Bitter gourd plant is a fast growing creeper and is from the family of vines. It is also known as nutritious gourd and bitter melon. Bitter gourd plants vary shape, size and colour but the medicinal uses make bitter melon more important and distinct than other medicinal plants. The most important use of bitter gourd is, it reduces the blood sugar level and is very good for diabetic patients. Bitter gourd has lots of medicinal uses so you can plant them easily in your garden.
Bitter gourd plant is a warm seasonal plant which is very easy to grow. It is mostly grown in the natives of South Asia. It is from the vine variety and grows up to 6 feet tall. The bitter gourd plant grow as creepers. These creepers bloom yellow colour flowers and the fruits grow from them. Bitter melon fruit is usually green in colour, elongated with pointed ends and the surface is covered with vertical and triangle ridges.Growing bitter gourd plant has lots of benefits as they are used for skin treatment, fight against HIV, breast cancer to name a few. It also cures constipation, alcoholism, cholera and piles. So, try these five simple gardening tips for planting a bitter gourd plant.
1. Plantation Time
Bitter gourd plant is a seasonal vine that flourish in warm, humid and hot climate with proper availability of sunlight. It grows and turns out well if planted in mid and late spring (during the month of April and May).
2. Preparation of Soil
Bitter melon can either be planted with the seeds or by transplantation. Firstly, dig a ½ inch deep pit and spread two to three seeds inside. For better results before sowing, soak the seeds one day in advance. After sowing the seeds, water lightly. In a two or three days time the seeds will germinate and these germinated seeds can be replanted. For better re-plantation a raised bed of 18-20 inches apart have to be created. At the time of transplantation you need to be very careful so that you do not disturb the roots of the plant.. As bitter gourd is a creeper plant, it needs support to grow. Use a wire or a string to set the plant.
Bitter gourd plants do not require much care and nurturing. Regular watering is essential as the bitter melon plant requires a lot of water for it's growth and survival. In a month's time the flowers will appear and fruition occurs in the mid of two to four months.
Use urea based fertiliser to the soil once fruits begin to develop. The process continues every two weeks and pour water is essential after adding fertilisers. The plant is also prone to many diseases and insect pests so has to be checked from time to time. For avoiding pests on fruits, wrap it with newspapers when they are grown about an inch.
When the fruit turns light green in colour and the inside is white, bitter and juicy, you can pluck out the bitter gourd (basically it takes 3-4 months of plantation).
5. Re-planting bitter gourd
If you wish to re-plant bitter gourd the next season, leave some fruits so that they get completely dried. Once fully dried , the fruit will open and you can collect the white or brown colour seeds for further sowing.