Thursday, August 15, 2013

Growing Snakegourd and other vines

Snake gourd is a tropical climate vegetable.  The vines need hot weather over a long period of time to grow and fruit.  I've wanted to grow these for a while, but the seeds are quite expensive online and their germination rate is very poor.   The seeds are very thick and take a longer time to germinate, if at all.  Since we are in zone 4 and in our short summer,  the only option is to start them indoors, to ensure the fruit develops before the first frost sometime in September.

Luckily for me, I never needed to buy seeds.  I had bought this vegetable for cooking purposes, from a local Asian store and since it was too mature I saved about 20 seeds.  Early March, I soaked the seeds for over 2 days in water first and then in moist paper towels trying to wear out the outer thick shell, all the while checking periodically and finally planted them indoors in soil.  I also had bitter gourd seeds and all of these seeds were planted at the same time.  One bitter gourd and about 4 snake gourd plants sprouted out of the numerous seeds planted. 

I've grown these vertically on a pvc pipe trellis from an idea online, So this is how it looks today.....

Snakegourd vine is in the middle, to the left is bittergourd, to the right is cantelope
....and the First Snakegourd!!!  (It's not as big as it looks in the picture though)
That's the male flower.
and the female flower(or rather bud), about the middle of the picture- the base of the white bud is swollen!
So that's the first one, behind the leaves to the left and next to it is another tiny one starting to form.  All in all, I counted about 6 fruits...which is very exciting, as this is the first time that I have been successful in growing them. 
I'm wondering if I should let one snake gourd mature and collect seeds for next year or take my chances of finding a mature one from the store bought ones? Hmm...
Here's my lone bitter gourd vine..
Yup, it's a single vine.
If you look closely, you will see a couple tiny bitter gourds...
Lastly, my cantelope vine which I mistakenly thought was a snake gourd vine(they all look alike when little :)
Cantelope vine loaded with fruits!
up close picture of cantelope in netting.
I find that growing vines vertically is much cleaner, but severly limits the plants from sprawling like they do on ground and consequently fruit production.  However, is safer for me to check in on the fruits as we have couple snakes in the yard(non poisonous), but I am wary of them and detest them with all my heart.  I used a regular wildlife netting rather than a trellis netting, on this one and am now wondering if it will support all the weight of the vines.  Will know soon enough.... :)


  1. They are pretty plants. Last year I grew my cantaloupes vertically, but this year I'm keeping them horizontal. I find the horizontal much easier. However I don't have snakes.

    1. It's nice to be able to grow vines horizontally especially when there are no snakes! I wish I could try it sometime, but no, I can't deal with so many critters underneath the thick growth!!

  2. Its been more than a month since I planted my snake gourd plants in the garden and I see a lot of male flowers but no female buds yet.. any idea, how long did it take for you to see the female buds.. Any suggestions? I guess I need to have little more patience.

  3. how much days required for germination incase of snake gourd without soaking for a day ??

  4. I successfully done my research on snake gourd with objectives of divergence and character association studies in snake gourd in northern dry zone of Belgaum district thank u for ur suggestions nd all