Calabash

$2.00

Calabash

Nowadays, bottle gourds are grown by direct sowing of seeds or transplanting 15- to 20-day-old seedlings. It prefers well-drained, moist, rich soil. It requires plenty of moisture in the growing season and a warm sunny position sheltered from the wind. It is cultivated in small places such as in a pot, spread on a trellis or roof. In rural areas, many houses with thatched roofs are found covered with the gourd vines. Bottle gourds grow very rapidly and their stems can reach a length of 9 m in the summer, so they need a solid support to climb by the pole or trellis along the stem. If planted under a tall tree, the vine can grow up to the top of the tree. To get more fruit, sometimes farmers cut off the tip of the vine when it has grown to 6–8 feet long. This forces the plant to produce side branches that produce fruit much sooner and more flowers and more fruit. The plant produces white flowers. The male flowers have long peduncles and the females have short ones with an ovary of the shape of the fruit. Sometimes, the female flowers drop off without growing into a gourd due to the failure of pollination if no bee activity occurs in the garden area. To solve the problem, hand pollination can be used.

Crops are ready for harvest within two months; yield ranges from 35–40 m tons/ha.

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