Ivy gourd or little-gourd is well known as Kundru (Coccinia grandis syn. Coccinia indica) is cultivated throughout India. It is grown for its immature fruits cooked as vegetables especially in southern, eastern, and western India. It is cultivated commercially in Chhattisgarh.
Ivy gourd is a herbaceous, semi-perennial, and dioecious creeper. Plants grow vigorously, having long stems and tuberous roots. Flowers are axillary, unisexual, usually solitary, and white. Fruits are usually ovoid, elliptical, or cylindrical in shape. Immature fruits are smooth, green to light green with or without white stripes. A 100 g edible portion of the fruit contains 12 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 3.1 g carbohydrate, 0.07 mg vitamin B1, 0.08 mg vitamin B2, 0.7 mg niacin, 15 mg vitamin C, 1.4 mg iron, and 30 mg phosphate. Young shoots are a good source of ß-carotene and protein and richer in nutrition than fruits.
Table of contents (toc)
Climate and soil
It requires a humid and warm climate and becomes. dormant during winter, and abundant flowering and fruiting occurs during summer. It is found growing up to 2,000 m above mean sea level. It thrives well in. high to medium rainfall areas of eastern, southern, and western India. It can withstand water stress but not waterlogged conditions.
It can be grown well from light to medium-heavy soils but a well-drained sandy-loam soil, rich in organic matter is best suited for its cultivation. In Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Asam, and West Bengal, it is found growing in light to medium-heavy. soils with the addition of organic matter. The soil should be well fertile or have an adequate nutrition supply as fruiting is continued for 8 to 9 months.
Improved varieties of Ivy gourd areas are discussed here.
Arka Neelachal Kunkhi: This variety was developed at Central Horticultural Experiment Station, Bhubaneshwar. Fruits are long and light green. It has a sequential fruiting habit and fruit develops by means of vegetative parthenocarpy. There is no need for male plants for pollination, thus more female plants can be accommodated per unit area. The yield of a single plant is 20 kg fruits in one growing season.
Arka Neelachal Sabuja: A high-value culinary variety of ivy gourd developed at Central Horticultural Experiment Station, Bhubaneshwar. The fruits are oblong and dark green which stores well for 2 to 3 days and can withstand transport shock also. The plants are vigorous, producing a high yield of fruits 31.18 kg/plant having more pulp and soft seeds.
Coccinia Co 1: A high-yielding variety developed at TNAU through local collection from Coimbatore. Fruits are long green with white striped, less seed, and sweet in taste (4.5° Brix). It is suitable for both culinary and salad purposes. Its yield is 83.09 tonnes/ ha.
Indira Kundru 5: A vigorously growing, high yielding variety developed through clonal selection at Indira Gandhi Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Raipur. Fruits are oblong and green with white strips. It has a yield potential of 100-102 tonnes/ha.
Indira Kundru 35: This table-purpose variety has also been developed through clonal selection at IGKV, Raipur. Fruits are 6 to 7 cm long and light green. It takes 65-70 days for the first harvest. It has a yield potential of 93.68 tonnes/ha.
Sulabha (CG 23): Fruits are long and pale green with continuous striations. It takes 37 to 40 days for flowering and 45 to 50 days for the first harvest. It has a yield potential of 40 to 42.50 tonnes/ha.
Ivy gourd is propagated through vine cuttings and tuberous roots. Vine cuttings, 1.0 to 1.5 cm thick and 25 to 30 cm long having 3 to 4 nodes are used for propagation. Vine cuttings are placed at an angle in beds in such a way that at least 2 nodes are inside the bed from July to August. Cuttings can also be planted in polyethylene bags filled with a 1:1:1 mixture of soil, sand, and well-rotted farmyard manure. Healthy sprouted plants can be obtained under playhouse during October-November.
