Pointed Gourd 251 by mrR9D7


									                                  Pointed Gourd
                                    Booklet No. 251
                              Vegetable: Production: VPS-12
I.     Introduction
II.    Climate
III.   SoiI
IV.    Varieties
IV.    Planting Requirements
VI.    Manures and Fertilizers
VII.   Irrigation
VIII. Interculture
IX.    Training and Pruning
X.     Crop Rotation and Intercropping
XI.    Insect Pests & Diseases
XII.   Harvesting & Yield
XIII. Uses and Composition
XIV. Economics of Cultivation


       Pointed gourd is one of the important cucurbit vegetable of northern India especially in
the Gangetic plain. Mostly the cultivation of this vegetable is done on sandy soils in river beds
which is unsuitable for cereal or pulse production. Fresh fruits gives a good return in cash.
Because of the low cost of cultivation and high return, its cultivation is suitable for small and
marginal farmers. This booklet describes cultivation of pointed gourd in detail.

Dr. K. T. Chandy, Agricultural & environmental Education

I. Introduction .

        The pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) is one of the choicest cucurbitatious
vegetables which is liked by many. It is a perennial vegetable crop. Pointed gourd is believed to
have originated in India. It is cultivated in an estimated area of 10,000 hectares in India mainly
in Diara lands of major rivers of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. It has less water content
than most of the other vegetables. Therefore, it has better keeping quality and can stand long
distance transportation to other states where it is not cultivated.

II. Climate

        The pointed gourd thrives well under hot or moderately warm and humid climate. Frost
or severe cold, especially below 5°C, are un favourable for the crop. The crop can withstand
water in places with abundant rainfall (Assam and West Bengal). During winter tile crop remains
dormant and vigorous growth starts only with the onset of spring.

III. Soil

      High land with better drainage facility should be selected for pointed gourd cultivation.
Sandy loam soil is ideally suitable for its cultivation. The soil should be rich in organic matter.
Heavy soils as well as alkaline and saline soils are not suitable for its cultivation. Since it grows
well under drought conditions, water logging is quite detrimental for its growth. Hence, well-
drained fields should be selected.

IV. Varieties

        Since pointed gourd is a vegetatively propagated crop, a lot of clonal variation exists in
this crop. There are no improved varieties in this crop. However, local strains are quite popular
among growers. These strains can be grouped into following categories based on their fruit
1. Fruits are small, nearly round, dark green with distinct stripes. Such a type is locally called
pattar and is considered to have good medicinal properties.
2. Fruits are thick, long, tapering at both the ends and dark green with whitish stripes.
3. Fruits are thick, tapering at both the ends, long, slight green and do not have stripes.
4. Fruits are small, roundish, light green with no visible stripes.

       Some of the local varieties of pointed gourd are, Dandali, Kalyani. Guli. Bihar Sharif;
Sopari Safeda, Miria and Santakhia.

V. Planting Requirements

Pointed gourd is a vegetatively propagated crop. Following steps are involved in its cultivation.

A. Land preparation
        When the crop is to be raised in the fields, 2-3 ploughing followed by planking are
essential. When planted in the river bed, the trenches should be dug 30-45 cm deep, spaced
1.5 -2.0 m apart. These trenches should be filled with farmyard manure and soil in the ratio of 1:

        In the uplands, pointed gourd is also cultivated in pits. In this case 60 to 90 cm deep pits
are dug at a distance of 2x2 metre. This distance may be reduced to 1.5 x 1.5 m if the crop is to
be trained on trellis or bowers. The pits are filled with sand, soil and farmyard manure in equal

B. Time of planting
        The time of planting varies from place to place depending upon the climatic conditions.
Planting time is mid-August in the plains (uplands) and mid-November in Diara lands. Planting
after the onset of winter delays the sprouting and establishment of plants. Mostly cuttings from
the mature vines are taken in October when the fruiting is over.

C. Planting material
        The pointed gourd is vegetatively propagated through vine cuttings and root suckers.
Seed propagation is avoided due to poor germination (50% plants may be non-fruiting i.e. male
plants). The under ground and aerial buds give rise to roots and fruiting plant are taken for
planting one hectare.

       In pointed gourd, the male and female flowers are borne on separate plants (dioecious).
Both male and female plants, therefore should be planted to ensure proper fruit set. Cuttings are
taken mostly from female plants. For proper fruit setting, there should be one male plant per 10-
12 female plants.
D. Planting methods
        Propagation techniques by various scientists have been standardized for pointed gourd
for growing from stem cuttings or root suckers. These are being described below.

