Introduction Of Snake Gourds

Snake gourds are scientifically known as Trichosanthes cucumerin and are commonly also known as Serpent gourd. Snake gourds are fast-growing vines of the Cucurbitaceae gourd family. They are cultivated in an odd shape as edible fruit. Snake gourds naturally grow in the wilderness of Southeast Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, etc. Also, they are grown in warmer parts of Australia and some parts of tropical Africa.

The complete fruit of snake gourd is eaten as a vegetable when it’s young and can be dried and used as soap later. The leaves and shoots of the fruit are also edible and its pulp can be eaten as a substitute for tomato. The goodness of this food is very well-known for its significant medicinal values since ancient times. Even in ayurvedic texts, you will definitely find a lot about this green color vegetable and its health benefits. Snake gourds

The serpent gourd has a very thin thread-like stem called tendrils and kidney-shaped leaves called leaflets. The food in its earlier stage is green and very elongated, with a soft, fleshy texture and bland flavor while the mature fruit is more elongated, red in color, and inedible due to its bitter taste. Snake gourds

Organic Fruits & Vegetables

  • Nutrient content in Snake gourds

As every other vegetable of the gourd family, snake gourd vegetables, seeds, leaves, and even juices are enriched with fundamental dietary components like carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, proteins, and fibers. Snake gourds

Let’s see the nutrition fact for 100 g serving of snake gourd:

Calories:                         86.2 kcal

Macronutrients:

Total Fat                         3.9 g

Saturated Fat                  0.5 g

Total Carbohydrate        12.5 g

Dietary Fibre                  0.6 g

Protein                            2.0 g

Cholesterol                     0.0 mg

Sodium                           33.0 mg

Potassium                       359.1 mg

Micronutrients:

Vitamins:

Vitamin A                        9.8 %

Vitamin B6                      11.3 %

Vitamin C                        30.5 %

Vitamin E                        1.1 %

Minerals:

Calcium                            5.1 %

Magnesium                       6.7 %

Phosphorus                       5.0 %

Zinc                                  7.2 %

Iron                                   5.7 %

Manganese                       12.5 %

Iodine                               5.9 %

  • Best favoured season for growing of snake gourd:

January and July are the best seasons for snake gourd cultivation

  • Climate requirement for snake gourd:

It grows well in a hot and warm climate so the ideal temperature to grow snake gourd is 28° to 38° C.

  • Soil requirement and preparation of snake gourd:

Snake gourd can be grown on every other soil. But the best one is grown on sandy loam soils with a very rich organic post. The soil or the farm where plantation will occur should be prepared by ploughing 3-4 times and soil pH should range from 6-7 for best snake gourd cultivation. It is a soil-draining crop. Better yield and quality of the fruit depend on organic matter or Farm Yield Manure (FYM) application while preparing the farm and the soil.

Growing Snake Gourds And Its Plantation Method

Planting method of snake gourd

Firstly plough the land to a fine tilth and dig pits of size 30 x 30 x 30 cm at 2.5m X 2m spacing and form basins.

  • Seed treatment and sowing in snake gourd farming

Prior to sowing, the snake gourd seeds should be treated with Pseudomonas fluroscens 10 grams or Trichoderma viride 4 grams/ kg of seeds.

Growing Snake Gourds And Its Plantation Method

As I mentioned earlier, seeds are sown in January and July. So the type of snake gourd seed depends on the type of crop season.

  • Method for growing snake gourd

Snake gourds seeds are directly planted into the fields. To sow the seeds, they are mixed with sand and fertilizer for germination. If you want, you can directly transplant the seeds from nurseries to the main farm. The growth of these seeds happens in a much-protected environment and conditions and once the seeds start producing leaves, they can be transplanted to the main field.

Later on, pits of 30 x 30 x 30 cm are dug and left exposed in sun for few days. After that seeds are sown not too deep and pits are filled with manure and topsoil. If seeds will be sown deep, they would not germinate properly. After sowing, little irrigation must be given to the soil.

  • Manures and fertilisers required for snake gourd

While preparing the ground for sowing seeds, Farm Yard Manure should be used or any natural organic matter can be used as manure.

  • Water requirement of the snake gourd:

Basin should be watered before dibbling (sow (seed or plant) with a dibble) the snake gourd seeds and after at least once a week. Snake gourd requires a lot of irrigation. So during summer days, frequent watering should be done and for rainy season crops, it is not needed.

  • How to control weeds?

Weeding and hoeing should be done twice or thrice a week. Plants should be reached at a pandal (i.e. 2m) so plants are trained. But pandal is not needed for Co2 variety. And at last Ethrel spray (10 ppm) should be sprayed in 10-15 days after sowing the seeds at weekly intervals.

  • Flowering and pollination in growing snake gourds:

Pollination is the process in which bees and insects take pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. So you have to make sure that insects carry out this process to set in good yields of snake gourds.  But during the rainy season, pollination can be problematic as bees or not so active.

  • Pest management in Snake gourd:

Most frequent pests find in snake gourd: Caterpillar, Fruit flies, and Leaf beetles.

To control caterpillars and leaf beetles Dichlorvos 76% EC 6.5 ml/10 lit or Trichlorofon 50% EC 1.0 ml/L should be sprayed. And for controlling fruit flies the damaged snake gourd vegetable should be collected and destroyed.

  • Diseases in Snake gourd farming:

There are two common diseases found in snake gourd and are Downy mildew and Powdery mildew. They can be controlled by spraying some kind of chemicals without harming the plants much.

How to harvest snake gourds

First snake gourds will be set up to be picked from the ground within 12-20 days from setting fruit. At the time of harvesting, the length of the snake gourd is 30- 60 cm. Then they are sown again and this time they will be ready in 2-3 months. Then, with the help of a sharp knife or scissors, the fruit stalk is cut. The harvesting time of the snake gourd is estimated by its color. When its color is changed from green to red-orange color, then we know that it is ready to be harvested. From one single plant, we can expect 8-10 harvests.