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Bitter Gourd
Botanical Name – Momordica charantia L.
Family – Cucurbitaceae

Importance

  • Another name of Bitter gourd is “bitter melon” and is also known as “Karela” in Hindi.
  • The botanical name of bitter gourd is Memordica charantia and it belongs to the family of “Cucurbitaceae”.
  • It is popularly known for its medicinal, nutritional and other excellent health benefits. Because of its high demand in the market, bitter gourd farming is done very successful.
  • Bitter gourd is mainly used for making juice and for culinary purpose.
  • It is a rich source of Vitamin B1, B2 and B3, C, beta-carotene, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, folate and calcium.
  • It has health benefits such as it helps in preventing blood disorders, detoxifies blood and liver, boosts immune system and helps in weight control.   

Varieties

1.Punjab Karela-15: 

  • It has smooth, serrated, green leaves.
  • Green and pubescent stem.
  • Long vines with smooth, serrated, dark green leaves.
  • Fruits have a matt look and a dark green colour.
  • It has a mediocre level of resistance to bitter gourd yellow mosaic disease.
  • The yield is 51q/acre on average.

2.Punjab Kareli-1 (2009): 

  • Vines are long, according to Green, smooth, and serrated leaves are present.
  • Its fruits are ridged, long, and green.
  • First fruit harvest occurs 66 days after planting.
  • The average production is 70 q/acre, and one fruit weighs roughly 50 g.

3.Punjab Jhaar Karela-1 (2017):

  • Its medium-length vines have green leaves with serrations.
  • Fruits are aesthetically pleasing green, soft, spindle-shaped, and ideal for slicing during cooking.
  • It is immune to viruses and root knot nematode infections.
  • It yields 35 q/acre on average.

Older varieties

4.Punjab-14 (1985): 

  • It has little vines.
  • Fruit is pale green and weighs approximately 35g.
  • Ideal for planting in the spring and during periods of heavy rain.
  • 50 q/acre on average is the yield.

Other Varieties

5.Arka Harit : 

  • Fruits have smooth, regular ribs, a short, spindle-shaped shape, a green colour, and a mild bitterness.
  • 48q /acre of yield.
  • This variety has been released by IIHR Banglore.

6.Pusa Vishesh: 

  • This variety has been released and recommended for cultivation as a summer season crop by the I.A.R.I., New Delhi.
  • The vine is dwarf and bushy and easy to manage.
  • The fruits are attractive green, fusiform with many irregulars broken smooth and glossy ridges on the surface.
  • They are medium long and thick.
  • It is early in maturity and takes about 55 days to come to harvest after sowing.

Other state varieties:

7.CO 1:

  • The variety has medium sized fruit which are long and dark green in color.
  • The fruits have an average weight of 100-120 gm.
  • It gives an average yield of 5.8 t/acre and the variety matures in 115 days. 

8.COBgoH 1: 

The variety matures in 115-120 days and gives an average yield of 20-21 t/acre.

9.MDU 1: 

  • The fruit are 30-40 cm in length and matures in 120-130 days.
  • It gives an average yield of 13-14 t/acre. 
  • Preethi and Priya are the varieties that are mainly grown.

Hybrid

COBgoH1

Soil

Soil –

  • Sandy loam soil which is rich in organic content and has good drainage system is ideal for the bitter gourd cultivation.
  • The pH of the soil ranging from 6.5-7.5 is best for bitter gourd farming. 

Climate – 

  •  It is a warm season crop grown mainly in sub-tropical and hot-arid regions.
  • They are susceptible to light frost and are provided with partial protection if grown during winter months.
  • Temperature range of 24o– 27oC is considered as optimum for the growth of the vines.

Season and Sowing
Time of sowing: February to March or June to July is an optimum time for seed sowing. Spacing: Sow seeds on both side of 1.5 m wide beds and use plant to plant spacing of 45 cm.  Sowing depth: 2.5-3 cm deep seeds are sown in the pit.  Method of sowing: Dibbling method 
Seed Rate
Seed rate:Use seed rate of 2.0 kg per acre.  Seed treatment: Before sowing, seeds are soaked in 25-50 ppm Gibberelic acid and 25 ppm boron for 24 hours. 
Preparation of Field

  • For bitter gourd farming, well prepared land is required.
  • To bring the soil to fine tilth, 2-3 ploughings should be done followed by weeding. 

Irrigation

  • After sowing, first irrigation should be given.
  • In summer season, irrigation is given after every 6-7 days and in rainy season, irrigation is given only when needed.
  • In total, 8-9 irrigations are required. 

Quality Seedling Production

  • Bitter gourd is a direct sown vegetable but polythene bag nursery is more
    advantageous to get early marketing and to avoid more gap filling.
  • Use 200 gauge poly bags of 10 cm diameter x 10 cm height for sowing the seeds.
  • Transplant about 15 days old seedlings to the main field.

