Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

How to Grow Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) For Business

Bitter gourd, which is known in the Philippines as ampalaya, is an annual plant that is native in this country. It is botanically known as Momordica charantia L. It can be grown anytime of the year for its edible shoots and fruits and offers a good supply of vitamins and minerals. The fruit contains the hypo-glycemic principle charantin, which is used to treat diabetes. Bitter gourd is profitable when grown in small or large scale either in lowland or upland rice-based areas. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"]ampalaya photoPhoto by whologwhy [/caption] Site Selection Bitter gourd grows in well drained soil. However, the best soil texture for the crop is either sandy loam or clay loam with pH ranging from of 6.0-6.7. Growing Season Although the crop can be grown throughout the year, the most profitable growing seasons are from October to December and from May to July because most of the areas are being planted to rice during these periods. Only the “tumana” or the fertile hilly-upland areas are being planted with bitter gourd, hence, production is limited. Plant the crop once every two years in the same area. Since bitter gourd is a heavy consumer of nutrients, the soil is depleted on the second year and thus needs soil amendments. Recommended Varieties The recommended varieties of bitter gourd are: the Sta Rita Strain with fruit length of 20-35 cm, and Jade Star and the Native with fruit length of 10 to 15 cm. Sta Rita Strain and Jade Star are preferred by Bulakeños and Pampangeños in cooking ginisa and sautéed recipes, while the Ilocanos preferred the native variety in cooking pinakbet because it easily shrinks when cooked as pinakbet, and the bitter taste is neutralized by equal proportion of tomato and fish sauce. Fruits of Sta Rita Strain have thicker flesh and don’t easily shrink when cooked as pinakbet. TECHNOLOGY OPTION 2 Land Preparation  
  1. Plow the field 2-3 times, each time followed by harrowing.
  2. Make furrows 3m apart.
  3. Apply 2-3 tons dried animal manure per hectare while preparing the land to incorporate it well with the soil.
  Planting  
    1. For direct seeding:
 
  1. Soak the seeds in water overnight. Seeds can also be wrapped in a moist cloth.
  2. Plant 2 seeds per hill 30 cm apart in the furrows 3m apart (30cm x 3m).
  3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and water immediately. Mulch with rice straw.
  4. Remove weak seedlings leaving behind the healthy ones 3-4 weeks after sowing.
 
  • For transplanting:
 
  1. In planting hybrid ampalaya because of the high price of seeds or when the seeds are few, let the seeds turn into seedlings first.
  2. Sow 1 seed per hole of the nursery tray with a mixture of 2 parts garden soil, 1 part burned rice hull and 1 part compost.
  3. Irrigate and mulch.
  4. 1 week after sowing, apply starter solution (1tbsp Urea (46-0-0) dissolved in 1 gal of water).
  5. To strengthen the seedlings, reduce watering and gradually expose the seedlings to sunlight 1 week before transplanting.
  6. 3 weeks after sowing, transplant 30cm apart in the furrows 3m apart (30cm x 3m)
  7. Transplant late in the afternoon so that seedlings will not wilt.
Fertilization
  1. Before planting, apply 1 tbsp 14-14-14 per hill as basal application.
  2. 30 days after planting or if the seedlings have produced branches, apply 1 tbsp Urea (46-0-0) per hill 10 cm away from the seedlings.
  3. Every 3 weeks, apply 1 tbsp of a mixture of 1 part Urea and 1 part Muriate of Potash (0-0-60) per hill.
  4. Cover the fertilizer with soil.
Irrigation
  1. Irrigate the field every 7 to 10 days for furrow irrigation during dry season. Construct a canal for furrow irrigation.
  2. During wet season, irrigate only when necessary. Construct a drainage canal.
Trellising
  1. Before the vines creep, construct vertical and overhead trellises.
  2. Layout 2.5m long and 2-2.5cm wide ipil-ipil, bamboo, or kakawate poles 2 m apart within the rows
  3. Connect the poles horizontally by wire (#16) at the top, middle and bottom portions in every row.
  4. Tie the top wire to the stakes at the end of the rows to make the poles stable.
  5. Cut abaca twine or synthetic straw, and tie them vertically from top to bottom wires, and criss-crossing overhead.
  6. Allow 1 plant to grow around a vertical string.
Vine Training
  1. Train the vines by spreading them evenly across the trellis until they reach the top.
Pruning
  1. Remove the lower lateral or branches to facilitate vine growth at the top of the trellis.
  2. Harvest as fresh vegetable the lower leaves.
Weed Control
  1. Remove the weeds around the plants
  2. Cut-off the weeds in between the rows by using a scythe.
Mulching
  1. Mulch with rice straw or black plastic sheet to control the weeds and conserve soil moisture.
  2. Layout the mulch in the soil before planting.
Insect Pest Management
    1. Fruitfly is the most destructive insect pest. Controlling it is not easy because the adult fruitfly lays its eggs in the fruits. The hatched egg becomes a larva which destroys the fruit from the inside.
 
