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Cucurbitaceous Crops [Gourds] Best Cultivation practices

Posted by BigHaat India on

                                               Gourd vegetables

Cucurbits group belong to family cucurbitaceae consist as of wide range of vegetables which are used either as salad, pickling (cucumber) or for cooking (all gourds) or candied or preserved (ash gourd) or as desert fruits (musk melon and water melon).  The cultural requirements of all crops in this group are similar.

Soil and Climate: A well-drained soil of loamy type with pH range between 6.0 and 7.0 is preferred for cucurbits. Cucurbits grow best at a temperature range of 18-24oC. Varieties:


Crop/botanical name


Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)


Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria)


Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia)


Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo)


Sponge Gourd (Lufa cylindrica)


Ash Gourd (Benincasa hispida)


Ridge Gourd (L. acutangula)


Snake Gourd (Trichosanthes anguina)


                   Cucumber seeds

                  Bottle gourd seeds varieties available on BigHaat platform

                  Bitter gourd available on BigHaat platform

                              Squash seeds available on BigHaat platform

                              Sponge gourd seeds available on BigHaat platform

                               Ash Gourd seeds available on BigHaat platform

                        Ridge gourd seeds available on BigHaat platform

                                 Snake gourd seeds available on BigHaat platform




Seed rate (kg/a)

Spacing (ft)

Fruit yield (q/acre)



1.0 -1.25

5 × 2 ft to 3 ft


Bottle gourd


0.6- 0.8

10 ft × 3 ft to 5 ft


Bitter gourd


0.75 - 1

5 to 8 × 2 ft to 4 ft


Summer squash


1.5 – 2  

2 ft to 2.5 ft  × 1.5 ft to 2 ft


Sponge gourd


0.6- 0.8

8 ft to 10 ft  × 2 ft to 4 ft


Ridge gourd


0.6- 0.8

8 ft to 10 ft  × 2 ft to 4 ft


Snake gourd


0.6- 0.8

5 ft - 8 ft × 2 ft to 4 ft


Ash gourd



5 ft - 10 ft × 2 ft to 4 ft




0.5– 0.75

8 ft -12 ft × 3 ft to 4 ft


Manures and fertilizers:

Prepare the main field by ploughing and harrowing and add 8 to 10 tonnes per acre Farmyard manure or compost is applied at the time of field preparation.

Add 120-200 kg of Annapurna + Ecohume granules 10 kg/acre + Srushti 10 kg/acre + Calcium nitrate 25 kg + 25 kg Magnesium Sulphate.

Sow the seeds or seedlings at recommended rate per acre. Application of 5 kg CALDAN (Cartap hydrochloride 4 % Gr) will control grubs & termites.

             Annapurna Bio organic Manure for gourd crops  available on Bighaat   Root growth promoters for gourd crops available on Bighaat  Micronutrients for gourd crops available on Bighaat   Soil pesticide for gourd crops available on Bighaat 

Recommended dose of Fertilizer Application: NPK – 50:40:40 kg/ per acre

Major Nutrients

Combination 1


Combination 2


Combination 3


Urea (46 % N)






DAP (18 % N; 46 % P2O5)


Urea (46 % N)


Urea (46 % N)


MOP (60 % K2O)




MOP (60 % K2O)




Full dose of farmyard manure, Annapurna, phosphorus and half of potassium and Nitrogen, and other listed nutrients should be applied at the time of sowing. Remaining part of above nutrients should be top dressed in two equal parts after one month and at flowering stage.

Intercultural and weed management:

Thinning of plants should be done 10-15 days after sowing retaining not more than 2 healthy seedlings per hill. The beds or ridges are required to be kept weed free in the early stages before vine growth start. Weeding and earthing up are done at the time of top dressing of split application of fertilizers.

Irrigation: Optimum moisture need to be maintained and little more water may be required since all the gourds contains larger quantities of water.

Crop protection

Weed management:

                                  Weed growth in Gourds

No selective herbicides are available for spraying in cucurbit family. However non selective herbicides like Gramoxone or Roundup can be sprayed before cultivation to kill grown up weeds in the main fields.

                       Non Selective Weedicides for Gourd crop available on BigHaat

Insects : Aphids and Thrips 

Aphids and thrips damage gourds plants by feeding on plant sap, and by spreading important viral diseases such as papaya ring spot, zucchini yellow mosaic, and cucumber mosaic.

                     Thrips and Aphids infestation on Gourd crops

For control Sucking pests [ Thrips, Aphids , Green leaf hoppers, Jassids]

Confidor Super [Imidachloprid 30.5 %] 0.3 mL/L OR Hunk [Acephate]) 2 g/litre OR Tracer [Spinosad 480 SC] 0.375 mL/L

     Spray for control of sucking pests on  gourd crops available on bighaat

Leaf miners
Leaf miners are small, yellow maggots that form trails or mines beneath the leaf epidermis as they feed. 

