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Apple gourd, also known as Indian baby pumpkin or tinda, is a popular vegetable in Indian cuisine. The fruit is small, round and green in color, resembling a small apple, hence the name. The flesh is white, tender, and has a mild flavor that is perfect for curries, stir-fries, and soups.
Botanical Name: Praecitrullus fistulosus
Plant morphology: Apple gourd is a vine plant that can grow up to 6-8 feet tall. The leaves are large, lobed, and dark green. The fruit is round, about 3-4 inches in diameter, and has a smooth, thin skin. The flesh is white and contains small, soft seeds.
Soil and Climatic Requirement: Apple gourd can be grown in a wide range of soils, but it thrives best in sandy loam or clay loam soils. The pH level of the soil should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Apple gourd is a warm-season crop that requires full sunlight. It can be grown in both tropical and subtropical regions.
Crop Duration: 60-90 days
Cropping Season: Throughout the year
Planting Type: Direct sowing or transplanting
Spacing: The distance between rows should be 6-8 feet, and the distance between plants should be 2-3 feet.
Depth of sowing: 1 inch
Germination Period: 5-10 days
Hours of Sunlight Required: Full sunlight
Watering: Apple gourd requires regular watering to keep the soil moist. Watering should be reduced when the fruit starts to mature.
Companion Crops: Tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and beans.
Seed Treatment: Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing to improve germination.
Harvesting: Apple gourd is ready to harvest when the fruit reaches a diameter of 3-4 inches. The fruit should be harvested when it is still green and tender. Delayed harvesting results in a tough and bitter fruit.
Problems of Apple Gourd cultivation:
Pests: Fruit fly, aphids, whiteflies, mites, and mealybugs.
Diseases: Powdery mildew, downy mildew, and bacterial wilt.