    1. In order not to multiply the fruitfly:
 
    • Remove and bury the damaged fruit.
    • Wrap the fruits with paper while they are still small.
    • Use attractant.
Disease Management
  1. Remove the diseased leaves immediately.
  2. Pull-out and burn or bury plants with virus, nematode or bacterial wilt.
  3. Spray the plants with chemicals only when necessary.
Harvesting
  1. Harvest the fruits 16-19 days from full bloom of the flower (anthesis) or when the rough skin of the fruit becomes shiny.
  2. Cut the fruit together with its stalk using a sharp knife or scissor.
Seed Production
    1. Pollination/Isolation
 
    • Male and female flowers are borne separately on the same plant.
    • If population of pollinators (bees) is low, employ hand pollination early morning from early flowering to peak flowering to increase seed yield.
    • Female flower opens early in the morning and remains receptive 36 hours from opening, while male flowers opens either 10 am or fall off.
    • Due to the highly cross-pollinated nature of ampalaya, an isolation distance of 500 m radius for certified seeds and 1, 200 m radius for basic seeds is necessary.
Roguing/Field Inspection
  1. Remove off-types.
  2. Conduct field inspection at early vegetative stage, flowering stage and fruiting stage.
  3. At vegetative stage, check the leaf size, shape, color, vigor and vine trailing habit.
  4. At flowering and early fruit development, observe for shape and color of the ovaries, shape and color of fruits, and general appearance.
  5. Do the final rouging when fruits are maturing for fruit shape and color.
Harvesting Harvest when the fruits have turned yellow-orange in color or when portions of fruit have yellow streaks, which is about 23-25 days from flower opening. Seed Processing
  • Cut off the apical portion or peduncle end of the fruit and split open the fruit to scoop out the seeds.
  • Mash or rub the seeds unto a sturdy screen under running water to remove the red mucilaginous seed coat.
  • Put clean seeds in a pail of water and allow the white, unfilled immature seeds to float. Pour the seeds out together with the water leaving normal seeds at the bottom of the pail. Repeat many times until seeds are free of mucilaginous coating and immature seeds.
  • Air dry the seeds for 2-3 days.
  • Sun dry the seeds gradually for 4-5 days.
Packaging
  1. For home use, pack the seeds in thick plastic or paper envelopes and place them in large aluminum cans or large-mouth jars lined at the bottom with charcoal, lime or silica gel.
  2. Seal the package well.
  3. Place the seeds in a cool, dry place.
  4. For large volume, pack the seeds in thick plastic or aluminum foil and seal well.
  5. Keep in a cool and dry place or storage area. The drier the stored seeds and the cooler the storage area is, the longer is the life of the seed.
References Bitter Gourd Production. July 9, 2008. Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture. http://www.openacademy.ph/. Fliers. September 2008. Ampalaya. Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna. Source: bar.gov.ph


This post first appeared on Business Diary Philippines, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

How to Grow Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) For Business

×

Subscribe to Business Diary Philippines

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription

×