As its name suggests, ash gourd is grey or ash in color and is a big vegetable like pumpkin. Its botanical name is Benincasa Hispida. It is also known by other names like white gourd, winter melon, and fuzzy melon.
It is native to Southeast Asia, grown in India, China other East Asian countries. In India, it is commonly known as Petha. It is usually cultivated for its medicinal and nourishing benefits.
It is a creeper which produces big yellow flowers. The leaves are long around 10 to 20 centimeters and have a long hairy stem. The fruits are usually oval in shape and grow up to 30 centimeters in diameter. Propagation of ash gourd is done by seeds.
This vegetable when young has thick white flesh which is sweet. By the time it reaches maturity, it loses the hairs, and a waxy coating is developed which provides a long shelf life.
Climate and Soil required for growing ash gourd
Ash gourd is a warm season crop and grows well in temperature range of 22-350C. It is sensitive to frost and low-temperature conditions. It can be cultivated in all types of soils, but sandy loam soil is ideal for its growth. The pH range is 6.5-7.5.
Improved Variety of Ash gourd in Punjab
PAG-3 (2003): The vines of this variety are medium long with green leaves. Fruits are attractive, globular and medium sized. It takes 145 days from transplanting to harvesting. The average fruit weight is 10 kg. and average yield is 120 q/acre.
Agronomic Practices for Ash gourd cultivation
Sowing Time – 1. February-March
Seed Rate: Two kg per acre.
Spacing: Sow at least two viable seeds per hill on one side of 3 m wide beds at a spacing of 75-90 cm.
Manures and Fertilizers for Ash gourd
Apply 8-10 tons of FYM and 40 kg of N (90 kg Urea), 20 kg of P2O5(125 kg Single Superphosphate) and 20 kg of K2O (35 kg Muriate of Potash) per acre. Apply FYM, half of N and whole of P2O5 and K2O in a band before preparation of beds. Use rest half of the N at flowering stage.
Irrigate the crop at 7-10 days intervals.
Harvesting of Ash gourd
The fruits are ready for picking after 120-150 days of sowing.
The raising of seed crop is similar to that of vegetable production of ash gourd. The best time for raising the seed crop is February-March. A minimum of 1000 m isolation distance between two varieties of ash gourd is required. Remove the undesirable or off-type plants before flowering, during flowering, fruiting, and maturity stages. Fruits are physiologically mature for seed harvesting when white waxy surface appears on the fruits and stem surface.Separate the seeds from the pulp and wash it with water before drying. After cleaning, pack the dry seeds and store it under low temperature and low humidity conditions.
“Package PAU (Veg) – Documents.” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://documents.tips/documents/package-pau-veg.html>.
Package PAU (Veg) – Documents. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://documents.tips/documents/package-pau-veg.html
Punjab Agriculture University.