It is also known as “Luffa” sponge gourd. The vines of sponge gourd attain the height of 30 feet or more. The fruits of sponge gourd are cylindrical in shape and outer skin is smooth green. The fruit contains white inner flesh which is fibrous and have similar flavor to bitter melon. The fruit attains the height of 1-2 feet. Fully ripened sponge gourd contains high fiber content which is used as cleansing agent and for making table mats, shoe-soles etc. It is a good source of Vitamin A and C. It is used to cure jaundice, diabetes, to purify blood, and is used to cure skin diseases. In India it is grown in Punjab, Bihar, U.P., Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
All gourds, including ridge gourds, are warm-season crops. They require as much summer heat as they can get to produce fruit before the first fall frost. You should wait to plant gourd seeds until the danger of frost passes in the spring. Gourd seeds planted in soil that is wet or too cold, below 60 degrees F, cannot germinate successfully. Ridge gourds have a long growing season of 100 to 180 frost-free days until harvest. If you live in an area with short growing season, you can start seeds indoors four weeks prior to transplanting outdoors.
It is grown in variety of soil types. It gives best result when grown in sandy loam soil. The pH value of soil ranges from 6.5-7.0 or neutral to slightly alkaline soil is good for plantation.
POPULAR VARIETIES WITH THEIR YIELD
PSG-9: The variety is developed in 2005. The variety contains dark green color leaves with medium-long vines. The fruits of this variety are smooth, tender, dark green in color and are long in shape. Harvesting is mainly done after 60days of transplanting. It gives an average yield of 65qtl/acre. The average fruit size is 65g.
Pusa Chikni: This variety contains dark green color leaves, medium height plant and medium sized fruit. The fruits are smooth, tender and 2.5-3.5cm in thickness. It gives an average yield of 35-40qtl/acre.
Azad Toria-2: It is recommended to grow in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Tarai region of U.P.
Pusa Supriya: It is recommended to grow in Punjab, Jharkhand, Bihar, U.P., Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan regions.
Other state varieties:
Pusa Sneha: The variety is developed in 2004 by Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI). It contains medium long size fruit which is smooth and is dark green in color having blackish green color strips on it. The variety is resistant to high temperature. Spring and rainy seasons are best for crop production. Harvesting is mainly after 45-50 days of sowing.
Azad Toria-1: It is recommended to grown in Uttar Pradesh regions.
To bring the soil to the fine tilth and to make the field weed free, ploughings are required. At the time of ploughing add Farm Yard Manure (FYM) in the field for the good yield. FYM @84qtl in per acre of land is added for quality crop production.
Time of sowing:
The seeds are sown twice in the year. The ideal time for sowing is in the month of mid-February to March and second time in the month of mid-May to July.
Sow two seeds per hill which is 3m wide and use spacing of 75-90cm between seeds.
Seeds are sown at the depth of 2.5-3cm.
Method of sowing:
Dibbling method is used.
Use seed rate of 2.0 kg/acre.
With the help of filer firstly scrap the seed coat of the seed and then soak the seeds in the water for 24 hours for better viability and higher germination percentage.
NURSERY MANAGEMENT AND TRANSPLANTING
Seeds are sown on prepared nursery beds. Avoid seedbeds to touch the ground to protect them from soil-borne diseases. Transplanting is mainly done after 25-30 days of sowing having 4-5 leaves on the seedling.
Seedlings are planted at the distance of 2.5 x 1.2m between rows and plants. Fertilizer application of NPK is applied after 7-10 days of transplanting, then at the time of starting of lateral vine development, then at the flowering period.
In summer or dry condition, apply irrigation with the interval of 7-10 days and in rainy season, it requires limited irrigation. First irrigation must be done immediately after seed sowing. In total crop requires 7-8 numbers of irrigations.
Manures and Fertilizers used in Sponge gourd
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.
Crops are ready for harvesting after 70-80 days of sowing. Carry out picking at the interval of 3-4 days. Harvesting of tender and medium sized fruits should be done. It gives an average yield of 66-83 qtl per acre.