Scientific name: Trichosanthes dioica
Pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) is a tropical vegetable crop with origin in the Indian subcontinent. It is known by the name of patal in different parts of Bangladesh and is one of the important vegetables. The fruit is the edible part of the plant which is cooked in various ways either alone or in combination with other vegetables or meats. Pointed gourd is rich in vitamin and contains 9.0 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.
Soil: Pointed gourd prefers a well-drained sandy loam soil with good fertility.
Season: February-March is the main growing season.
Propagation: The pointed gourd is usually propagated through vine cuttings and root suckers. Seeds are not used in planting because of poor germination and inability to determine the sex of plants before flowering. As a result, crop established from seed may contain 50% non-fruiting male plants. To propagate from root suckers, tuberous roots of pointed gourd are dug in the early spring, subdivided, and replanted. Both pre-rooted and fresh vine cuttings are used for propagation. Vine cuttings made in the fall of previous year and rooted during winter are planted when danger from frost is over in the spring in order to obtain a crop in the same year. Current year vine cuttings are also planted to establish the crop during the summer, but optimum plant yield is only obtained during the next year. Fresh vines used for field planting should have 8–10 nodes per cutting and should be partially or fully defoliated to check transpiration.
Spacing: The distance between plants is kept between 1.5–2.0 m × 1.5–2.0 m depending on the method of training of vines.
Male-Female ration: As it is a dioecious plant only one sex is determined in a single plant. If all the plants in a field are male, there is no fruit set and the total production is zero. For this reason, maintenance of male-female ratio is necessary. A female: male ratio of 9:1 is optimum for ensuring maximum fruit set.
Manuring: Well rotten FYM and fertilizers i.e. N and P were applied at the rate of 60 kg/ha.
After cultivation: During the initial stages of growth irrigate at an interval of 3-4 days. Irrigate on alternate days during flowering and fruiting periods. Conduct weeding and raking of the soil at the time of fertilizer application.
Pests: The important pests attacking snake gourd are- Fruit Flies, Epilachna beetle, and Red Pumpkin Beetle.
Diseases: The important diseases are- Downy Mildew, and Mosaic.
Harvesting: Fruits were produced for harvest from the beginning of July and continued to the middle of October. There was a continuous increase in the number of fruits produced during the first 4 weeks, thereafter; variation among weekly fruit numbers was dependent on the environmental conditions. Plants produced fruits for harvesting for 15 weeks to 17 weeks. Harvesting was carried out twice a week to obtain fruits at proper maturity for cooking. Over matured fruits developed hard seeds, rendering them less desirable. It took approximately 15 days for fruits to reach the marketable size from fruit-set.
Yield: Fresh fruit yields/ha is 16.2 to 21.0 ton.