Bitter gourd is a fast growing, warm seasonal (which means, can be planted in Mumbai, all season long) Climbing annual and a native to South Asia. First thing you need to know about bitter gourd is about them being a vine, yes, they will need trellis in order to grow properly, it is easy to build trellis so you don’t have to worry so much about it. just make sure there is enough space from them to grow.
If you already purchased the seeds then its time to germinate them, also this plant you can straight grow from your kitchen, buy a bitter gourd, let it dry, when it turns orange, seeds are ready to be planted. Some say soak them in water for 24 to 48 hours until the coat becomes soft, but I decided to straight put them in a paper cup with compost and soil. One seed per paper cup can be sown, 1/2 inch deep.
Be patient, wait for six to seven days until the little cute seedlings start to emerge.
I love the color of the seedlings, the light green color is something to see. After few more days….
When they become the size above, it’s time to transplant them in the ground. Me on the other hand, will be planting them in containers. And in couple of weeks.
One seedling per pot, Size – 18-20 inch deep. Transplants should be done in such a way as to avoid disturbance to the root system.
Since I am practicing organic vegetable gardening and if you are doing the same, I advice that you keep a ample supply of organic fertilizer, including the tea compost. You must apply compost after tilling to give your soil nutrients that your plants need in order to grow well, also make sure that your garden has enough sunlight because our bitter gourd wants a lot of sunlight.
As the plants grow, place poles or wooden sticks 2-3m.high and give wire or twine or DENTAL FLOSS to support them. Trust me, dental floss is the strongest wire and because it’s literally invisible from far, one always wonders what they are holding on to.
Regular watering with plenty of water is essential for its growth. Flowers will start appearing in 5-6 weeks and fruition will occur between two to four months.
AND then comes the fruits.
This is not as easy as it looks. Bitter groud thrives in warm and humid weather, but too much humidity attracts lots of insects to the plants too. Look who all came. DISGUSTING LITTLE CREATURES.
White Fungus, Black spots on the leaves and many many more. My conclusion is, two months, September and October after the rain in Mumbai are the worst to plant anything new. Humidity is on it’s highest level making them prone to lot of diseases.
I used Garlic chilli water, Diluted Vinegar, Finally I started to check each and every leave looking for outsiders who are not suppose to be there. Finally, It was a big task but I found them, threw them as far as I could. And WALLA! Hard work does pay off.