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Bitter Gourd Farming Business in India – A Complete Guide

Soil for Bitter Gourd Farming

Bitter melon is another name for bitter gourd, also known as “Karela” in Hindi. Bitter gourd’s botanical name is Memordica Charantia, and it is a member of the “Cucurbitaceae” family. It is well-known for its medicinal, nutritional, and other health benefits. Bitter gourd farming is very successful due to its high market demand. Bitter gourd is primarily used to make juice and in cooking. It is high in Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C, beta-carotene, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, folate, and calcium. In addition, it has health benefits such as preventing blood disorders, detoxifying the blood and liver, aiding in weight control and boosting the immune system.

Soil for Bitter Gourd Farming 

Bitter gourd cultivation requires sandy loam soil rich in organic matter and has a sound drainage system. The soil pH should be 6.5 to 7.5 for bitter gourd farming. Moreover, you can make the ground perfect with farm machines like New Holland 3600 and others. 

Popular Varieties

Punjab Kareli-1: In 2009, the film Punjab Kareli-1 was released. The leaves of this variety are green, smooth, and serrated. They produce long, thin, green-coloured fruits. Moreover, after 66 days, the first fruit is harvested. Also, the fruits weigh an average of 50 gm and yield an average of 50 QTL/acre of fruit.

Punjab-14 was first released in 1985. Small vines grow from the plant. Moreover, the fruits weigh 35 gm on average and are light green. Therefore, the variety is best suited for planting during the rainy or spring seasons. It has a yield of 50 QTL/acre on average.

Punjab Jhad Karela-1: In 2017, the film Punjab Jhad Karela-1 was released. It has a yield of 35qtl/acre on average. It produces small, green-coloured fruits.

CO 1: The fruit is medium in size, long, and dark green. The fruits weigh between 100 and 120 gm on average. It produces an average yield of 5.8 tonnes per acre and matures in 115 days.

COBgoH 1: The variety matures in 115-120 days and yields 20-21 t/acre on average.

MDU 1: The fruit grows to be 30-40 cm long and matures in 120-130 days. It produces an average yield of 13-14 tonnes per acre.

Also, the most commonly grown varieties are Arka Harit, Preethi, and Priya.

Land Preparation 

A well-prepared plot of land is required for bitter gourd farming. In addition, first, 2-3 ploughings should be done, followed by weeding to bring the soil to a fine tilth.  Also, it may help you for efficient work if you use advanced farm machines like New Holland 3630 and others.

Sowing 

February to March or June to July are ideal for seed sowing. Sow seeds on both sides of 1.5 m wide beds with 45 cm plant to plant spacing. Seeds are planted 2.5-3 cm deep in the pit. Therefore, it is best to use the dribbling method for it.

Seed

Use a seed rate of 2.0 kg/acre. Seeds are soaked in 25-50 ppm Gibberellic acid and 25 ppm boron for 24 hours before sowing.

Fertiliser 

Before 10-15 days of sowing, FYM@10-15tonnes is applied. Along with FYM, nitrogen@13kg/acre in urea @ 30kg/acre, phosphorus@ 20kg/acre in the form of SSP@125kg/acre, and potassium@20kg/acre in the form of MOP@35kg/acre are applied. Before seed sowing, a full dose of phosphorus and potassium and a one-third of nitrogen are applied. After one month of sowing, the remaining nitrogen dose is applied.

Irrigation 

After sowing, we should irrigate the soil for the first time. Irrigation is provided every 6-7 days during the summer season and only when necessary during the rainy season. Therefore, it is essential to perform 8-9 irrigations in total.

Weed Control 

Weed control is accomplished through intercultural operations. We should control weeds with 2-3 hoeings during the early stages of plant growth. When fertiliser application, weeding should be done in the soil and earthing up should be done primarily during the rainy season.

Plant Protection

Powdery mildew causes leaf withering by the appearance of white powdery spots on the upper surface of the leaves. Also, a 3gm/ltr spray of carbendazim is applied to control the powdery mildew.

Downy mildew: If an infestation is discovered, a spray of Mancozeb or Chlorothalonil@2gm/ltr is applied twice every 10-12 days.

Aphids suck the sap from the leaves, causing the leaves to yellow and droop. To control the aphids, imidachloprid@0.5ml/ltr is sprayed.

Mites: Thrips cause leaf curling, causing the leaves to become cup-shaped or curved upward. In addition, Dicofol 18.5 per cent SC@2.5ml/ltr water is sprayed to control mites.

Beetles cause damage to flowers, leaves, and stems. To control beetles, Malathion 50EC@1ml/ltr is sprayed.

Harvesting 

The crop is ready to harvest in 55-60 days, depending on the season and variety. Also, fruit is picked after a two-to-three-day interval.

Seed Production

We should do routing three times: once during the vegetative phase, once during the flowering stage, and once during the fruiting stage. Maintain a 1000-meter separation from other bitter gourd varieties. Set up one honey bee colony to produce a high seed yield. Fruits are harvested for seed production when they turn dark yellow to orange in colour. After harvesting, the seeds are extracted from the pulp, cleaned, and shade dried.

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