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How to grow BITTER MELON/KARELA in Uganda

Karela/Bitter Melon Fruits in Uganda

Karela/Bitter Melon Fruits in Uganda

Karela/Bitter Melon Fruits in Uganda Bitter Melon Plants in Africa


Karela ( Scientific Name: Momordica charantia) also known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, or balsam-pear is member of the cucurbit family, which is native to Asia.

This fast growing vine has gained popularity in Uganda just recently due to the nutritional benefits which come with consuming it in juices and in other forms.

Karela is exotic to Uganda and not so many people cultivate it, so even the most produce you find on the market in Uganda comes from Kenya.



Common Bitter Melon varieties in Africa



Your choice of variety solely depends on your market niche. The varieties are however deffreciated basing on shape, and color of the fruit:

Small variety - this produces fruits which are 10 to 20 cm long, and are usually dark green with a very bitter taste.

Long variety - this gives fruits which are 30 to 60 cm long and are usually light green in color, though slightly bitter.

Triangular variety - this yields fruits which are cone shaped and about 9 to 12 cm long. The fruits are light to dark green in shades, with a strong bitter taste.

Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter Melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda


Soil requirement for growing Bitter Melon



Karala tolerates a wide range of soils but prefers well drained sandy loam soil that is rich in organic matter with a pH range between 6.0 to 6.7.


How to propagate Bitter Melon on your farm



Karala is best started using seed.

However you need to take precaution by purchasing seeds from a reputable source. This will help you procure diseease free seeds and subsquently avoid losses.

Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter Melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda


How to plant Bitter Melon in Africa



Direct seeding is the most common method of planting; however you can go ahead and start your crops in the greenhouse to ensure good germination. Available planting options include:

Direct seedling

On raised ridges in the field, sow 2-3 seeds per a hole at a depth of 2cm.

Maintain a spacing of 40- 60 cm a part in rows spaced at 1.2 to 1.5 m a part.

When seeds are planted under appropriate condition, seedlings shall be able to emerge in a week or less.

Thin to one seedling when they have 4 leaves.

Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter Melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda


Transplants

Sow seeds in small plastic polybag using loamy soils with good humus content.

Plant 2-3 seeds per container and thin to a single seedling when they have 4 to 6 true leaves.

Water the seedlings thoroughly every morning to maintain moist but not wet soils.

At 15 to 20 days from sowing the seedlings are ready for transfer in to the main field.

Cut the polybag to release the root ball but caution should be taken not to damage the roots.

Plant seedlings at a spacing like that used for direct seeding; spacing of 40- 60 cm a part in rows spaced at 1.2 to 1.5 m a part.

Karella is a vine so stalking and trellising is important to help increase fruit yield and size.

To stake, you can use wood to stake or even PVC pipes to provide support to fruit and foliage off the ground.

Also prune the side branches as this fastens fruit production, and his should be done until the runner (vine) reaches the top of the stakes.

Do it in such a way that you leave 4-6 laterals and cut the tip of the main vine to induce early cropping.

Watch out for bettles, thrips, cutworms, and aphids as they are some of the common pests for karella.

Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter Melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda



How best Harvest Bitter Melon in Uganda



Karella is ready for harvesting in 90 days from sowing.

The fruits develop rapidly and must be picked frequently to keep them from becoming too large or too bitter.

Mature karela fruits are light green, thick and juicy with soft white seeds inside.

To harvest, use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the fruit stalk.

Do this every 2-3 day because when you leave the fruits too long on the vine, the fruits turn spongy, sour, yellow or orange and they split open.

Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter Melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda


About the Uses and Market for Karela



Karela has a ready demand in farmer markets like Nakaseero, kasubi; even some fresh produce exporters in Uganda could buy your crop.

Bitter melon is generally consumed cooked in the green or early yellowing stage. The young shoots and leaves of the bitter melon may also be eaten as greens.

Bitter Melon fruits have been in use for a very long time in Hindu medicine or Ayurveda. Bitter melon has also been used in various Asian and African herbal medicine systems for a long time.

In Turkey, it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints.

In traditional medicine of India, different parts of the plant are used as claimed treatments for diabetes (particularly Polypeptide-p, an insulin analogue), and as a stomachic, laxative, antibilious, emetic, anthelmintic agent, for the treatment of cough, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, wounds, ulcer, gout, and rheumatism.

Momordica charantia has a number of purported uses including cancer prevention, treatment of diabetes, fever, HIV and AIDS, and infections. While it has shown some potential clinical activity in laboratory experiments, "further studies are required to recommend its use".

Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda


Quick tips for planting karela vines in Uganda




  • Open up land meant for planting to clear it of shrubs.


  • Decide on the method to use for planting, it could be on hills or in rows.


  • Drill up holes on a hill on in rows about 1-2 cm deep


  • Sow 2 to 3 seeds per hole and maintain a spacing of 40cm_60cm between the plants with 1.2m_1.5 between rows.


  • Cover the sown seeds with soil and gently firm.


  • Water the plant constantly as fruits grown in dry sites tend to develop a bitter taste.


  • Harvest karela/Bitter melon after 90 days from sowing.



Contact us here to buy fresh Bitter Melon Fruits and Karela Seeds in Uganda

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