Nothing more cooling than Gourds! This summer beat the heat with Gourds!

Gourds are wonderful plants that can be grown in tropical countries like India. They are easy to cultivate and come in various shapes, sizes, and flavours that are beneficial for us. Let’s learn how to grow these amazing vegetables on our balcony.

Materials required

  1. Containers –

Most of these veggies will flourish well in a 10 – 12 inches deep container. Since they are vines or climber types of plants, the diameter of the container can be kept around 3 to 5 inches to save space. You can choose metal, plastic or clay containers but clay pots are best as they prevent waterlogging conditions for your plants. Drainage holes are really essential. In case of pointed gourds, you may require a little bigger pot of 16 to 20 inches.

  • Soil –

Gourds require light loamy soil which is porous and well-drained. They don’t like waterlogged conditions, hence heavy soils which tend to waterlog should be avoided. You can mix red loamy soil with lots of organic manure/ FYM or vermicompost for fulfilling the nutritional requirements of plants. Some gourds like Ivy gourds can be grown in heavy soil too. If light red loamy soil is unavailable at your location, you can opt for clayey soil but only after mixing loads of compost to make it light.

  • Support for plants

Since the plants are climbers, they would definitely require some support to grow. You can build a wooden trellis for their support. For this, the wooden sticks should be placed in an inverted ‘V’ shape and should be 6 – 8 feet tall. Alternatively, if you have a cage-like structure or have high railings, you can direct the plants in that direction too. If you can’t arrange any of that, you can stick a short pole and tie a really strong thread up to the ceiling and let the plants climb through that thread.  

Light –

Gourds are mostly summer or rainy season crops, so they will flourish well in full sunlight. If you live in extremely hot climates then you can opt for partial shade or some sort of green net for protection.

Water –

In the initial days of growth, water the plants twice or thrice a week, when they start to flower you can water them every alternate day. Make sure that water does not log.

Pollination –

One of the most important activities as a gourd plant cultivator you would need to perform is, pollination. Plants of this family are highly cross pollinated as male and female parts are produced on different flowers or different plants. So, you can’t grow a single plant and expect it to fruit as pollination won’t occur without aid. Since we are growing these on a balcony, insects will rarely visit to pollinate. Hence, we need to take control of this and hand pollinate the flowers. You simply need to take pollen from a male flower and dust them on the stigma of the female flower. By looking at the bottom of the flower, you can identify its sex, if it has a gourd like structure then it is a female otherwise the flower is male.

When to pollinate?

Usually, the flowers open for like a day or two. This means we need to move quickly and keep an eye on the flowers. Once the flowers open, you can pick the male flower and pollinate it. This process is best performed during evening hours.

Sowing method –

Mostly gourds are best planted with the help of seeds. Directly sow the seeds in the final container as they won’t be able to withstand transplanting. You can soak the seeds overnight before sowing, but even if you don’t, they will germinate pretty well. After sowing water the seeds lightly.

Which gourds can be grown in pots or on a balcony?

  • Bottle gourd
  • Sponge gourd
  • Apple gourd
  • Bitter gourd
  • Pointed gourd
  • Ridge gourd
  • Snake gourd
  • Spine gourd
  • Cucumber

So enjoy the season of summers by growing your own veggies in a small compact space too. Gourds are perfect for beginners as they don’t require much attention and will make use of your home’s vertical space too.

Happy gourd summer!

Written by
Antra Thada

Published by Reema

Entrepreneur | Author of 2 Ebooks | Gardener

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