals of Bitter gourd per hectare. After harvesting; Bitter gourds are kept in shade, cool place and packed in wooden baskets for the market. Before packing, they are properly cleaned and graded”. -Govin

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