The bitter gourd, known as karela in Hindi is one of the nutritive and commercially important cucurbit vegetable grown extensively throughout the country. Its fruits are rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins and have some medicinal properties. They are used as fried, boiled, stuffed and cooked vegetable and also pickled.
Scientific name –Momordica charantia L.
Climate and soil requirement
Though it has a wide range of adaptability, yet it thrives best in warm, humid regions. It cannot tolerate frost. Though it can be grown on all types of soils, yet well-drained loam soil rich in organic matter is best suited for its cultivation. For getting early crop sandy or sandy loam soils are preferred but they should be manured well, and a good amount of artificial fertilizers should be added to the soil.
Improved Bitter gourd Varieties
1. Punjab Kareli-1 (2009)
Leaves are green, smooth and serrated. Vines are long. Its fruits are long thin, green and ridged. It takes 66 days for first fruit harvest. One fruit weighs about 50g, and average yield is 70 q/acre.
2. Punjab –14 (1985)
It has small vines. Fruit weighs about 35g and is light green. Suitable for sowing during spring and rainy seasons. Average yield is about 50 q/acre.
Agronomic Practices for Bitter gourd cultivation
Two kg. Seed per acre.
Sowing should be done on both sides of 1.5m wide beds keeping plant to plant distance of 45 cm.
Fertilizer requirement for Bitter gourd
Apply 10-15 tonnes farm-yard manure 10-15 days before sowing and also apply 40 kg of N(90 kg of Urea), 20 kg of P2O5 (125 kg of Single Superphosphate) and 20 kg of K2O (35 kg of Muriate of Potash) per acre. Whole P2O5 and K2O along with one-third of N should be applied in two parallel bands 45 cm apart, and a channel should be prepared in between the fertilizer bands before sowing of seed. The remaining nitrogen should be applied one month after sowing.
Irrigation of Bitter gourd
First irrigation should be given after sowing. During the summer season, the crop may be irrigated after 6-7 days whereas during rainy season only when needed. A total number of irrigations should be 8-9.
Harvesting of Bitter gourd
The crop will be ready for harvesting in about 55-60 days after sowing depending upon variety and season. The picking should be done at 2-3 days interval.
For seed production, the crop is grown just like the market crop. To produce pure seed, genetic purity of the variety must be maintained, and off-type plants must be removed. The rouging should be done thrice i.e. at vegetative phase, at flowering stage, and at fruiting stage. An isolation distance of 1000 m should be kept between different varieties. Keep one honey bee colony per acre to produce good seed yield. When the colour of the fruits turns dark yellow to orange, they should be harvested. The seed should be separated from fruits and pulp and should be cleaned and dried in the shade.
“Package PAU (Veg) – Documents.” DocSlide. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May. 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, Ludhiana.
- Production Technologies and Marketing Strategies of Vegetable crops of Central India.