1. Stem cuttings
       When vines or stem cuttings are selected as propagation material, following methods
are used for planting.

a. Lunda or lachhi method
        In this system, young vines (stem cuttings) about 1 to 1.5 cm, long with 8-10 nodes per
cutting are taken and folded into a figure of eight (8) commonly known as lunda or lachhi. This
lachhi should be placed flat in the pit and pressed 3 -5 cm deep into the soil (pit). Fresh cow
dung may be applied over the central part of the pit to enhance the sprouting if there is no rain.

b. Moist lump method
       In this method 60 cm long vine is encircled over a lump of, moist soil leaving both ends
15 cm free. Such lumps are buried 10 cm deep into the well prepared pits leaving the ends of
vine above the soil. The under soil part sticks to the root and the exposed ends give sprouts.

c. Straight vine method
        In this method, the vine cuttings are planted end to end horizontally 15 cm deep into the
furrows. These furrows spaced m apart are opened and filled in with a mixture of farmyard
manure and soil.

d. Ring method
       In this method, the vine cutting is coiled into a spiral or ring shape and planted directly
on the mounds, covering one -half to two-third of the ring under the soil.

e. Rooted cutting method
         The cuttings from the mature vines are planted in the nursery and are allowed to strike
roots. These cuttings are then planted in February -March in eastern Uttar Pradesh and shifted
to river beds in November.

2. Root suckers
       Tuberous roots of pointed gourd are uprooted and planted on the mounds. The
propagation through this method is easier and faster and gives assured success.

VI. Manures and Fertilizers

         Apply farmyard manure @ 20 to 25 tonnes per hectare in sandy soils. However, manure
is not required when it is cultivated in river beds rich with silt. For maximum returns, 90 kg
nitrogen (N), 60 kg phosphorus (P 2°5) and 40 kg potash (KzO) is applied per hectare.
However, half of nitrogen and full doses of phosphatic and potassic fertilizers are applied at the
time of preparation of pits or trenches and the remaining half dose of nitrogen is side dressed at
the time of flowering. For ratoon crop, the NPK mixture with well-rotten farmyard manure is
applied by loosening the soil around the mound towards the end of winter, or before the start of
fruiting every year.

VII. Irrigation
       Though sprouting occurs within 10 days after planting during the hot or moderately warm
days, for sure establishment and healthy crop, 10 -15 % moisture above the wilting stage must
be maintained. Controlled (light) irrigation is given to the crop as and when needed.

VIII. Interculture

       When the vines have covered the field, weeds should be uprooted to prevent damage to
the tender vines and flower buds. Mulching with straw, sugarcane trash or dried grass helps in
suppression of weeds and protects the fruits from rotting in contact with wet soil.

IX. Training and Pruning

         The green fruit yield in pointed gourd increases significantly when the vines are trained
on trellis or bowers, since the inter and intra-row space in reduced to 1.5 x 1.5 metre. During
winter the growth of meristmetic tissue is retarded to a great extent. Therefore, the vines should
be pruned 15 cm from the ground before the winter (October -November) sets in, also deep
pruning should be done in October -November.

X. Crop Rotation and Intercropping

         The following crop rotations are commonly practiced in some
       Potato                 -pointed gourd
       (Nov -Jan)             (Feb -Oct)
       Radish                 -Pointed gourd
       (Nov -Jan)              (Feb -Oct)
       Early Pea              -pointed gourd
       (Nov -Jan)             (Feb. Oct)
       Palak                  -Pointed gourd
        (Nov -Jan)            (Feb -Oct)
       The pointed gourd is   also grown as an intercrop with beetel vine (pan) in some areas of
eastern Uttar Pradesh.

XI. Insect Pests and Diseases

         The major pests and diseases of pointed gourd and their control measures are given

A. Insect pests
       Common insect pests and their control measures are described as follows.

1. Red pumpkin beetle
       This insect attacks the pointed gourd in the establishing stage. They are elongated
orange beetles which feed upon the leaves and tender shoots. Damage is caused both by the
grub and adult.

       This insect can be controlled by the soil application of 1 % Lindane at the rate of 19 -24
kg/ha or spray with Lindane (0.1%) or Sevin (0.2%).

2. Fruit fly
         Maggots of this fly cause severe damage to the young fruits. The adult fly lay eggs
below the skin of the young fruits. The infected fruits show sunken spots and in severe cases,
fruits shrivel or rot.

        The fruit fly infestation can be minimized by baiting with Malathion and protein
hydrolysate (1/2 kg of protein hydrolysate and 1.25 litres of 50% Malathion mixed together)
during fruit setting period.

3. Jassids
       These are small sucking insects, green to greenish-yellow colour. They suck the sap of
the leaves which gives a shriveled appearance. Jassids can be controlled by spraying 0.1%

4. Aphids
       These are small green insects which suck the sap of the plants. They multiply very fast
and cause considerable damage when in large number, particularly during early stage. In full
grown plants, the leaves turn yellow and plant looses its vigour.

