How to Grow Bottle Gourd (Lauki/ Doodhi) at Home
Bottle Gourd is a popular summer vegetable. This vegetable contains lots of water and minerals and keeps the body hydrated. The juice is beneficial for heart and diabetic patients. Lets see how you can grow bottle gourd at home garden.
Sowing From Seed
Certain easy-to-grow plants do best when sown directly in the garden, because they have delicate root systems or taproots that make successful transplantation from containers difficult. Lauki is best grown from seeds.
Step 1 : Soil Preparation
Start by preparing the soil. Remove weeds, then loosen the soil with a spading fork, shovel upto 4 inch deep. Add a complete fertilizer ( Vermicompost , Cow Manure etc) and finally smoothen the soil with a rake. Moisten the bed thoroughly a few days before you intend to plant. At sowing time, the soil should be moist but not soggy or waterlogged.
Step 2 : Seed Sowing
Scatter pinches of seed as evenly as possible. Cover these seeds with thin layer of soil about 1/8th inch just to cover the seed. Water the area with a fine spray using sprayer. Avoid giving water directly to seeds as it could displace the seeds. Keep the soil surface moist but not dripping wet until seeds sprout
In 7-10 days seeds should be germinated. After germination irrigate everyday till seedlings are 1-2 inches tall. Thin out the overcrowded seedlings until seedlings are 6 inches apart while they are still small; If you wait too long to thin, the plants will develop poorly, and you’ll have a harder time removing an individual plant without disturbing those around it.
Pots / Grow Bags
Use plastic or any ceramic pot. Pot should have drainage holes at bottom to ensure good drainage. Use grow bags if you want. Grow Bags have certain advantages over traditional pots as they are light weight, easy to relocate and reusable over the years. Choose long tray like pots or grow bags for growing bottle gourd. This provide seedlings enough space to grow.
Sandy loamy soil rich in organic matter is ideal for growing bottle gourd. Soil should be well drained. If this type of soil is not available then use soil less medium like coco peat mixed with cow manure and sand.
Sun / Temperature
Ideal growing temperature for lauki is 25-30°C. Give plants sunlight as much as possible. Keep pots/grow bags in a sunny place of the home.
Give bottle gourd plants water regularly. But avoid water logging. Follow the thumb rule. Water only when the soil looks dry.
Bottle gourd is vine in nature. The plant develops small tendrils between leaf and plant stem which help it in climbing. So provide an adequate support around pot/container always to allow the plant growing vertically on walls / fencing / trellis.
Keep an eye for pest like fruit flies and plant diseases i.e. powdery mildew and downy mildew. Use pesticides time to time if required. Adequate watering and fertilizing ensures healthy plants.
Harvest plants before 100% maturity.
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