IVY GOURD CULTIVATION
Ivy gourd / Coccinia Grandis / baby watermelon / little gourd/gentleman’s toes / calabacita belongs to the pumpkin family and is a tropical perennial plant grown widely around the world. In India, it is called Tindora, Tondli, Kundru, Kunduri Posto, Kunduli, Tondekai, Dondakaya, Kovaikkai, Kovaykka, Tendli, Telakucha, etc.
Ivy gourd is a climbing plant and grows easily with support. It is used as food mainly and the leaves, stems and roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is grown mainly in the states of TN, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, WB, Telangana and AP. Ivy gourds are either striped or plain and are available in improved varieties such as Sulabha, Indira Kundru-5, and Indira Kundru-35. Ivy gourd is a popular vegetable crop and grows well in humid and warm climates. It can easily be cultivated throughout the year.
This vegetable crop is most popular in the area of West Bengal. Ivy gourd is a perennial climber with single tendrils and glabrous leaves. The leaves have 5 lobes and are 6.5 –8.5 cm long and 7 – 8 cm wide. Female and male flowers emerge at the axils on the petiole and have 3 stamens. Tindora is a small, stubby, green colored vegetable which grows strongly on vines are used to make scrumptious curries, stews, pickles, salads and stir-fries. Tindora is available in abundance, fresh, cheap, healthy and tasty. There are many variations to the Tindora recipes depending on its region and taste.
In India, it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with spices, stuffing it with masala and sauteing it. It can also be eaten by boiling it first in a pressure cooker. It is commonly used in sambar, as a vegetable and lentil-based soup. Some dishes that are cooked here using Ivy gourd are Pavakkai, Tindora fry, Tindora and Chana dal, Tindora ka salan, Stuffed Tindora masala, Beeja manoli upkari, Bharli Tondli, Tindla channa, Tindora chutney, Ivy gourd kootu, Ivy gourd fry, Ivy gourd leaves sabzi, Kovakai poriyal, Ivy gourd pickle, mixed vegetable poriyal and so on.
Ivy gourd is available after the rainy season for about 6 months in a year. Most people love to grow this vegetable in their own kitchen garden as well. Tindora contains a fabulous mix of complex carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins, protein, and minerals. Ivy gourd has been regarded as a therapeutic plant in conventional Thai and Ayurvedic medicine. Ivy gourd has beta-carotene, a significant vitamin A. Regular consumption of Ivy gourd helps keep your blood sugar under control. The leaves are mainly used in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes. It is a very useful crop to grow as all of it is used including the roots, stems, and leaves.
Image source – gardentia.net
Ivy gourd is a perennial climbing or trailing herbaceous vine that grows up to 3 m. It has tuberous root systems with green stems, ribbed when young, glabrous, with simple, auxiliary tendrils. The leaves have five lobes and the shape differs from the heart to pentagon form. The size of the leaves is around 5 -10 cm in width and length. The upper surface of the leaf is hairless, while the lower is hairy. Flowers are usually star-shaped, large and white and about 4 cm in diameter and contain five long tubular petals which are found blooming during Aug to September.
Ivy gourd is smooth, ovoid to ellipsoid in shape and thus very small. Its dimensions are 60 mm long by 15 – 35 mm in diameter. The skin is smooth along with variations of green and white. It is green with longitudinal stripes when young turning bright red when ripe. The clear white flesh of the fruit looks like the appearance as well as a taste of the cucumber, showing numerous seeds. The flesh is equally crispy as well as tasty in texture having a slightly bitter aftertaste. It has several pale, flattened seeds 7 mm long. Because of its wonderful taste, it can be included in many delicacies.
The overripe ones are usually red inside in the flesh instead of the usual white and may be hard to chop or cook. When buying Kundru from the market, ensure you do not buy the over-ripe ones. They can easily be grown at home as well in your terrace or backyard garden. They can be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers. They do not have much of a shelf-life and hence need to be cooked within a day or two at the most after buying.
Process of growing Ivy Gourd
⦁ Time / Season / Climatic conditions –
As mentioned earlier, this crop loves humid and warm weather conditions and although it can grow well throughout the year; it is best suited for temperatures between 20 – 32°C. Peak seasons for fruiting are rainy and summer seasons respectively.
