Snake Gourd Farming – Introduction
The snake gourd is a long twisted fruit of the snake gourd plant. It is commonly eaten as a vegetable. The plant is a climbing vine which bears the fruit. In India, the snake gourd is a very commonly eaten vegetable. The fruit is harvested immature. The unripe fruits are eaten as a cooked dish.
Snake gourd is a very common vegetable. The plant grows wild too in many parts of the world. Recently, snake gourd is also exported to many other countries in the world. So, at such times, it is important to cultivate the snake gourd. The cultivation of snake gourd is easy. The plant can be cultivated under normal conditions. For a successful crop, it is important that the yield is high. To get a higher yield, proper cultivation techniques must be used. Proper nutrition must be provided to the crop. Regular irrigation must be given so that the plants must survive. The soil which is used must be good in quality. Good soil will provide proper nutrients to the plants. If good quality snake gourds can be harvested, there will be good returns also. Export of the vegetables can give higher returns.
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Scientific Name of Snake Gourd: Trichosanthes cucumerina
Top Countries Producing Snake Gourd In The World
The snake gourd is commonly found wild in parts of Asia. it is found in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nepal, China, Indonesia, Myanmar. Apart from these countries, it is cultivated in Florida, Australia and some parts of Africa.
Common Name Of Snake Gourd In Other Languages
- English: Snake Gourd
- Tamil: Podalankai / Pudalai
- Malayalam : Padavalnga / Padavalam
- Telugu: Potla Kaya
- Kannada: Hagala Kai / Padaval Kai / Padavala
- Hindi : Chachinda / Patoala
- Bengali: Chichinga / Chin Chinga
- Gujarati: Padavali
- Konkani : Peddaley / Poddvolen
- Marathi: Padval
- Oriya: Chhachindra
- Punjabi: Parol
- Tulu: Padlanga
Common Varieties Of Snake Gourd Farming
This variety of snake gourd is hybrid. It takes 145-150 days to reach maturity. The yield of this variety is about 25 tonnes per hectare. The length of the fruits is about 180-200cm. The fruits are very long in shape.
This variety is selected from the local variety of snake gourd plants. The size of the fruit is short. It is 35-40cm in length. The fruit has a light greenish white colour. The fruit is without any stripes. The plant is stout in nature. The fruit also has an ash coloured bloom on the skin. The yield of the plant is about 25-30 tonnes per hectare. The maturity period for this variety is about 125-130 days.
This variety is also a selection of the pure line. The length of the fruits is long. It can be 160-180cm in length. The fruits have a dark green colored skin. It also has white colored stripes on the body. The yield of the plant can be about 18 tonnes per hectare. The maturity period of the plant is about 135 days.
This variety of snake gourd plant produces short fruits. The length of the fruits is about 60cm. The fruits have a green colored skin and white colored stripes.
There are many high yielding varieties of snake gourds which are cultivated across the world. The high yielding varieties must be selected based on their yield. A good variety can be cultivated properly. The quality of fruits will also be good in a high yielding variety. Due to its superior qualities, a proper variety must be selected.
Cultivation Of Snake Gourd
For cultivating snake gourd, a proper site must be selected. All the necessary equipment must be gathered for cultivation. Selection of a proper variety is also important. The area needed for cultivation must be selected. The area must have good soil conditions. The irrigation facilities must also be present. Only after all these conditions are met, one can expect a good crop.
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Soil Conditions For Snake Gourd Farming
Almost any good soil is suitable for growing snake gourd. The sandy loam soils are best for growing the snake gourds. The ideal ph of the soil should be 6.5-7.5. The ph of the soil should not be extreme acidic or basic. The soil must be rich in organic matter. The soil also must be well drained and fertile. Too light or too heavy soils must not be used for cultivation of snake gourds. The soil also must be well aerated for good growth of the snake gourd plants.
Climatic Conditions For Snake Gourd Farming
The snake gourd grows well in tropical and temperate climates. It is grown in the cold season and also in the warm season. The plant can adapt very well to almost any kind of climate. But, extreme climatic conditions must be avoided. In such cases, the yield and quality of the fruit might be affected. Extreme temperature and conditions like frost or drought must be avoided. A warm sunny weather is preferred during the growing period of the snake gourds.
Land Preparation For Snake Gourd Farming
The land preparation must be done carefully to cultivate the snake gourd. Land preparation is an important step which decides the growth of the plants. If the land is prepared properly, the crop will grow well. The soil should be ploughed several times. After ploughing is done, levelling or harrowing must be done to make the soil texture smooth. Proper drainage channels must also be made in the field. This must be done so that the excess water can be drained out. After ploughing, well-decomposed farmyard manure must be mixed with the soil.
Propagation Methods For Snake Gourd Farming
The snake gourd is propagated through seeds. The seeds must be bought from a reliable source. Only healthy and disease free seeds must be used. The seeds must be pre-treated with appropriate chemicals or biofertilizers before sowing. It is better to use seeds from a high yielding variety of snake gourd.
