Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria [Molina] Standley) is commonly called "upo" among the Tagalog. It is locally known as "Tabungaw" in Ilocano and "Kandol" in Ibanag. This is a herbaceous, annual climbing plant with long strong tendrils and simple leaves. Fruits are globular, bottle or club-shaped and reaches up to one meter long. When the fruit matures, the rind is hard and durable.
Young fruits are usually cooked as vegetable dish. Young shoots are also consumed as green vegetables and the seeds are popular snack food as "kutchi". Upo contains carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. The juice from green upo fruits is good for the treatment of chest pains, stomach acidity, indigestion, ulcer, epilepsy, insanity and other nervous diseases. The leaves are used to treat skin diseases. Boiled seeds are also good for the treatment of boils. The hard rind of dried matured fruits can be made into containers, hats, decorative handicrafts, floats, and musical instruments. (Source: Department of Agriculture- Region II, Date accessed 24 March 2014)
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Planting and Fertilization
One hectare requires 2 kg seeds. Soak seeds in water for 24 hours and wrap in moist cloth until the seed coat breaks. Sow seeds by drilling 2 seeds per hill. Cover with a thin layer of soil. A planting distance of 1 m between hills and 3-4 m between rows is recommended. The soil should be light with good aeration.
Apply 20 g/hill of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) at planting. Side-dress 10 g/hill of urea (46-0-0) at early vining stage (30 DAP). After 15 days, mix two parts urea and one part muriate of potash (0-0-60) and apply as side-dress at 10 g/hill.
Trellising and Pruning
Use trellis to protect the fruits from rotting and malformation. Construct vertical and overhead trellis using ipil-ipil or bamboo poles, wires, abaca twines, or straw twines.
Train vines to climb a vertical pole or ladder until it reaches the overhead trellis. Remove lower lateral branches that appear on the climbing part of the main stem to promote branching and fruiting.
Pest and Disease Management
Insect pests like leaf folder, fruit fly, and yellow beetle, as well as foliar disease like downy mildew, powdery mildew, anthracnose and Cercospora leaf spot attack bottle gourd. Monitoring for pests should be done regularly. Remove infected fruits and leaves to avoid build-up of pest population. Observe strict sanitation to control insect pests and diseases
Fruits develop fast & require much attention at harvest time. It usually takes 15 days for fruits to reach marketable stage from the day of fruit set. The fruits are better harvested using sharp knives to cut the peduncle approximately 5 cm long.
Source: Department of Agriculture- Region II, Date accessed 24 March 2014