Ridge Gourd, also known as Turai, is a green fleshy vegetable that is widely used in Indian cuisine. It has a rough, ridged surface (or the skin of this vegetable) as the name suggests which is eventually peeled off before cooking. Ridge gourd might not be among the favorites of most people but it is packed with a lot of benefits that might make us consider planting this veggie next. However, this vegetable is used a lot in dishes like dals, chutneys, sambar, pakoras etc. The colour of this vegetable can range anywhere between light to dark green.
Wondering what to plant next in your home garden? The ridge gourd plant is a great option. Not only does it boast several health benefits, it is fairly easy to grow this plant. Grab some pots or containers and you’re good to go. Let’s delve into some benefits of the turai plant, how we can use it in foods and a guide to growing this plant from scratch.
Health Benefits of Ridge Gourd
Ridge gourd has a fairly low calorie count. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can provide alleviation of inflammation and also works well to reduce coughs and colds. Ridge gourd comes from the cucumber family which makes it filled with moisture content. This in turn helps with weight loss along with low calories and saturated fats. The phytonutrients present in this vegetable helps keep diabetes under control because they prevent a spike in the glucose levels in our blood stream. The zinc and Vitamin C present in the ridge gourd plant has immunity boosting properties that can aid in fighting diseases. It also has antioxidants that provide protection against free radicals; molecules responsible for causing diseases like cancer and heart problems. The Vitamin A present is very good in improving our vision.
How To Use Ridge Gourd?
Perhaps the benefits have got you convinced and you want your very own ridge gourd plant growing in your home. However, you’re not exactly sure how to use it yet. Don’t worry, here are a few ways. You can make ridge gourd pakoras by marinating them in your normal batter and frying them. It can also be used in dals and curries along with other preferred vegetables. Ridge gourd can also be turned into pickles and enjoyed as a side dish. Another tasty variation is to stuff it along with some tangy options like tamarind along with ginger and garlic paste and daily used spices. It can also be stir fried or boiled and added to soups.
Varieties of Ridge Gourd
1] Jaipur Long
The jaipur long variety of the ridge gourd plant has semi-spreading vines with a dark green coloured fruit. It yields harvest in around 55 to 60 days. The average length is 40 to 45 cms with a weight ranging anywhere between 200 to 250 gms.
2] F-1 Hybrid US-372
This variety is a prolific beares that has vigorous vines that are dark green in colour. It yields harvest in around 50 to 55 days and can weigh up to 200 to 250 gms.
3] F-1 Hybrid US-495
This variety is green in colour with vines that grow vigorously. The fruits are medium long in length with deep ridges. The average length of this fruit is 30 to 35 cm with an average weight of 200 to 220 gms.
4] F-1 Hybrid US-395
This variety has a medium green colour with stronger ridges than the previous ones. The harvest of this plant can be done in 50 to 55 days. The average length of this fruit is anywhere between 40 to 45 cm.
5] F-1 Hybrid US-595
This variety has a green colour with vines that are strong and sturdy. The fruits are long with deep ridges and an average weight of 200 to 250 gms. The plant can be harvested in 50 to 55 days.
6] F-1 Hybrid US-472
It has vigorous vines that are light green in colour. This variety is a prolific bearer. The average length is around 30 to 35 cm and weight of 200 to 250 gms. Its harvest can be done after 50 to 55 days.
How To Grow Your Own Ridge Gourd Plant
Growing ridge gourd in pots is fairly easy and here is a guide for you to follow:
1] Preparing The Container and Soil
To grow ridge gourd, choose a container that is large enough since the turai plant needs a lot of water. Make sure that the container is at least 11 to 12 inches deep. For the soil, use a good potting mix that has a lot of nutrients and also add organic matter if you can. The loamy soil should be avoided. Make sure that the soil is alkaline in nature. You can grow 3 to 4 plants if you pick a 20 litre container.
2] Germination And Seedling
Soak the seeds overnight to boost the ridge gourd seed germination time and have a successful germination of seeds. Pick the spot to sow your seeds and then make an inch deep hole in the soil and sow your seeds. Cover them with soil very loosely and water them later. Make sure your soil is not drying out so check every day. Ridge gourd germination time is 3 to 5 days from sowing.
3] Taking Care of The Plant
Ridge gourd plant care is extremely necessary. When it is the summer season, water it every single day in a shower form. For fertilizer, use lots of manure or compost or organic compost. The ridge gourd plant flowers are both male and female where the female will produce the fruit. In the second week, cut off the weaker seedlings to thin out the plant. Ridge gourd pollination is also important. It is usually done by bees but if you don't have the availability of bees then hand pollination can be done too.
4] Harvesting The Plant
The turai plant growing to maturity to be harvested is 8 to 12 days from pollination. If its stem has turned brown and dry then it can be harvested. Use a pair of scissors to harvest the plant gently avoiding any damage. Harvesting procedure should be carried out with utmost care so all the hard work pays well.
Here you have it, a deeper dive into the next vegetable you should consider growing in your garden.
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Q1] Which months are the best to grow ridge gourd?
A1] Ridge gourd is grown as both a summer and rainy crop. As a summer crop it is grown between January to April and as a rainy season crop it is grown in June and July.
2] How many ridge gourds can I get from one plant?
A2] You can get around 3 to 4 ridge gourds from one plant.