Seed Rate And Sowing Season For Snake Gourd Farming
The average seed rate which is used for the cultivation of snake gourd is 1.5 kg of seeds per hectare. The seeds can be sown either in the month of July or in January.
Planting Method For Snake Gourd Farming
The seeds can be planted in the main field. The seedlings can also be transplanted to the main field from nurseries. In the nursery, the seeds are sown in soil and sand mixture. Fertilisers are mixed with it. Then they are allowed to germinate. After that, they are grown in protected conditions. When the seedlings have 3-4 leaves, they are transplanted to the main field.
In the main field, pits must be dug. The pits must measure 30cm*30cm*30cm. The pits must be exposed to the sunlight for about a month. After that, they should be filled with topsoil and manure mixture. About 4-5 seeds may be sown in the pits. Later, thinning may be done. For sowing the seeds, and proper seed sowing equipment can be used. The seeds must not be sown too deep in the soil. Otherwise, they will not germinate. After sowing, irrigation must be given to the field.
Spacing In Snake Gourd Cultivation
For cultivation of snake gourd, a spacing of 2.5m*2m must be given.
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Irrigation Methods For Snake Gourd Farming
The irrigation in the snake gourd field must be done properly. Water must be supplied at regular intervals. The soil must be kept moist at all times. Under normal conditions, irrigation once every week is sufficient. Irrigation before and after sowing the seeds is important. During the rainy season, the field must not be irrigated. If excess water collects in the field, it must be drained out. During summer months and dry seasons, the water must be supplied regularly. The young plants need to be watered properly. For saving water, drip irrigation or sprinkler irrigation must be given. Mulching is also a very good option for saving water. The irrigation in the snake gourd field is very important when it is time for flower and formation of fruit. Waterlogged conditions must be avoided at all times.
Fertiliser And Manure Application For Snake Gourd Farming
The farmyard manure must be applied at the time of field preparation. After that, the proper doses of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium must be applied at split doses. Too much fertilizer must not be used or the soil will become dry. A proper soil test is necessary for knowing the nutritional requirements. It is important to know that which nutrients are needed in what quantities. The organic fertilizers must also be applied along with the chemical fertilizers. Watering the plants after fertilizer application is a must.
Intercultural Operations For Snake Gourd Farming
The main problem in snake gourd cultivation is weeds. Hoeing can be done to remove the weeds. Therefore, the weeds must be removed from the field as early as possible. Manual method can be used to remove the weeds. Chemicals and appropriate herbicides can be used for destroying the weeds. The soil must be raked sometimes. This helps the nutrients to be absorbed better by the roots. Thinning is another important activity. The thinning must be done 15 days after sowing the seeds. Thinning is done so that the plants can grow healthy.
The snake gourd plants are climbers. So, stakes must be put in the field. They are put to train the plants. Proper training is essential for proper growth of the plants.
Pest And Disease Control Methods For The Cultivation Of Snake Gourd
The following are the common pests and diseases of snake gourd and their control measures.
- Downy mildew- Mancozeb spray
- Fruit fly- imidacloprid spray
- Beetles- trichlorfon or dichlorvos spray
- Powdery mildew- carbendazim or dinocap spray
- Caterpillars- trichlorfon or dichlorvos spray
The diseases and pests can be controlled by the natural methods also. Seed treatment may help to avoid many pest attacks and other fungal problems.
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Yield Of Snake Gourd
The yield of snake gourd depends on the variety. It also depends on the crop management practices adopted. An average yield of 18 tonnes per hectare can be achieved.
Harvesting Snake Gourd
The maturity time for snake gourds is about 130-145 days. It also depends upon the variety. The snake gourds must not be left to become ripe. They are harvested immature. When the fruits have reached the desired size, they can be harvested. The fruits can be cut with a knife. Only the desired fruits must be harvested.
Post-Harvest Management And Marketing Of Snake Gourds
The fruits after harvesting must be cleaned and collected in a safe place. They must be sold fresh in the market. If not possible, they must be stored in required conditions to keep them fresh for longer. The snake gourds must be packed properly so that they are not damaged. After that, they can be transported to the nearest market for selling. For export, they must be packed properly.
Benefits Of Snake Gourd
- Snake gourd has certain compounds which are beneficial for diabetic patients. The juice of snake gourd can help in the treatment of diabetes.
- The snake gourd contains many minerals. It is good for the general health of the body. It keeps the body fit.
- Snake gourd is rich in dietary fiber. Due to its high fiber content, it is good to treat constipation and is good for stomach problems.
- The juice of snake gourd can be applied externally on the scalp. It helps to treat dandruff.
Snake Gourd Farming – Conclusion
The snake gourds are an important vegetable. So, while cultivating them, few points must be kept in mind. Scientific knowledge must be applied. Proper growing conditions must be followed. Only then, a proper yield can be expected. A good yield can also bring good profit. Selecting a better variety is also important. For a better variety, the quality will also be good and the returns will be worth it as well.
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