Botanical Name : Lufa acutangula roxb.
Local name : Jhina turai- Hindi, Sirola- Gujarati and Marathi.
Family : Cucurbitaceae.
Ridge gourd (Luffa acutangula) also known as ribbed gourd is a viny vegetable.
Ridge gourd is identified with its ridges & also preferred due to it. It is easily digestible vegetable.
It requires a trellis or support for its growth and development. It belongs to the cucurbita family & is an important commercial crop fetching good yields and returns. Ridge gourd can be grown through the year and are used as vegetables.
The Ridge Gourd is called Gisoda or turiya in Gujarati , Beera kaya in Telugu, Heeray kayi in Kannada and Peerkankai in Tamil.It is more popular vegetable in the south and east India.
Cultivation of ridge gourd
Ridge gourd grows very well in a warm hot climate, the optimum temperature being 25°–30°C. Very high temperature especially in the early crop growth stage (more than 38°C) helps produce more male flowers, reducing the yield. Very low temperature also affects growth of vines. Sandy loam soil, rich in organic matter is most-suited for higher yield. Proper drainage is highly beneficial.
Ridge gourd can be grown in all kinds of soil, loam, clay loam and silt soils are best suited for its cultivation. The land is prepared by ploughing for three to four times, followed by planking.
June–July is the sowing time for kharif crop, while February–March for summer crop. The field should be ploughed 3–4 times. Add farmyard manure @ 10 tonnes/ha. Long, raised beds are formed with furrows 50–60cm wide. The seeds should be sown on both the edges of the beds. In each hill, 3–4 seeds are sown. Retain only 2 healthy seedlings 2.5m × 1.0m apart. In south India, pits of 45cm × 45cm × 45cm are dug and filled with farmyard manure and top soil. About 4–5 seeds are sown in each pit. Thus 4kg seed is enough for one hectare. For raising seedlings in polybags, about 1.5kg seed is sufficient to plant one hectare crop.
A dose of 15–25kg N, 30–40kg P and 30kg K should be applied before sowing or planting. The seedlings should be sprayed with Ethrel (250ppm) 4 times starting from 2-leaf stage at weekly intervals to encourage production of female flowers. It should be irrigated once a week depending on soil moisture. Apply 15–25kg N/ha 30 days after sowing. The vines should be trained on a bower with the help of a thin bamboo pole used as a stake. During weeding and hoeing earthing-up of the vine should be done.
Summer ridge gourds are grown in square pits roughly 50 cm in width & around 20 cm in depth. The soil in the pits have to be repeatedly ploughed till a fine tilth is obtained. 10 to 15 kg organic manure is added to each pit.
Furrows are made in the pits & 4 seeds are sown in each pit. Later after germination, only 2 seeds are retained per pit. This is done to avoid overcrowding.
Germination,Climate and Irrigation
Usually in the summer, germination takes place within 4 days from the date of sowing when conditions are favorable. The young seedlings are highly susceptible to attacks from red pumpkin beetle. To avoid this, imidochloprid 0.5 ml per litre is very effective.
Within 2 weeks of germination, climbing support must be provided & the plant starts developing tendrils for this purpose. The tendrils help the plant to grasp the provided support & start climbing. The support in the form of long sticks, plant branches etc must have a height of 6 feet. Even thread of strong thickness can be used & a network between the pits can be created to support the climbing habit of the vine.
It can also be trained on a trellis or pergola. It must be noted that, more support given to the vine, more it will keep growing.
When temperatures are extremely high, more male flowers are formed & this will reduce the yields. Similarly, when temperatures are cold, quality & quantity of yield is also affected.
Light irrigation is followed after the seeds are sowed. After germination irrigation every alternate days is
useful. Care must be taken to see that water does not stagnate in the pits , as it will result in fungal infections & the young seedling will start rotting. For this well drained soils are best suited. Even repeated ploughings will increase the drainage & porosity of the soils.
Inter culture operations , fertilizer and pest management
Since the plants are grown in pits, not much inter culture operations are required. Weeding must be done
during the initial stages or it will compete with the main crop for nutrients. The growing vines must be made to
climb the support at all times. Sometimes due to overcrowding, the vines tend to fall
down on the ground, and this must be checked. At all times, the vines must be made to climb the support. Even tying the vines together , which helps keeping them from falling to the ground is also seen.
The growing vines require a lot of nutrients. Addition of complex NPK fertilizers can be done 30 days after first day of sowing. At this stage when vegetative growth is accelerating, 10 kg of fresh organic manure can be added to each pit with 50 to 100 grams of NPK.
Since the vines produce more male flowers, spraying plant hormones can be done at the initial stages of flowering to induce female flowering @ 1 ml per litre.
Red pumpkin beetle is a serious pest during the initial stages when the plant is young with tender succulent leaves. Spraying dimethoate 2 ml per litre, or imidochloprid 0.5 ml per litre can be very effective.
When the fruits start to form, another serious pest problem is the attack of Daucus dorsalis & daucus cucurbitae flies. They bore right into the young forming fruits, laying their eggs, which hatch and the larvae feed on the insides of the fruit which will result in rotting of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
Spraying the crop is not advised as pesticides will have toxic residue on other growing fruits. The most suitable remedy is the usage of pheromone traps & lures which is very effective in controlling dorsalis & cucurbitae flies.
Another pest is the gregarious Lepidoglossus sps, which uses its needle like proboscis to puncture wounds in the ridge gourd, sucking its juicy nutrients and making the fruit hollow. Since the incidence of this pest is only seasonal, and temporary, it is best advised to manually catch the insect as it is quite large & cannot escape properly due to its heavy weight. The other option is the use of neem extract sprays which act as insect repellents. But pollination may also be affected so since neem based sprays are totally organic, the forming fruits could be sprayed , leaving the leaves and flowers.
The fruits start to form after 60 days from the first day of sowing. Since the fruits are long, care must be taken to ensure the fruit is hanging in a downward direction. When the vines grow long & thick, the developing fruits
get entangled in the vines, resulting in fruits getting undesired shape, thus making marketability difficult.In summer, the crop will continuously yield for more than 2 months. The full grown tender fruit should be harvested at weekly interval by cutting them with a knife.
The yield is about 75 to 100 quintal/ ha.
There are some varieties of ridge gourd recommended for cultivation in our country:
There are some other varieties of Ridge gourd(Luffa acutangula):
1. Kankan Harita:
It yield about 150- 200 quintal per hectare. Fruits are long (40 cm) uniform soft ridged and firm flesh. It is an early variety suitable for both the Kharif and summer seasons. A fruit weights about 200 g.
2. Phule Sucheta
It is developed by employing a pure line selection. Fruits are green, slender, tender, and medium in length (33.5 cm) with prominent ridges. It shows filed tolerance to downy mildew. Suitable for in both the Kharif and summer season . Average fruit weight is 118 g. A vine produces 18 fruits. Average yield is 119 quintal per hectare.
Ridge gourd is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in dietary fibre, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamin, iron, magnesium and manganese. The nutritional value of gourd makes it suitable for maintaining optimum health, weight lose. It has excellent cooling properties.
Ridge gourd is used as vegetable .Delicious recipe is prepared using ridge guard with several other vegetables.
Ridge gourd contains a gelatinous compound called luffein. It has lot of medicinal use.
The oils from the seeds are known to cure coetaneous complaints,
the roots have laxative effects
and the juice from the leaves is used to cure granular conjunctivitis of the eye, adrenal type
diabetes and hemorrhoids.