Application of Fertilizers

Fertilizer Requirement (kg/acre)

UREA SSP MURIATE OF POTASH
30 125            35

Nutrient Requirement (kg/acre)

NITROGEN PHOSPHORUS POTASSIUM
    13      20     20
  • Application of FYM@ 10-15 tonnes is done before 10-15 days of sowing.
  • Along with FYM, application of fertilizer dose of nitrogen@13 kg / acre in the form of urea @30 kg / acre, phosphorus@20 kg / acre in the form of SSP@125 kg / acre and Potassium@ 20 kg /acre in the form of MOP @35 kg  / acre is done.
  • Full dose of phosphorus and potassium and one third dose of nitrogen are applied before seed sowing.
  • The remaining dose of nitrogen is added after one month of sowing. 

Drip Irrigation

  • Install drip system with main and sub-main pipes and place the inline lateral tubes at an interval of 1.5m.
  • Place the drippers in lateral tubes at an interval of 60 cm and 50 cm
    spacing with 4LPH and 3.5 LPH capacities respectively

Field Preparation

  • Form the raised beds of 120cm width and spread the lateral tubes in the centre of each bed.
  • Irrigation is done in the beds by operating the drip system continuously for 8-12 hrs.
  • Spray pre emergence herbicide like Pendimethalin @ 1 Kg a.i/ha just before planting.
  • Planting or sowing is done at the holes made at 2 m distance.

Diseases

1.Downy mildew: Pseudoperonospora cubensis

Click for larger image.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms resembling mosaic viz, pale green areas separated by dark green areas appear on upper surface of leaf.
  • During wet season, corresponding lower surface is covered with faint purplish fungal growth.
  • The entire leaf dries up quickly.

Management

  • Use of bed system with wide spacing with good drainage and air movement and exposure to sun help to check the disease development.
  • Spray with Moncozeb 0.2 % or Chlorothalonil 0.2% or Difolaton 0.2% or Ridomil MZ 72 0.1%
  • Seed treatment with Apron SD 35 @ 2 g./kg. followed by spraying with Mancozeb 0.2% is effective in reducing the disease.

2.Powdery mildew: Erysiphe cichoracearum

Symptoms

  • Powdery mildew, is especially prevalent in hot dry conditions.
  • White or brown mealy growth will be found on upper and lower surfaces and stems.
  • Under severe infestations, the plant will be weakened and stunted.

Management

  • The disease can be controlled by spraying Wettable sulphur 0.1%

3.Mosaic: PRSV/CMV

Symptoms:

  • A virus distributed world wide, affecting most cucurbits but rarely affecting watermelon.
  • New growth is cupped downward, and leaves are severely mottled with alternating light green and dark green patches.
  • Plants are stunted, and fruits are covered with bumpy protrusions. Severely affected cucumber fruit may be almost entirely white.

Management

  • The virus is readily transferred by aphids and survives on a wide variety of plants.
  • Varietal resistance is the primary management tool, and eliminating weeds and infected perennial ornamentals that may harbor the virus is critical.
  • Spray with any one of the systemic insecticide

Plant Protection

1.Fruit flies: Bactrocera cucurbitae

Symptoms of damage:

  • Maggots feed on the pulp of the fruits
  • Oozing of resinous fluid from fruits
  • Distorted and malformed fruits
  • Premature dropping of fruits and also unfit for consumption

Management:

  • Collect infested and fallen fruits and bum in deep pits.
  • In endemic areas, change the sowing date as the fly population is low in hot dry conditions and at its peak during rainy season
  • Expose the pupae by ploughing and turning over soil after harvest
  • Use ribbed gourd as trap crop and apply carbaryl 0.15% or malathion 0.1% on congregating adult flies on the undersurface of leaves.

2.Pumpkin beetlesAulacophora foveicollis

Symptoms of damage:

  • Grubs feeds on the roots, stem and fruits touching the soil
  • Adult feeds on leaf and flowers.

Management:

  • Plough the fields just after harvesting destroy the hibernating adults
  • Collect and destroy adult beetles
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 500 ml or dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml or methyl demeton 25 EC@ 500 ml/ ha

3.Stem borer or clear winged moth: Melittia eurytion

Symptoms of damage:

  • Larva bores into  the stem of snake gourd and produces gall

Management:

  • Collect and destroy the damaged plant parts with larvae
  • Encourage activity of parasitoid: Apanteles spp.
  • Spray any following insecticides
    • malathion 50 EC @ 500 ml
    • dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml
    • methyl demeton 25 EC @ 500 ml/ ha

4.Stem gall fly: Neolasioptera falcata

Symptoms of damage :

  • Maggots bore into the distal shoot and form galls

Management:

  • Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @ 500 ml
    • Dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @ 500 ml/ ha

5.Snake gourd semilooper : Plusia peponis

Symptoms of damage:

  • The caterpillar cuts the edges  of  leaf lamina, folds it over the  leaf and feeds from within leaf roll

Management:

  • Collect and destroy the caterpillars
  • Encourage activity of Apanteles taragamae, A. plusiae
  •  Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Dimethoate 30 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @500 ml/ha

6.Pumpkin caterpillar: Diaphania indica

Symptoms of damage:

  • Young larva scrapes the cholorophyll content
  • Later on it folds and webs the leaves and feeds within
  • It also feeds on flowers and bores into developing fruits

Management:

  • Collect and destroy early stage caterpillars
  • Encourage activity of parasioid: Apanteles spp.
  • Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Dimethoate 30 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @500 ml/ha

7.Bottle gourd plume moth : Sphenarches caffer

Symptoms of damage:

  • Larva feeds on leaves making small holes

Management:

  • Collect and destroy larvae and pupae
  • Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Dimethoate 30 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @500 ml/ha

8 Leaf miner : Liriomyza trifolii

Symptoms of damage:

  • Leaves with serpentine mines.
  • Drying and dropping of leaves due to severe infestation.

Management:

  • Collect and destroy mined leaves 
  • Spray NSKE 3%

Nutritional Deficiency

1.Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Deficiency Symptoms

Stunted plant growth; Old leaves turn yellow in color

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of urea @ 1%

2.Potassium

Potassium

Deficiency Symptoms

Interveinal necrosis of old leaves, puckering, distortion and outward rolling of middle leave.

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of 0.2-0.5% K2SO4

3.Sulphur

Sulphur

Deficiency Symptoms

Stunted plant growth;Chlorosis occur in young leaves

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of CaSO4 @ 0.5%

4.Boron

Boron

Deficiency Symptoms

Young leaves become brownish and brittle; crinkling of leaves; small and malformed fruits

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of sodium molybdate @ 0.5%

5.Iron

Iron

Deficiency Symptoms

Chlorosis occur in young leaves; leaves turn into yellow

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of [email protected]%

6.Manganese

Manganese

Deficiency Symptoms

Symptoms seen in young leaves; leaves become pale yellow

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of [email protected]%

7.Zinc

Zinc

Deficiency Symptoms

Symptoms will be seen in young leaves; leaves become small

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of ZnSO4 @ 0.5%

After Cultivation

  • Hoe and weed thrice.
  • Provide stakes for the plants to reach the pandal (2 m).
  • Spray Ethrel 100 ppm (1 ml dissolved in 10 lit of water) four times from 15th day after sowing at weekly intervals

Fertigation

Fertigation
Apply a dose of 200:100:100 kg NPK/ha throughout the cropping period through split application

Fertigation schedule

Fertigation Schedule- Bitter gourd (Hybrid)
Recommended dose: 200:100:100 kg/ha

Stage Crop stage Duration in days Fertilizer grade Total Fertilizer (kg/ha) Nutrient applied % of requirement
N P K N P K
1 Crop
establishment
stage
10 19:19:19 + MN
13-0-45
Urea
26.81
11.00
29.03
5.00
1.43
13.35
5.00

5.00
4.95
10.00 5.00 10.00
Subtotal 19.78 5.00 9.95      
2 Vegetative
stage
30 12-61-0
13-0-45
Urea
12.28
66.00
109.00
1.47
8.58
50.14
7.49


29.70
30.00 7.50 30.00
Subtotal 60.19 7.49 29.70      
3 Flower
initiation to
first picking
30 12-61-0
13-0-45
Urea
12.28
44.00
115.00
1.47
5.72
52.90
7.49


19.80
30.00 7.50 20.00
Subtotal 60.09 7.49 19.80      
4 Harvesting stage 45 19:19:19 + MN
13-0-45
Urea
26.31
78.00
97.52
5.00
10.14
44.86
5.00

5.00
35.10
30.00 5.00 40.00
  Total duration 115 days   Subtotal 60.00 5.00 40.10      
Total 200.06 24.98
(or)
25.00
99.35
(or)
100.00
100 25 100

*75% RD of Phosphorus applied as superphosphate = 469 Kg/ha.
1. 19:19:19 = 53 kg/ha
2. 13:0:45 = 199kg/ha
3. 12:61:0 = 25 kg/ha
4. Urea = 351 kg/ha

Harvesting

  • Depending upon season and variety the crop is ready to harvest in 55-60 days.
  • Picking of fruit is done after the interval of 2-3 days. 

Yield

Varieties : 14 t/ha in 140 – 150 days.
Hybrids : 40 t/ha in 180 days

Market Information

Crop Growing districts : Coimbatore, Dindigul, Cuddalore, Thoothukudi, Tiruppur
Major markets in Tamil Nadu Periyar Vegetable Market, Koyambedu, Chennai Gandhi Market, Oddanchathiram Natchipalayam vegetable market, Coimbatore
Grade Specification 20-25 cm long green fruits with short neck and tubercles are preferred