If you’re looking for a fun and unique vegetable to grow in your container garden, look no further than the bitter melon! This striking green fruit is not only beautiful but it’s also packed with nutrients. Plus, they are super easy to grow! But, how to grow bitter melon in containers?
What Things Will You Need To Grow Bitter Melon In Containers?
Growing bitter melon in containers is an easy and convenient way to enjoy this unique fruit. Bitter melon, also known as balsam pear or myrtle gourd, is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine.
The fruit has a warty, green skin and white flesh with large seeds. When ripe, the fruit turns yellow or orange. To grow bitter melon in containers, you will need:
- A pot or container that is at least 12 inches deep and has drainage holes
- Bitter melon seeds
- Potting soil
- A trellis or something similar for the vines to climb
- Sunlight spot
How To Grow Bitter Melon In Containers?
Bitter melon plants are vigorous climbers and can reach up to 6 feet in length. The plant produces both male and female flowers, but only the female flowers will develop into a fruit. Container-grown plants will require regular pruning to keep them under control. Now let’s look at how to grow them:
1. Planting The Seeds
The first step is to plant the seeds. You can do this directly in your pot or container or start them indoors and transplant them later. If you are starting the seeds indoors, plant them about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area.
To plant the seeds, make a small hole in the soil with your finger and drop one seed in. Then, lightly cover the seed with soil and water well.
2. Caring For The Seedlings
Once the seeds have been planted, they need to be kept moist. This can be done by misting them with water or placing the pot or container in a water tray. The seedlings must also be in a warm location with indirect light.
3. Transplanting The Seedlings
Once the seedlings are about 4-6 inches tall, they can be transplanted into their permanent home. Choose a pot or container at least 12 inches deep with drainage holes. Fill the pot or container with potting soil and water well.
Then, carefully transplant the seedlings, ensuring not to damage the roots. Water the seedlings well after transplanting.
4. Training The Vines
Bitter melons will need something to climb, so you will need to provide a trellis or something similar. You can also let the vines sprawl on the ground, but they will produce less fruit this way.
To train the vines, tie them to the trellis or support them with soft garden ties or strips of cloth. Be sure to leave enough slack so the vine can grow and produce fruit.
5. Caring For The Plants
Once the plants are established, they will need to be watered regularly. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy. Bitter melons must also be fertilized every 2-3 weeks with a general-purpose fertilizer.
6. