Growing Sponge Gourd in pots is the best way to enjoy a fresh harvest for the entire family! Let’s have a look at How to Grow Gilki Vegetable in India!
Sponge gourd in Hindi is famous as Gilki in India. People use it to make curries and it is also very much popular in its fry form. As it tastes best when fresh, it is a good idea to grow it in your home garden! Let’s know about How to Grow Gilki Vegetable in India!
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Sponge Gourd / Gilki in English
Gilki in English is called sponge gourd and is also popular by the names Egyptian cucumber and Vietnamese luffa. The vegetable looks a lot like a cucumber and has fine lines all over the outer skin.
Sponge Gourd is an annual growing plant that can grow up to 10m (30ft) in height along with huge foliage that spreads around 25-40cm (10-26 inches) wide.
Growing Gilki Vegetable in India
You can purchase fresh and good-quality sponge gourd seeds from the nursery and sow them in pots or a garden. Use a well-draining potting mix and remember to water well. Place at a location where the seeds get plenty of bright light and gilki plants will sprout in 14-18 days.
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Requirements for Growing Gilki
Sponge gourd requires a minimum of 4-6 hours of direct sunlight to grow plenty of gilki per plant. If you will grow the plant in shade, then it will result in smaller and fewer gilki.
To get the best growth and size of gilki, make sure the sponge gourd is watered well. Do not let the soil go dry completely. Also, do not spill water on the foliage. You can also mulch the plant to maintain moisture in the harsh summer months of India.
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Sponge gourd grows best in well-draining soil that is amended with plenty of organic matter. Using vermicompost and coco peat in equal quantities will do wonders for the size and quantities of gilki per plant.
Taking Care of Sponge Gourd
Feed Gilki Vegetable with a light dose of balanced liquid fertilizer, once a month. Do not overfertilize the Sponge gourd vines as it will result in too much foliage and larger than the required size of gilki, which will be full of seeds.
Pests and Diseases
Look out for aphids, slugs, and even birds. It will be a good idea to train the Sponge gourd vines a little off the ground to keep them safe from pest attacks. Spray Gilki Vegetable with a neem oil solution to keep pests at bay.
Keep the plant in plenty of sunlight and give good air circulation to keep it safe from potential diseases.
Harvesting Sponge Gourd
The right time to harvest Sponge Gourd is when the gilki grows to about a length of 5-7 inches. Pick when the gilki is slim and slender. Do not allow Sponge Gourd to grow thick as this will make them full of seeds.
If you want to have gilki to develop into a luffa, then let the Sponge Gourd grow till it lengthens to about 12-14 inches. While picking gilki, use a knife so that you don’t damage the plant in the process.
Sponge Gourd tastes best when you cook it fresh. You can also store it in the fridge for 4-6 days.