How to grow Ribbed gourd plants in my terrace garden

This article is about the ribbed gourd vegetable which I regularly grow in my terrace garden. The article describes about the uses ribbed gourd plant, its fruit, leaves, seeds and even roots. Usually grown as a climber, a pandal is made to spread the plant around. The most common use of the fruit is to be cooked as a vegetable but it also has many medicinal uses. It contains several vitamins and minerals. Most south Indian families put the cut pieces of ribbed gourd in sambar, a south Indian recipe.

Ribbed gourd plants in my terrace garden

I regularly grow ribbed gourd in my terrace garden

• I have an open space in front of my pent house on the third floor of building. The rest of the two floors and the ground floor of the building are rented to house a school. The open space in front of my living room which lies toward the east direction has been converted by me into a beautiful terrace garden as you can see in the attached image. I personally look after the plants and feel it a pleasure to water them and putting manure in them. I gradually dig the soil near their roots and remove any unnecessary weeds if they happen to grow among them. At times, I spray insecticides to keep the harmful insects away. Most often the dried twigs and leaves have to be pruned or removed.

• In one corner of the terrace garden, I regularly grow ribbed gourd as can be seen in the attached image of the terrace garden. The camera has been focused on to the ribbed gourd plant to highlight it. The ribbed gourd plants are best grown during the start of the monsoon season in July and again in the winter season in January.

Fruit of the ribbed gourd plant

• During my childhood I had seen the gourd plants which my parents used to grow in the backyard of our house. The climber used to climb high on the keekar tree in the backyard. The fruit was long shaped like a bottle but with green colour. It had a very soft and smooth skin. We used to call that gourd as "Ram Tori or Turai". But once I shifted my residence to Hyderabad in the south, the beautiful city which is the capital of Andhra Pradesh state of India, I came to know about another variant of this gourd which is called the ribbed gourd. The fruit had lined ribs on the body and the skin is very rough and hard. I bought a few seeds of this plant from a seed store near Monda market (the famous vegetable market in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad). I planted them in my terrace garden and I could see the ribbed gourds beautifully hanging from the plants after about over a month from putting the seeds into the ground. You can see them in the attached image which I took with my digital camera.

• The fruit of the ribbed gourd plant is a long gourd with ribbed and rough skin which is quite hard. It was different from the skin of the gourd which I had seen in Punjab. It is pleasure to watch the fruit hanging from the plants. We have to make a small pandal of thin bamboo poles making them into grids by tying the joints of the grids with binding wire. The pandal is very essential for the ribbed gourd plant to spread out in an area of about 10– 12 square feet of the terrace garden. You can see this pandal covered by the ribbed gourd plant in the image. This is also very essential to make a pandal so that the fruits of the plant can hang themselves safely from distance of about 7 – 8 feet from the ground. The ribbed gourd fruit is green in colour and has a soft pulp inside under the cover of rough and thick ribbed skin. The soft seeds of the fruit can be eaten along with the pulp after cooking them as a fried vegetable or as a curry. Once the fruit is left for more time on the climber it gets ripened and becomes very hard inside and will not be fit to eat. One such fruit can be left on the plant to get seeds for growing the plant in the next season. The colour of the skin changes to golden green after it is ripened.

Properties of the ribbed gourd plant and its fruit

The ribbed gourd fruit is endowed with the following properties:

• Ribbed gourd is a nutritive plant

• Ribbed gourd fruit is bitter in taste if taken raw.

• The skin of the ribbed gourd fruit is quite hard and is required to peeled deep before making the gourd ready for cooking after it is cut into small pieces.

• Ribbed gourd has diuretic properties.

• Ribbed gourd is also expectorant and hypoglycemic.

Ribbed gourd contains the following vitamins and minerals

• Calcium – 18 mg

• Phosphorus – 0.5 g

• Iron – 33 mg

• Vitamin B2 – 0.01 mg

• Niacin – 0.01 mg

• Vitamin C – 5 mg

• Carotene – 2.6 mg

• Ribbed gourd also has small qualities of fluorine and iodine.

Edible, medicinal and other uses of the ribbed gourd

• The fruit of the ribbed gourd plant is commonly used cooked as a vegetable. In south India the cut pieces of ribbed gourd is added to sambar, a common south Indian recipe.

• Ribbed gourd is used a diuretic and as a bitter tonic.
• Seeds of ribbed gourd are used as a purgative.

• Ribbed gourd is also used a cure in the enlargement of spleen.

• The leaves of rib gourd plant are useful to treat dysentery conditions.

• The leaves or juice of the ribbed gourd are also used as dressing in case of inflammation of spleen, ringworm, piles and even the dreaded disease leprosy.

• Oil extracted from the seeds of ribbed gourd is used to cure skin diseases.

• Even the root of the ribbed gourd plant is used as a laxative.

• Ribbed gourd can be effectively used to prevent premature greying of hair. The chopped pieces of ribbed gourd have to be dried in the sun. Care should be taken not to peel the skin of the ribbed gourd. After the sun has set, the dried pieces should not be left outdoor in the open during the night. Once completely dried, a powder should be made out it and stored for future use.

Soil and other conditions required for growth of ribbed gourd plant.

• A sandy and loamy soil is good for the growth of ribbed gourd plant. The soil should preferably enriched with organic matter and should also have good drainage facilities. The water should not be allowed to get stagnated near the roots of the plant.