                                   Leaf miners infestation on Gourd crops

For control Leaf miners

Trifos [Triazhophos] 2 mL/L or Benevia [Cyantraniliprole] 1 mL/L

                             Spray for control of leaf miners on  gourd crops available on bighaat

Fruit fly [Melon Fly]

The fruit fly has long been a major pest of gourds. Infested fruit frequently rot, either in the field or after harvest. Attacks are severe on young developing fruit, especially under high humidity conditions after summer rains.

                                          Fruit flies infestation on Gourd crops

Periodically monitor melon fly populations through trapping. Fruit fly traps can be installed at fruit stage to bring down the fruit fly infestation on mango fruits.

                                Fruit flies traps control in Gourd crops

Whiteflies not only suck the sap but also by spreads important viral diseases such as papaya ring spot, zucchini yellow mosaic and cucumber mosaic.

                                      Whiteflies infestation on Gourd crops

For control of white flies

Prime gold [Acetamiprid] 0.5 gm/L OR Odis [Buprofezin 15% + Acephate 35% WP] 2 gm/L

                      Spray for control of white flies on  gourd crops available on bighaat

Cutworms which include the variegated cutworm and the black cutworm can devastate young cucumber plants by chewing through the stems at the soil line. Cutworms are active at night.

                               Caterpillar infestation on Gourd crops

For control of cutworms,leaf, flower feeder and fruit borer

Coragen [Chlorantraniliprole] or 0.33 mL/L OR Plethora [Novaluron 5.25% + Indoxacarb] 1 mL/L or Emagold 0.5 gm/L + Econeem plus 1 % 1 mL/L

 Spray for control of caterpillars on gourd crops available on bighaat

Outbreaks of red spider mites occur occasionally, especially during hot, dry weather. Spider mites feed on plant sap and prefer to live on the leaf underside. Their feeding causes stippling of white areas on the leaves.

                             Red spider mites infestation on Gourd crops

For control of Red Spider mites

Maiden [Hexythiazox] 1.5 mL/L OR Magister [Fenazaquin] 2 ml/litre OR   Colonel [Dicofol] + Multiplex Kranti 2 mL/L

    Spray for control of red spider mites on  gourd crops available on bighaat

Meloidogyne incognita are microscopic roundworms that feed on the roots of plants. Adult stages of the nematode live inside these root swellings and these root galls prevent the normal water and nutrient uptake by roots. Nematode numbers are often higher in sandy soils under warm summer weather.

                       Root Knot nematodes infestation on gourd crops

For control of Nematodes in infested standing crops

  1. Drenching for individual plants 100 to 150 mL of following mixtures at 15 days interval

            Drenching  for control of nematodes on gourd crops available on bighaat

  1. Through drip irrigation in 500 L of following mixtures at 15 days interval

         Drenching for control of nematodes on  gourd crops available on bighaat2

Angular leaf spot and Anthracnose

The symptoms first appear on the foliage as small, yellowish water-soaked areas which later turn dark and dry.

                                Leaf spot and anthracnos disease on gourd crops

Control of above diseases

Dithane M -45 [Mancozeb ] 2 gm/ L or  Sanipeb [Propineb] 2 gm/L OR  Bengard [Carbendazim] 2 gm/ L  OR Ridomil gold 80 WP [Metalaxyl + Mancozeb] OR Avtar [Zineb 68% + Hexaconazol 4% WP] 2 g/litre OR Blitox [Copper Oxy Chloride] 2 g/litre or Kocide [Copper hydroxide] – 2 g/litre

Spray to control fungal leaf spot, stem rot and Anthracnose diseases in gourd crops  available on Bighaat

Affected seedlings fail to emerge or collapse shortly after emergence. Water soaked lesions also appear on the seedlings at the soil level.

                                           Damping off disease in gourd crops

Drench with Ridomet 0.75 gm/L + Humesol 3 mL/L+ Plantomycin 0.5 gm/L of water and drench about 50 – 150 mL per plant based on size of the plants.

 Treatment for Damping off Disease in gourd crops

Downy mildew

The underside of leaves develop a downy white to gray mold, which may turn grey to purple during wet weather. Spores develop to mold.

                                       Downy mildew on gourd crops

  1. Kavach 2 gm/L + Ampoxcillin 1 gm/L and after a week
  2. Ridomil gold 2 gm/L + Kitoguard 2 mL/L 

Spray to control downy mildew disease in gourd crops  available on Bighaat

Gummy stem blight 

Gummy stem blight causes lesions on leaves and stems, and less frequently on the fruits. Initial leaf symptoms are irregular circular dark spots which may be surrounded by a yellow halo, and later dry up and crack.

