Ridge gourd or ribbed gourd (Luffa acutangula) is a monoecious viny vegetable. It is cultivated mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Asom, West Bengal, and the Konkan region of Maharashtra.
Climate and Soil
It grows very well in a warm-hot climate, the optimum temperature being 25-30°C. Very high temperature especially during the early crop growth stage (more than 38°C) helps produce more male flowers, reducing the yield. Very low temperature also affects the growth of vines. Sandy loam soil, rich in organic matter is the most suited for higher yield. Proper drainage is highly beneficial.
Some of the improved varieties are described here.
Arka Sujat: Fruits are lush green and tender, medium-long (20-35) cm with an average fruit weight of 110 g. The variety has good transport and keeping quality. Yields 15 tonnes/ha.
CO 1: Fruits are 45-50 cm long with a broader stylar-end than stalk-end and green in color. Yield is 14 tonnes/ha in 125 days. Each fruit weighs 700 g at harvestable maturity.
CO 2: Super long fruits (90-100 cm), each weighing 800 g, yield 25 tonnes/ha in 120 days. PKM 1: Fruits 70-80 long, club-shaped. Yield 16-18 tonnes/ha in 130 days.
Pusa Nasdar: Fruits light green, club-shaped. Variety was more suited for the rainy season. Days to maturity 55-60. The average yield is 14 tonnes/ha.
Pusa Nutan: Fruits long (25-30 cm), straight, green, flesh tender, average fruit weight 105 g. Suitable for both spring and summer and Kharif season. Days to first harvesting 45-50 days (Kharif); 55-60 days (spring-summer). The average yield is 17 tonnes/ha. Field tolerant to Luffa Yellow Mosaic virus.
Satputia: A hermaphrodite variety, vines produce bisexual flowers instead of male and female flowers separately. Fruits are borne in clusters. Fruits are light green. The average yield is 12-14 tonnes/ha.
June-July is the sowing time for Kharif crops while February-March for the summer crop. The field should be ploughed 3-4 times and farmyard manure @ 10 tonnes/ha is added. Long, raised beds are formed with furrows 50-60 wide. The seeds should be sown on both edges of the beds. In each hill, 3-4 seeds are sown. Only 2 healthy seedlings 2.5 m x 1.0 m apart are retained. In South India, pits of 45 cm x 45 cm are dug and filled with farmyard manure and topsoil. About 4-5 seeds are sown in each pit; 4 kg seed is enough for 1 ha. If seedlings are raised in polybags, about 1.5 kg seed is sufficient to plant a one-hectare crop.
About 15-25 kg N, 30-40 kg P and 30 kg K are recommended before sowing or planting. It should be irrigated once a week depending on soil moisture. About 15-25 kg N/ha should be applied 30 days after sowing. The vines should be trained on a bower with the help of a thin bamboo pole used as a stake. Earthing-up of the vine should be done during weeding and hoeing.