Bitterless bitter gourd Kantola to be new trend in kitchen garden
Kantola, the bitterless variety of bitter gourd, has become popular among Keralites. The vegetable, also known as spiny gourd, belongs to the family of cucumber. It is commonly found in the northeast states in India. The climate and soil type in Kerala is suitable for Kantola cultivation.
Kantola has soft thorns all over its peel which is green in colour. Tender vegetables are used to make a variety of food items. Chopped and dried Kantola can be used to make snacks. Leaves and tender stems also are edible.
Loam soil is ideal for Kantola cultivation. Sunlight is necessary for plant growth. However, the plant can grow in partially shady areas too. The tuber dug out from the root of dried plant is used as planting material. Tuber of male and female plants should be kept separately.
The tuber should be planted in a grow bag filled with potting mix. It can be replanted in open field after sprouts emerge. Soil, cow dung powder and coconut husk compost mixed in equal amount can be used as potting mix.
Dig pits with 60 centimetres in length, width and depth and fill them with topsoil, dry cow dung powder, bone manure and neem cake. Adding some lime in every pit is good for regulating pH value of soil.
Keep a distance of 2 metres between two plants. When the Kantola vines grow, they should be given a support pillar to spread. 10 percent of the plant should be male plants.
Within 1-2 months of planting, plants start blooming. Artificial pollination is essential for good yield. The pollen from male flowers should be collected before noon and place it on the pistil of the female flowers.
Fruits will be ready for harvest within 10-12 days of pollination. As the fruits ripe, they turn yellow in colour and seeds get hardened. Such fruits have low demand in market as they are less tasty. Harvesting every three days will help growth of more flowers and more fruits.
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