Ash Gourd

Introduction

Ash Gourd derives its name due to the colour of the skin of the fruit which is Ash. In some regions the skin of the Ash Gourd is having a waxy shine and hence it is called, Wax Gourd. The Ash Gourd can be cultivated even during rainy seasons and hence the name, Winter Gourd.

According to various studies made recently, the Ash Gourd is capable of treating many health related issues. It has anti-cancer qualities. It is said to have properties for treating diabetes, kidney dysfunction, inflationary conditions, and nervousness and used in the treatment of digestion related conditions like ulcer, vomiting, burning sensation of chest and acidity. Its extracts are also used in treating conditions like headache and tension; acts as an antidepressant and used for conditions like seizures, cold, fever and asthmatic conditions.

Climate and Seasons

Ash Gourd can be grown throughout the year, where only mild winters are experienced. The ideal time for Sowing is January to March and September to December, it is suggested to sow October to November. Sowing in October can prevent Mosaic Virus to an extent.

Soils

Deep loamy soil with pH range of 5 to 7.5 with warm tropical climate is suitable for Ash Gourd cultivation.

Varieties

Advanta 206 is best variety of Ash Gourd.

Crop Management

Field Preparation

Pits of 60 cm diameter and 30-45 cm depth are taken at 4.5 x 2.0 m spacing. Well rotten FYM and fertilizers are mixed with topsoil in the field.

Propagation

Propagation through seeds, planted in pits or furrows directly. The seedlings after developing veins allowed to train in soil surface.

Sowing, Nursery and Transplanting

Seed Rate

1.85 Kg per acre in Pits type system and 5 Kg under furrow type system of growing

Seed Treatment and Sowing

Seeds have to be soaked in water before sowing. Seeds are to be treated with Trichoderma viride 4g/kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10 gm/kg or Carbendazim 2 gm/kg before sowing. At least 4 or 5 seeds are sown in the pit and after the plants are grown after a period of two weeks, 2 plants which are healthy can be retained to grow further.

Transplanting

Generally the seedlings are grown directly to develop. But there is also practice of raising seedlings in portrays. The portray having 98 cells and plant one seed per cell. Decomposed coco peat is used as medium of planting the seeds. Regular watering two times a day to be ensured. For transplanting, it is necessary to grow the seedlings for at least 12 days in shade before it is planted in main field.

Spacing

Pits of 60 cm diameter and 30-45 cm depth are taken at 4.5 x 2.0 Meters spacing.

Methods

Inter cropping method is beneficial.

Cropping Patterns

Ash Gourd initially grows slow and takes time. It is advisable to raise quick growing Cucumber or Oriental pickling Melon as inter crop so as to get additional benefit.

Water Management

Watering every third day is required in the initial stage and further it is to be increased to every alternate day during flowering and fruit formation.

Nutrient Management

Initially during ploughing just before last ploughing, apply Farm yard Manure at the rate of 120 Kg and Neem cake 240 Kg along with Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria at the rate of 5 Kg and Pseudomonas at the rate of 6 Kg per acre.

Apply Farm Yard Manure 10 Kg per pit as basal. Basal application of N-P-K as 10-10-10 kg per acre is recommended. N at 10 kg per acre may be repeated one month and two months after sowing.

Weed Management

Weeding and soil loosening to be done at the time of fertilizer application.

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