• Ribbed gourd plants to flourish well require a moderate warm temperature.

• Planting should be usually done in the months of July and January.

• When growing ribbed gourd in large farms, about 1.5 kg of seeds per acre would be required. A few seeds are enough for growing ribbed gourd in your terrace garden or small vegetable garden. For example I use only 10 -15 seeds to grow ribbed gourd to grow the plant in my terrace garden.

• When growing in large farms the ribbed gourd seeds should be treated with Trichoderma viride 4 g or Pseudomonas fluorescence 2 g for very one kg of the seeds.

• The field or the soil should be finely ploughed or tilled for good growth of the plants.

• Pits of 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm size at 1.2 x 2 m are advised to be made ready for the sowing of the seeds in large farms. The size can be little less when you grow them at home. Only one or two pits are enough for terrace garden.

• First only five seeds per pit should be sown. After about 15 days time the seedlings should be thinned by keeping only two of the healthy seedlings to grow into full fledged plants.

• Field or plant bed should be irrigated before sowing to make the soil wet in order that it becomes suitable for sowing the seeds. Thereafter the plants need to be watered almost every week. The frequency of the watering can be more for the plants sown in the terrace garden.

• Any weeds or wild plants growing among the ribbed gourd plants should be removed.

• Ethrel 250 ppm of quantity 2.5 ml to 10 litres of water can be sprayed at weekly intervals about four times starting from the 15th day of sowing. This would increase the yield.

• Apply the chemical fertilizers after about 30 days of sowing. Organic manure would suffice in the terrace garden.

• Plants should be protected from beetles, fruit flies and caterpillars by spraying Melathion 50 Ec. The quantity of spray should be 1 ml to a litre of water. Never use DDT as an insecticide to spray on ribbed gourd plants.

• Mildew is a common disease by which the ribbed gourd plants are infected. It can be controlled by spraying Dinocap 1 ml to a litre of water. There are also some other insecticides available in the market depending on the type of the mildew disease.

Recipes from the ribbed gourd

• Ribbed gourds are healthy and full of fibre. The pulp and even the skin of the ribbed gourd are used to prepare varieties of recipes.

• The soft pulp of the ribbed gourd is used to prepare varieties of recipes.

• As told earlier, many south Indian families use the chopped pieces of the pulp of ribbed gourd are added to make the sambar, a typical south Indian recipe made with tuar daal or arhar daal.

• The non-vegetarian families add the cut pieces of ribbed gourd in mutton curry to make mutton-ribbed gourd recipe.

• Ribbed gourd can be cooked as dry vegetable by frying it with onions.

• Even the skin of the ribbed gourd is used to make chutney in various Indian households.

• Here I give a method to prepare to dry vegetable (subji) from ribbed gourds:

Ingredients needed to make dry ribbed gourd vegetable recipe

• 3 cups of ribbed gourd thoroughly washed, peeled ant cut into small cubes of about 1" size.
• ½ cup of chopped onions.
• 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes.
• ¼ cup of ginger garlic paste.
• 2 small stems of curry leaves.
• ½ tsp of mustard seeds. (Rai)
• ½ tsp of turmeric powder (Haldi).
• ½ tsp of red chilly powder.
• ½ tsp of jeera powder. You can omit it if you don't like the taste.
• ¼ tsp of black pepper (Kali mirch). This is also optional.
• ½ cup of grated coconut. This is also optional since sometimes it might not be readily available.
• 2 tbsp of cooking oil
• Salt can be added according to the taste.

Method to prepare ribbed gourd vegetable recipe

• First of all take 1 cup of water and boil the cut vegetable in a covered pan kept on low flame.
• After the vegetable is cooked and no water is left, keep it aside.
• Now heat oil in a separate pan and fry the mustard seeds in it.
• Add the onions, ginger-garlic paste and
• When the vegetable is cooked and dry, heat oil in a separate pan, and temper the mustard seeds
• Add the onions, ginger-garlic paste, and keep frying until the onions turn light brown.
• Now mix the tomatoes and keep the pan covered for some time on a low flame until the tomatoes get cooked.
• At this stage add the cooked ribbed gourd vegetable and stir well.
• Add pepper and let it cook for 5 minutes more.
• In case you are adding coconut and jeera, grind both of them into a paste and add at this stage.
• Your dry ribbed gourd vegetable is ready to serve hot with rice or roti or chapathi or paratha.

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Author: M04 Nov 2011 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Dear Sukhdev Sir,

Thanks for this informative article. I appreciate the way you have compiled so much information about an ordinary topic and presented it in an interesting and easy-to-comprehend way. Your article has covered almost all the aspects of the topic at hand. New content writers can learn a lot from articles like this.


Author: Ramachandran Pattabiraman07 Nov 2011 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Sukhdev Ji,
I want to add one more thing about the usage of ribbed guard. For preparing something, we remove the skin of ribbed guard. Without wasting that also a chutney can be made. The taste is so good!
Put a pan in stove with little oil and get the urad dhal and few red chillies fried. Add skin of ribbed guard and slightly cooked. (No need to add more oil while adding the skins)
Grind well with salt to the need.

It is very tasty as a side dish for chapati or dosa. And the same can be eaten in plain rice with gingly oil or ghee.

Note: I want to share my joy by seeing your posting that, I availed the good quantum of ladies finger and cluster beans (to the quantum for a day for 4 persons) out of my terrace garden.

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