TRICHOSANTHES DIOCIA CULTIVATION
Trichosanthes diocia / Pointed Gourd belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is a popular tropical crop. Other names of the pointed gourd are Parwal, Parmal, Palwal, Pattol, Paraval, Kommu Potla, Kambupudalai, Kaadu padaval, Kadu padavala kayi, Patolam and so on.
The pointed gourd is often used as a vegetable in our kitchen and is helpful to our health. Mostly present in the Terai region of Nepal, the pointed gourd is tasty whenever cooked and its advantages to human health are even bigger. Pointed gourd and its leaves have wonderful therapeutic qualities. It is specifically useful for anyone suffering from stomach ailments. Plus it helps you to heal any kind of accidental injuries in short time period.
In India, it is grown in the states of Bihar, MP, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, TN and UP. Some hybrid varieties of Parmal are Swarna Rekha, Rajendra Parwal-1, Rajendra Parwal-2, Swarna Alaukik, etc. The pointed gourd is rich in vitamin and contains 9.0 mg Mg, 2.6 mg Na, 83.0 mg K, 1.1 mg Cu, and 17.0 mg S per 100 g edible part. It is purported that pointed gourd possesses the medicinal property of lowering total cholesterol and blood sugar. The plant is a perennial, dioecious, and grows as a vine. The roots are tuberous with long taproot system and its vines are pencil thick in size with dark green, cordate simple leaves. Flowers are tubular white with 16–19 days initiation to anthesis time for pistillate flowers and 10 – 14 days for staminate flowers. Stigma remains viable for approximately 14 hours and 40 – 70 % of flowers set fruit.
Based on the shape, size, and striation, the fruits can be grouped into four categories, namely long, dark green with white stripes, 10 – 13 cm long; thick, dark green with very pale green stripes, 10 – 16 cm long; roundish, dark green with white stripe, 5 – 8 cm long, and tapering, green and striped, 5 – 8 cm long. Some dishes that can be made from Parmal are aloo parwal, parwal korma, stuffed parwal, dahi parwal, hariyali parwal, parwal sabzi, bharwa parwal, aloo potala rasa, parwal curry, parval nu shaak, potols vepudu, etc.
The vegetable can be cooked alone or with other vegetables or meat. It is a good source of vitamins and has medicinal properties. It is a perennial plant and grows like a vine. It seems similar to Ivy gourd, but it is not the same. It is easy to cultivate and grows up to a height of 2 m. It grows best in warm to hot, humid climates and is usually propagated through vine cuttings. It can be refrigerated after buying from the market but needs to be washed well before use. They are usually green with white stripes on the outside and red, pink or white inside. Red interior means the fruit is fully ripe and maybe difficult to cook. Choose well before buying and avoid the red variety.
Parwal / Pointed Gourd
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Varieties of Pointed Gourd
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Process of growing Pointed Gourd
⦁ Time / Season / Climatic conditions –
This perennial crop grows best in warm to hot, humid climates and does not tolerate frost or extreme cold.
Dry tropical weather post monsoon is best suited for pointed gourd cultivation.
The ideal temperature to grow pointed gourd is 28 – 35 °C.
⦁ Seed rate/spacing –
Parwal is propagated through vine cuttings and root suckers. Seeds are not used because of poor germination and inability to germinate. If using root suckers, tuberous roots of pointed gourd are dug early in spring and subdivided and then replanted.
The distance of planting depends upon plant population, soil fertility and irrigation method (drip or flood). Generally, farmers are keeping a distance of 5 × 5 or 4 ×4 feet or 5 X 2 feet with a ratio of 9 female of 1 male.
Fresh vine cuttings if used should have 8 – 10 nodes per cutting and should be partially or fully defoliated to check transpiration.
The spacing between plants is 1. The distance between vines is 1.5 – 2.0 x 1.5 – 2.0 m.
⦁ Soil type / Land preparation / Irrigation –
Pointed gourd prefers a well-drained sandy loam or clay soil with good fertility. The soil pH value should be between 6.0 – 6.5.
Land should be plowed 2 – 3 times until the soil reaches fine tilth stage. Apply well-rotten FYM about 20 – 25 tons. Test the soil before cultivation. Maintaining male, female plant ratio as mentioned above is important. Fertilizers of 60 – 80 kg N (top dressing), 40 kg P, and 40 – 50 kg K/ha should be applied.
In Pointed gourd training, for effective pollination and plant growth, the vines should be trained on trellis systems. The trellis can be 2 m in height. Vines are trained on the vertical trellis by tying with wires. Aerial supports include bowers which are made with wood or concrete pillars.
First irrigation should be given immediately after planting. Subsequent irrigations can be carried out in 3 – 4 days intervals. Watering the crop depends on the soil type and moisture condition. To get a good yield, water the crop at alternate days at the time of flowering and fruiting. Rainy seasons do not require irrigation. In case of heavy rains, drain the excess the water to prevent water-logging.
⦁ Weed management / Pest control –
Weed control and hoeing operations should be carried during the initial stage of crop growth. Weeds can be removed manually or mechanically. Hoeing is done to conserve moisture. Weeding operations are harder in the rainy season and summer.
During post shoot emergence, spray herbicides like Gramaxone 1.0 %/ha along with mulching to control weeds and ensure higher yield.
Main pests are fruit flies, Epilachna beetle, and Red pumpkin beetle.
Diseases such as fruit rot, root-knot nematode, downy mildew and mosaic exist in parwal cultivation
To control these diseases and pests, contact your local horticulturist
⦁ Harvesting –
Pointed gourd vines start fruiting in 120 – 140 days after planting. They can be harvested 15 – 18 days after pollination before reaching full maturity. Weekly harvesting is preferred.
The yield is usually 15 – 20 tons/ha.
The shelf life is not much and hence they need to be refrigerated. Use quickly before they turn fully ripe and red.
⦁ Benefits of Parmal –
⦁ Parmal is a good source of vitamins
⦁ It helps improve digestion and controls blood sugar levels
⦁ It controls cholesterol and keeps the heart active and healthy
⦁ Pointed gourd helps in treating constipation problems and eases bowel movements
⦁ It is a good blood purifier
⦁ It is good for people looking to lose weight
⦁ It helps in reducing flu symptoms
⦁ It fights aging
⦁ The vegetable is rated as one of the nutritious foods and contains vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C.
⦁ In Ayurveda, pointed gourd is used to treat the gastric problems and is also used as a natural aphrodisiac
Nutritional Value of pointed gourd
Calories 19 Sodium 0 mg
Total Fat 0 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 0 g Total Carbs 4 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 3 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 0 g
Trans 0 g Protein 2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 0% Calcium 0%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 0%
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