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Dark Bottle Gourd is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that is widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. It is a vine-like plant that bears elongated, bottle-shaped fruits with a dark green outer skin and white inner flesh. The fruit has a mild, sweet taste and is often used in various culinary preparations.
Botanical Name: Lagenaria siceraria
Plant Morphology: Dark Bottle Gourd is a vigorous climbing plant that can grow up to 5-6 meters in length. It has large, lobed leaves that are heart-shaped and deeply cut. The flowers are large, funnel-shaped, and yellow in color. The fruit is elongated, cylindrical, and bottle-shaped, with a smooth, dark green outer skin and a white inner flesh. The seeds are flat, white, and numerous.
Soil and Climatic Requirement: Dark Bottle Gourd thrives well in well-drained, fertile, and sandy loam soils. It requires a warm and humid climate to grow and is sensitive to frost. The ideal temperature for growth is between 20-35°C.
Crop Duration: 90-120 days
Cropping Season: January - March, June - August
Planting Type: Direct sowing or transplanting
Spacing: Spacing for Hybrid variety: Row to Row - 2-3 m, Plant to Plant - 1-1.5 m
Depth of Sowing: 2-3 cm
Germination Period: 6-8 days
Hours of Sunlight Required: Full sunlight
Watering: Regular watering is required for the first 2-3 weeks after planting. After that, the frequency of watering can be reduced to once a week.
Companion Crops: Maize, Cowpea, Soybean, Pigeon pea
Seeds Treatment: Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing.
Harvesting: The fruit is ready for harvest when it turns dark green and develops a hard outer skin. It is usually harvested when it is 12-15 inches long. The fruit should be cut off the vine with a sharp knife, leaving a short stem. It can be stored for 2-3 weeks in a cool and dry place.
Problems of Dark Bottle Gourd Cultivation:
Pests: Fruit fly, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
Diseases: Powdery mildew, downy mildew, gummy stem blight, and mosaic virus.