Growing Momordica from seeds is available to everyone
The exotic plant, whose homeland is India and Southeast Asia, fell in love with Russian gardeners due to its high decorative and useful qualities. Growing momordiki does not require special care, so it can often be found not only in a vegetable garden or greenhouse, but also in urban apartments..
The culture belongs to the pumpkin family and grows in the form of a climbing annual liana up to 2 meters high. When in contact with the plant, a burning sensation may appear, which allows it to defend itself from various insects. This property disappears with the beginning of fruiting..
Growing Momordica from seeds
For plant propagation, both the cuttings method and the seed version can be used. The second method is more effective and in demand. Growing momordica from seeds can be done directly in the open ground, but since the plant loves warmth, it is better to wait for the seedlings at home.
Sowing is carried out in early or mid-spring in several stages:
- Pick up mature, dark-colored seeds;
- Cut off the nose of the seed with a nail file or fine emery paper, removing the layers of the dense shell;
- Disinfect the seeds by dipping them briefly into a weak solution of potassium permanganate;
- Wrap in a soft damp cloth and leave in a warm place (not lower than + 23 ° С) until white roots appear.
Do not keep the seeds in potassium permanganate for too long, this can lead to decay..
A high percentage of germination can be achieved by planting two seeds in a special peat container with nutritious soil to a depth of 1.5 cm and watering thoroughly. In the future, cover the containers with foil, creating greenhouse conditions and leave. Subject to the required temperature regime, seedlings should appear in two weeks..
To grow momordica on your own, after the first shoots appear, you need to remove the film and put the seedlings in a sunny place. It is necessary to monitor the moisture content of the soil, avoiding drying out and spray the plants daily. After waiting for the appearance of two leaves on each of the sprouts, it is necessary to make a pick, leaving a stronger one in the pot. After that, you can start preparing Momordika for transplanting into open soil. For this, plants are hardened as follows:
- Every day, the pots are taken outside, gradually increasing the residence time from 2 hours to a day, adding 1.5 hours daily.
- Place the seedlings in a greenhouse and ventilate it in a similar way, while the sprouts must be protected from direct sunlight.
As soon as the maximum time spent in the fresh air reaches a day, you can start transplanting into open ground.
The optimal time when Momordica can be planted in open ground is 45 days after sowing. To prevent the plant from dying on cold nights, the air temperature should not be lower than + 15 ° C. Experienced gardeners recommend waiting for the apple trees to bloom, or planting the crop in a greenhouse.
Low air temperature can lead to growth arrest and death of the thermophilic momordica.
- Dig holes 35 cm deep, with a step of 55 cm between them;
- Place the plant in a hole by transshipment, without disturbing the earthen lump, or together with a peat container;
- Cover with soil on top and pour at the rate of 3 liters of water under one root.
All actions must be performed with extreme caution, trying not to damage the fragile roots.
Requirements for soil composition and location
Planting in the open ground of Momordica requires certain conditions, since the thin root system does not tolerate transplanting well. Clay soil with an admixture of sand and humus with a low or neutral acidity level is considered optimal. In the presence of acidic soil, it is necessary to mix it with lime in the fall at the rate of 200 g per 1 m2.
Before planting seedlings, the land must be loosened and watered with organic fertilizers. In the future, seedlings should be fed twice a month, alternating potash and phosphorus fertilizers..
To grow Momordica Indian cucumber, choose an area that is protected from drafts and direct sunlight, but at the same time with enough light. The crop does well in areas where tomatoes, legumes, pumpkin or potatoes were grown.
The cultivation and care of Momordica has several nuances. If the plant is grown in an urban environment on a balcony, then it must be pollinated. This can be done with a soft brush, by transferring pollen from the male flower to the female, or simply by touching the female with it..
To increase the number of fruits, it is important to form a bush in time. To do this, remove all lateral shoots located lower than 0.5 meters from the ground, as soon as the first ovary appears..
Growing Momordica during a period of active growth involves abundant regular watering. It is important to monitor the moisture content of the soil, preventing it from drying out, however, overflow of the plant is fraught with root rot. Every evening the culture should be sprayed with warm water..
The soil for the plant must be loose. This can be achieved by mulching with straw. In such conditions, worms actively develop, which saturate the earth with humus. A black film that covers the entire planting area will help to get rid of regular loosening and weeding. In addition, it prevents the earth from drying out by holding back evaporation.
The first feeding is carried out at the beginning of flowering, the second – during the formation of fruits, the last – a couple of weeks before harvesting. As a fertilizer, you can use complex mineral compounds purchased in a special store, or organic compounds (a glass of cow dung per 10 liters of water).
Before growing momordica at home, it is worth considering that this is a vine. For full growth, she needs vertical support. This role can be played by a wall of an outbuilding with a vertically stretched twine, or a specially installed frame. The lower support is placed at a height of 85 cm from the ground level, and as soon as the plant reaches it, the bush must be fixed and pinched, stepping back 25 cm above the crossbar.
When growing momordica jade, it is important to harvest the fruits on time. This should be done 14 days after they appear, otherwise they will become bitter. The more often the harvest is carried out, the more actively the bush bears fruit. If you leave the fruit on the plant, it will weaken significantly..
Before fruit appears, contact with the plant can cause burns, therefore, care should be taken with gloves and closed clothing..
Disease and pest control
Momordica is similar to cucumbers, not only in appearance. Crops are susceptible to similar diseases and pests, each of which requires treatment:
- bacteriosis (Bordeaux mixture);
- aphids (special chemical compounds);
- powdery mildew (fungicides);
- white rot.
The plant can turn yellow as a result of temperature changes. In such a situation, it can be processed with onion infusion or ash. When the root system decays, fresh fertile soil must be poured around the bush. To avoid diseases and attacks of pests, it is necessary to carefully consider the frequency of watering, since the plant weakens mainly due to damage to the root system..
Having figured out when to sow momordica and how to properly care for it, you can safely start planting an exotic culture in a garden plot or even a balcony.