Ash gourds belong to the Cucurbitaceae plant family which relates to cucumbers, melons and are native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
They require full sun and thrive in well-draining and rich fertile soil.
They can easily grow in grow bags or containers and here we will detail how to grow ash gourds in grow bags.
We started our seeds outdoors in March in seed starting cells filled with a mixture of coco coir, perlite, vermiculite and compost. In about 4-6 weeks we transplanted the seedlings into grow bags, one plant for the grow bag pictured.
At this stage we added a complete fertilizer which we mixed into the soil, however you can use compost, manure or any other kind of fertilizer.
The plant started to branch out and produce new shoots 2 months since transplanting. Ash gourds are low maintenance plants and do not require heavy fertilizing. They are also drought tolerant, so you can get away with watering your plants once in every 5-6 days in dry weather. Male flowers come out first followed by female flowers. Female flowers have a small spherical fruit behind, as pictured.
The plant looked bushy and we could see our first fruit emerging, 4 months since sowing. Ash gourds are creeping vines and the tendrils can be trained to climb adjoining structures, trellis or allowed to spread on the ground. Immature gourds are covered with fine hair which eventually disappear as the gourds mature. Though it?s not necessary but you can add a fertilizer at this stage if you are noticing weak growth or no flower production. Ash gourds are not susceptible to serious diseases, but you need to keep an eye out for powdery mildew which appears as tiny white spots on the shoots and leaves.
We harvested our first gourd 6 months from sowing. The mature gourd is coated with an ash like powder on the surface, hence it gets its name ?Ash? gourd. Most of the ash gourds are heirloom varieties which means you can harvest the seeds from the gourd, dry and use them to grow new plants in the next growing season. The plant will continue to grow and produce more gourds as long as the temperatures are hot.
Ash gourd tastes mild like cucumber and does not have a distinctive flavor, so it can be easily incorporated into salads, smoothies or juice. We usually cook the gourd with lentils and spices and serve with rice. Ash gourds primarily contains water but also has a variety of beneficial minerals and vitamins. It?s a valuable source of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Ash gourd Aka cool vegetable can help beat the summer heat and is known to alleviate heartburn, acidity and other digestive problems.
Watch our detailed video on: How to Grow Ash Gourds
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