Bitter gourd- Planting activities

Bitter gourd is propagated through seed. The recommended seed rate is 2-2.4 kg/acre. The best season of planting is January to March and September to December. For rainfed crop the planting time is from May to June.

The land is prepared well by thorough ploughing or digging. Pits of 60 cm diameter and 30-45 cm depth are taken at 2.0 m x 2.0 m spacing.

Lime or dolomite @ 1-3 Kg/cent has to be applied depending on soil acidity. This should be followed by adding organic manure @ 90 kg/cent along with top soil.

The planting is done in raised beds or mounds during rainy season and in trenches or pits during summer season. Seeds are sown @ four or five per pit at 1-2 cm depth. Deeper sowing delays germination.

The seeds are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to planting for better and quicker germination.

The seeds will germinate in about 4-5 days. Remove unhealthy plants after two weeks and retain two or three plants per pit.

Bitter gourd can also be grown as a transplanted crop. The seedlings are transplanted 15-20 days after sowing or when they are 10-15 cm tall.

Apply recommended basal dose of fertilizers at the time of planting. A time lag of ten days should be given between application of lime and fertilizers.