Planting and planting density
Ivy gourd attains heavy growth and requires a Mandap or Bower system for training plants. Plants are also trained in Bamboo poles with GI wires. About 3,500 cuttings are required to raise a one-hectare crop with a spacing of 3 m x 3 m.
Bower system or Mandap
In this system, RCC poles are fixed in the square at a distance of 3 m x 3 m. GI wire of 16 and 18 gauge are used to support the vine. A 16 gauge wire is laid out from pole to pole and an 18 gauge wire is used to form a net, which helps in spreading vine on the upper surface. Pits at a distance of 3 m x 3 m are filled with a mixture of soil and 5 to 8 kg farmyard manure. Neem-cake 500 g/pit can also be used to avoid insect damage.
Bamboo poles are fixed at a distance of 2.5 to 3.0 m. Vines are trained in 18 to 20 gauge GI wire or plastic ties, connecting bamboo poles. Vines are planted at a distance of 2.5-3.0 m. Vines are supported by vertical ropes to trail on GI wires.
Ideally, it is planted in July-August and can also be planted between February and March with assured irrigation facilities. At least 10% of male plants should be planted and evenly distributed. Varieties possessing vegetative parthenocarpy do not require the planting of male plants.
Training and pruning
Training of vine on bower system or vertical bamboo poles facilitates effective pollination, thereby increasing fruit set and yield. Incidences of insect pests and diseases are low in the bower system. Vines are tied with jute rope to reach up to the top and allowed to trail on bower.
Regular yearly pruning keeps Ivy gourd fruitful and makes it highly profitable. Pruning of vines helps to produce new growth and increase fruit yield. New plants are pruned from shoot tips to get two to three shots at 25-30 days after planting. Intensive pruning gives good responses to old plants. Almost all vegetative portions are pruned leaving only two branches 30 cm from the bottom. New growth comes on pruned vines from February onwards that are tied with rope to facilitate creeping and trailing. Ivy gourd is pruned during Mid-November in central and northern India whereas; July pruning is adopted in southern India. After pruning vines should be treated with Bordeaux paste.
The number of fertilizers to be applied depends on the type of soil and the fertility status of the soil. In general, 60 kg N, 40 kg P₂O, and 40 kg K₂O/ha are applied to get a good crop. Half of P, K, and one-fourth of N are applied just after pruning. The remaining half of P and K are applied at the onset of monsoon and N is given at monthly intervals in four splits from June to July. Well-rotten farmyard manure @10 to 12 kg/plant is applied just after pruning. Fertigation through drip irrigation is commercially practiced in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
Ivy gourd is irrigated at 15 to 20 days intervals during winter and at 7 to 10 days during summer or in the dry season. Drip irrigation is best suited for getting a higher yield. In high rainfall areas, plants are grown in ridges to avoid excess water in the root zone. Aftercare and intercultural: Regular intercultural operations in Ivy gourd are desirable for higher fruit yield. Weeding, hoeing, and earthing are recommended to make the field free from weeds.
Diseases and pests
This crop is free from any serious disease and insect pest attack. Ivy gourd is mainly affected by powdery mildew, vine borer, and aphids and rarely by the weevil and hairy caterpillars.
Powdery mildew: It occurs during cloudy weather.
Vine borer: This insect attacks vines just after pruning. After pruning vines should be treated with recommended pesticides.
Harvesting and post-harvest management
Harvesting starts from 55 to 60 days after planting or pruning. Tender, fully grown immature green fruits are harvested 7 to 10 days after the fruit set. Picking should be done at an interval of 3-4 days. Delayed harvesting should be avoided as seeds become pink and fruits fetch low prices in the market. The harvesting is continued for about 9 to 10 months. Initially, Ivy gourd gives an average yield of 10 to 15 tonnes from the first year and it increases up to 30 to 40 tonnes/ha. After 4-5 years, yield declines and the crop needs severe pruning to make it more profitable. Under intensive management, a higher yield of 100-120 tonnes/ha can be obtained.