Bitter gourd is a widely known vegetable in Malaysia since it is often used for culinary and health purposes. As the name suggests, it has a bitter taste. This vegetable is full of water keeping your body hydrated.
Bitter gourd is versatile and has many health benefits. One of the main characteristics of bitter gourd is that it multiplies and loves high temperatures, making it an ideal vegetable for Malaysian weather.
If you have a vegetable garden growing bitter gourd is an excellent idea; just keep in mind that it is a climber plant, so it is imperative to have trellis settings for it to grow.
Moreover, since bitter gourd is light in weight, you don’t need a sophisticated trellis system.
This vegetable plant quickly germinates from seeds, and in tropical weathers, it gives fruits almost all-year-round.
The Bitter Gourd Seeds Germination Process
1. Choose a Location
Bitter gourd is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, so it is critical to choose a location full of sunlight if you want it to grow heavily.
Remember, this vegetable plant will grow tall so you need a tall trellis to support it. If you are growing bitter gourd seeds on a balcony, terrace, or patio, make sure to do it near a wall so they can grow along with it.
The chosen location must receive a minimum of 6 hours of sun per day.
As mentioned, bitter gourd seeds are very easy to grow, and it can grow in a wide range of soils. But it is best to grow them in permeable, sandy loam soil rich in organic matter. Test the soil pH to ensure it’s around 5.5 to 6.7.
Always make sure the soil is well-drained to avoid any problems. For good yields, an excellent tip is to add compost to the ground to enrich it.
3. Germinate Bitter Gourd Seeds
The best time to germinate bitter gourd seeds is when they are fresh. Knowing when bitter gourd seeds are ready for sowing is very easy as the fruit dries, splits open, and shows seeds in a golden yellow background.
Don’t forget to protect your hands by using gloves as bitter gourd seeds are toxic if ingested. Note that sprouts must arise within 10 to 14 days. For quicker germination, soak the bitter gourd seeds in water before sowing.
Soak bitter gourd seeds in clean water for approximately 25 minutes. Keep in mind that if seeds are still floating after the end of the immersion, throw them away.
Next, take the bitter gourd seeds and wash with boiled water. Drain and leave them open until it dries on its own.
Another method to accelerate germination is by thinning seed skins. Hold the bitter gourd seeds and rub gently on fine sandpapers. Once the seed skin begins to change colour, stop rubbing.
Keep in mind that rubbing one side of the seed allows the germination process and prevents damage to the seed.
Once you stop scrubbing the seeds, place them in boiling water for no more than four seconds, and then carefully drain them on a sheet of paper towel for a couple of minutes before sowing.
Please note that the bitter gourd seeds germination ideal temperature is between 30-35° Celsius.
4. Sow Bitter Gourd Seeds
Sowing bitter gourd is easy; all you have to do is make about 1.27cm deep holes in the vegetable garden. Make sure to space them 10cm apart to secure the vines and ensure they don’t eat each other.
Make sure not to sow more than one bitter gourd seed in each hole or pot to leave room for the roots to expand. Remember to water the bitter gourd plant to keep the soil moist continually.
Consider starting bitter gourd seeds inside, and once seeds germinate, transfer them to a sunny location in your garden.
The Bottom Line
The key to accelerating the germination process is high temperatures and adequate moisture. Remember, you can soak bitter gourd seeds overnight in water or thin seed skins before sowing for quicker germination.
It takes approximately 25 to 30 days for the plant to start flowering. Once the vine is 1.80 – 2.50 meters long, cut the growing tips.
Doing this strengthens the plant and boosts the growth of side branches producing more flowers and fruits.