                              Stem gummy blight disease on gourds

Sprays to control the gummy stem blight disease on watermelon crop

Ridomil gold 2 gm / L+ Plantomycin 0.5 gm / L after 10 days second spray

            Spray treatment for gummy stem blight control on gourds available on bighaat1

Phytoalexin 4 mL/L + Kavach 2 gm/L and third spray if required

         Spray treatment for gummy stem blight control on gourds available on bighaat2

Ridomet 0.5 gm/L + Spot 10 gm/L

        Spray treatment for gummy stem blight control on gourds available on bighaat3

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a serious and common fungal disease during warm and humid conditions with overcast days.

                              Powdery mildew on gourd crops

For control Powdery mildew

Nativo [Tebuconazole+Trifloxystrobin] 0.5 gm/L OR Vespa [Propiconazole+ Difenoconazole1 mL/L OR Custodia [Azoxystrobin + Tebuconazole] 1 mL/L OR Contaf plus [Hexaconazole] 2 mL/L

   Spray to control powdery mildew disease in gourd crops  available on Bighaat

Scab and Fruit or Soil Rots
The fungus affects all above parts of the plant and produces the characteristic scab-like lesions on the fruit.

                                      Rot diseases on gourd diseases

Soil or fruit fungal rot is caused mainly by fungus and bacteria

For control Scabs Fruit and Soil rots

Borogold or Kavach [Chlorothalonil] 2 gm/L OR Kocide [Copper hydroxide] – 2 g/litre + Plantomycin 0.5 gm/L.

  Spray to control rot diseases in gourd crops  available on Bighaat

Several biological agents can be used to control the fungal and bacterial diseases like

 Ecoderma or Nisarga [TRICHODERMA VIRIDE] and Ecomonas PSEUDOMONAS FLUORESCENS 10 to 15 gm/L for spray and 20-25 gm per litres for drenching to control wilts.

 Biological agents for disease control in gourd crops available in Bighaat1    and Biological agents for disease control in gourd crops available in Bighaat

Viral Diseases

Viral diseases are among the major limiting production factors for cucumber production in tropical areas. Typical symptoms include green and yellow mottling and wrinkling of the leaves, mottling and wartiness of the fruit, and general dwarfing of the plant.

  Viral infections on gourd crops1  Viral infections on gourd crops1

Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRV-W) and Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus (ZYMV) and Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV)

Symptoms include yellow leaves with mosaic and a distorted appearance. The whole plant is stunted. Affected fruit is also misshapen.

Management of Viral diseases

  • Thoroughly screen the nursery bed for the infected seedlings and rogue them carefully and transplant only healthy seedlings and remove the diseased plants in the main field.
  • Spray with insecticides to check the sucking pests such as Aphids and Thrips which are transmitters of the viral disease.
  • Weeds should be removed which may act as an additional hosts.
  • Spray should be concentrated more on apical parts of the plants since vectors only thrive at apical parts of the plant.


                           Harvested gourd cucumber fruits

  • Harvesting of crop at right time is very important in cucurbits as in most cases, seed development is undesirable.
  • Harvest cucumber, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, snake gourd, ridge gourd and sponge gourd when they are still young, tender and have soft seeds inside.
  • Harvest before fruit colour changes from green to yellow.

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  • Dear Sir, Thank you for the comments, Keep watching the blog for latest updates. You can ask your farmers friends to make use of this platform. Thank You

    Sanjeeva Reddy on
  • గుడ్ మెసేజ్ గుడ్ ఇన్ఫర్మేషన్ థాంక్యూ వెరీ మచ్ సార్

    Kotthakota Nagesh on
  • Bishnu Prasad Sahu , Thank for the comments and noted
    DEEN DAYAL – Thanks for the comments and will be taken care

    Sanjeeva Reddy on
  • It may not be prudent to generalise all cucurbit vegetables. In your blog you have inadvertently slipped two- three important items,viz- pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) and spine gourd (Momardica dioica) , small gourd (Coccinia indica) which are commercially quite important. You may please think to incorporate these items and present a comprehensive/ specific package of practices, integrated nutrient and pest management that would be useful for a larger group of farmers.

    Bishnu Prasad Sahu on
  • जैविक और रसायन को एक साथ प्रयोग नहीं करते हैं रसायन के कम से कम 15 दिन जैविक का प्रयोग करें और जैविक के प्रयोग के बाद 15 दिन तक रसायन का प्रयोग नहीं करें

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