Tindora should be planted before the monsoons in July or in the spring season – February – March.
⦁ Seed Rate / Spacing –
The crop is propagated through stem cuttings mainly that are 20 cm long and 20 cm in thickness. The cuttings can have about 4 – 5 leaves and about 2 – 3 cuttings are planted 6 cm deep in basins of 60 cm diameter. The distance between the basins is 2 m.
The ratio of female and male plant population in a field is 10:1. Since Kundru is a perennial crop, replanting is done every 4 years.
⦁ Soil type / land preparation / Irrigation –
Ivy gourds are generally grown in rich sandy loam soils with a pH of 6.0 – 6.5.
The land is plowed to a fine tilth and the soil is tested for nutrients. The plant needs bamboo sticks for support to grow as a vine. Once the land is ready, add about 25 tons of FYM and fertilizers in the ratio of N:P:K – 60 – 80:40 – 60:40 kg/ha are added annually at the fruiting or flowering stages.
Tindora starts fruiting at 3 months after sowing. Once fruiting takes place, the vines are pruned leaving 70 cm long vines. Each plant requires 5 kg of FYM after pruning.
The crop is irrigated immediately after planting. Summer seasons require light irrigation once a week. Rainy seasons do not require irrigation. Drip irrigation is found useful to maintain adequate water moisture during the flowering stage. Kundru is sensitive to waterlogging, hence ensure the soil is well drained.
⦁ Weed Management / Pest Control –
Weeding and hoeing are usually done during the early phase of the plant growth to avoid weeds. This crop is affected by aphids, whiteflies, Thrips, and mites. Sulabha is the best variety of Ivy gourd to grow as it is not affected by pests and diseases.
Aphids are controlled by spraying dimethoate @ 0.05%
Thrips are controlled by crop rotation or treatment of seeds with imidacloprid 70% WS @ 12 gm/kg. Alternately you can apply carbofuran 3% G @ 33kg/ha
Broad mites can be controlled by crop rotation or spraying dimethoate @ 0.05%
Seed-borne anthracnose can be controlled by spraying with copper oxychloride.
For more information regarding pest control in your area, contact your local horticulturist who will guide you based on the region and the related problem at hand.
⦁ Harvesting –
Cuttings start developing new leaves and shoots after about one month. Suckers develop a month later after that fruiting and flowering follow a month later as well. Ivy gourd plants flower profusely and produce many fruits. Flowers only develop on the branches and not on the main stem. Young fruits are harvested about a week after flowering. Harvesting is best done weekly as long as there is enough moisture to produce new leaves and flowers.
The crop could remain in the field up to 10 years, after which the yields decline and farmers need to establish a new crop. However, replanting after 4 years may be more economical. Cutters or sickles are used to harvest the vegetable crop as a common practice. Tindora produces an average yield of 12 – 15 tons/ha if cultivated the right way.
⦁ Benefits of Ivy Gourd –
⦁ Ivy gourd contains laxative properties and is rich in fiber and therefore helps ease bowel movements
⦁ It contains curative properties for asthma, jaundice, bronchitis, skins problems such as leprosy, scabies, psoriasis, etc
⦁ Ivy gourd helps maintain a healthy skin
⦁ It contains antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties
⦁ It is a good source of vitamin c and hence very effective to keep common colds at bay
⦁ Its roots, stems, and leaves are used widely in Ayurvedic practices in India to make medicines
⦁ Ivy gourd helps normalize blood sugar levels
⦁ Kundru promotes metabolism in the body and protects the nervous system
⦁ It has good amounts of calcium and hence is excellent for bones
⦁ It prevents the formation of kidney stones
⦁ It keeps allergies at bay and prevents fatigue
Dfdf – Raw Kundru / Tindora
Calories 40 Sodium 0 mg
Total Fat 0 g Potassium 80 mg
Saturated 0 g Total Carbs 8 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 2 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 0 g
Trans 0 g Protein 1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 28% Calcium 0%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 1%
Image source – myfitnesspal.com