      Spraying of 0.1 % solution of Malathion is recommended to control aphids.

B. Diseases
       Some of the important diseases and their control measures are given below:

1. Powdery mildew
        This is a severe disease of all the cucurbits including pointed gourd. Symptoms of the
powdery mildew first appear on the under surface of the older leaves as white fluffy circular
spots which increase in size and number. Later on these spots coalesce and cover both the
surfaces. Severely attacked leaves become brown and shriveled. The fungus attacks also stem
and fruits.

        The disease may be controlled effectively by spraying 0.03% Karathane at weekly
interval. Spraying or dusting sulphur on pointed gourd should be avoided as it is susceptible to

2. Downy mildew
        The disease symptom$ appear only on the leaves. They occur as yellow to brown
angular spots on the leaves with cottony growth on the lower surface. In severe cases. it may
also attack the stem, petiole and tendril, Humid climate is favourable for the
spread of the disease.

        The disease may be controlled effectively by spraying 0.2% solution of Dithane Z- 78 or

3. Anthracnose
       Sometimes this disease is very severe. The pathogen mainly attacks the foliage. Black
leaf spots and scorched appearance of the foliage are the symptoms. The fungus also attacks
the stem and fruits.
       Spraying Difoltan or Bavistin (0.1 %) of Dithane Z- 78 (0.2%) at 7 -10 days interval gives
an effective control of the disease.

XII. Harvesting & Yield

       The crop starts fruiting from February in West Bengal and later in other states and
continues up to monsoon. The second flush begins with the rains and continues till October.
Harvesting of the fruits is done at mature green marketable stage i.e. at 15 -18 days after fruit
set. The seeds usually harden by the time the fruit reaches edible stage or when tl1ere is delay
of buds before their opening to get parthenocarpic (seedless) fruits.

       In the first year, the crop yields about 75 to 90 q/ba. In subsequent years (up to 4 years)
150 to 175 quintal per hectare yield is obtained.

         Under ordinary conditions, the pointed gourd fruits can be easily kept at room
temperature for 3 to 4 days. If the fruits are treated with waxol (12%) just after harvesting. Their
shelf life can be increased up to 8 days.

XIII. Uses and Composition

       Pointed gourd is mainly used as a cooked vegetable with potato or other vegetables or
even alone. It can also be used as pickles and sweets (filled with khoa). Its young leaves are
very nutritive and are used as leafy vegetable.

         Pointed gourd is a good source of carbohydrate, vitamin A , C and trace elements. Its
nutritive value is given in the following Table 1.

              Table 1: Composition of pointed-gourd SI. No. Components Quantity

                          Sl.No   Components           Quantity
                          1       Edible portion       95 %
                          2       Protein              2g
                          3       Fat                  0.3 g
                          4       Mineral              0.5 g
                          5       Fibre                3.0 g
                          6       Carbohydrate         2.2 g
                          7       Energy               20 K cal
                          8       Calcium              30 mg
                          9       Iron                 1.7 mg

XIV. Economics of Cultivation

        Economics of cultivation of pointed gourd can be worked out with the help of the
following format as per the applicability of the points given in it.

A. Fixed cost
    1. Cost of the land Rs
    2. Cost of farm building and storage structure, etc. Rs
   3.   Cost of fencing the field Rs
   4.   Cost of the clearing, leveling and bunding of the laid Rs
   5.   Cost of farm implements Rs
   6.   Cost of other permanent or temporary irrigation structures Rs

B. Recurring cost
    1. Cost of manures and fertilizers Rs
    2. Cost of insecticides, fungicides, weedicides Rs
    3. Cost of planting material i.e. cuttings, etc Rs
    4. Cost of fru1n power Rs
    5. Transportation charge on different articles Rs
    6. Cost of farm labour (paid and unpaid) Rs
            a. Land preparation Rs
            b. Preparation of planting material and planting Rs
            c. Application of manures and fertilizers Rs
            d. Application of insecticides and fungicides Rs
            e. Labour involved in weeding, pruning, irrigation, mulching etc. Rs
            f. Supervision of the crop Rs
            g. Harvesting Rs
            h. Cleaning and grading Rs
            i. Marketing and storage Rs
            j. Any other labour involvement Rs
    7. Interest on fixed cost (@ 10%) Rs
    8. Rent or revenue paid for larld Rs
    9. Depreciation Rs
C. Income
    1.Yield of fruits Rs
     2. Yield from leaves and cuttings Rs Total income Rs
Net profit = Gross income -Total recurring cost

                                Purchase value-- Junk value
        Depreciation = -----------------------------------------
                                                    Life span

       Remark: Junk value is calculated only on those articles which are saleable after tl1eir life
span. The life span of building at1d machinery is 15 years and 10 years, respectively.


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