Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia)

Bitter gourd is an important cucurbitaceous vegetable of Kerala.


January-March and September-December are the ideal seasons. For the rainfed crop, sowing can be started after the receipt of first few showers during May-June.


Priya, Preethi, Priyanka and Arka Harit are high yielding varieties. Priyanka is recommended for acid alluvial soils of Kerala.

Seed rate: 5.0 _ 6.0 kg ha-1

Spacing: 2.0 m x 2.0 m


Pits of 60 cm diameter and 30-45 cm depth are taken. Well rotten FYM and fertilizers are mixed with topsoil in the pit and seeds are sown @ 4-5 per pit. Unhealthy plants are removed after two weeks and only 3 plants are retained per pit.


Apply FYM @ 20-25 t ha-1 as basal dose along with half dose of N (35 kg) and full doses of P2O5 (25 kg) and K2O (25 kg). The remaining dose of N (35 kg) can be applied in several split doses at fortnightly intervals.

After cultivation

During the initial stages of growth, irrigate at 3-4 days interval and alternate days during flowering/fruiting. Irrigation at 15 mm CPE (approximately at 3 days interval for sandy loam soils) is more economical than irrigating once in two days especially during summer months for water economy. Erect pandals when the plants start vining. Conduct weeding and raking of the soil at the time of fertilizer application. Earthing up is done during rainy season.


Fruit fly (Bacterocera cucurbitae)

Apply carbaryl 10 per cent DP in pit before sowing of seeds to destroy the pupae. In homestead gardens the fruits may be covered with polythene, cloth or paper bags to ensure mechanical protection. In large gardens apply carbaryl 0.2 per cent or malathion 0.15 per cent suspension containing sugar or jaggery at 10 g/l at fortnightly intervals at flowering and fruit initiation. Spray as coarse droplets on the ventral surface of leaves. Remove and destroy affe-cted and decayed fruits. It can also be effe-ctively controlled by the use of banana fruit traps coupled with the removal and destruction of infested fruits. It is more efficient than two sprayings with insecticides. Traps are to be set at a distance of 2 m after a border row and they may be replenished after 7 to 9 days. Start bait trapping just before flowering.

Epilachna beetle

Remove and destroy egg masses, grubs and adults occurring on leaves. Spray carbaryl 0.2 per cent.

Red pumpkin beetle

Adult beetle eats the leaves, makes hole on foliage and causes damage on roots and leaves. Incorporate carbaryl 10 per cent DP in pits before sowing the seeds to destroy grubs and pupae.

Plant lice

Apply 1.5 per cent fish oil soap. First dissolve soap in hot water and then make up the volume. Alternatively apply dimethoate 0.05 per cent.


Downy mildew

It is severe during rainy season. This can be checked by spraying mancozeb 0.2 per cent (waiting period of mancozeb is three days).

Powdery mildew

Can be controlled by spraying dinocap 0.05 per cent.


Control the vectors by spraying dimethoate 0.05 per cent. Uprooting and destruction of affected plants and collateral hosts should be done.

Harvesting can be done only after 10 days (at least) of insecticide / fungicide application. The fruits should be washed thoroughly in water before cooking.