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Bottle gourd (Loki) is a popular vegetable in many Asian countries, including India, China, and Vietnam. It is a vine-like plant that produces long, cylindrical-shaped fruits with a green, smooth exterior and a white, spongy interior. Loki is a low-calorie and nutrient-rich vegetable that can be consumed in a variety of ways, including stir-fried, boiled, or in soups.
Botanical Name: Lagenaria siceraria
Plant morphology: Bottle gourd is a vine-like plant that can grow up to 2-3 meters long. It has large, heart-shaped leaves that are green in color and can grow up to 15-20 cm in diameter. The fruit of the bottle gourd plant is oblong or cylindrical in shape, with a length of up to 60-70 cm and a diameter of 10-15 cm. It has a smooth, green skin and a spongy white flesh with numerous seeds.
Soil and Climatic requirement: Bottle gourd can be grown in a variety of soils, including loamy, sandy, and clay soils. However, it grows best in well-draining soils with a pH of 6.0-7.5. It is a warm-season crop that requires a minimum temperature of 18°C for growth. It prefers full sunlight and can tolerate high humidity levels and temperatures as high as 35°C.
Crop Duration: 80-90 days
Cropping season: January-March to September-December
Planting type: Direct sowing or transplanting
Spacing: Spacing for bottle gourd is generally 1.5-2 meters between rows and 0.5-1 meter between plants.
Depth of sowing: 2-3 cm
Germination period: 6-8 days
Hours of sunlight required: 6-8 hours of full sunlight
Watering: Bottle gourd requires regular watering, especially during the early stages of growth. Over-watering should be avoided as it can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.
Companion crops: Bottle gourd can be grown with other cucurbits such as cucumber, pumpkin, and melon.
Seeds Treatment: Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting to enhance germination.
Harvesting: Bottle gourd can be harvested when the fruit is fully mature, which is usually 60-90 days after planting. The fruit should be cut from the vine using a sharp knife or scissors.
Problems of Bottle gourd cultivation
Pests: Fruit flies, beetles, aphids, and mites
Diseases: Powdery mildew, downy mildew, and bacterial wilt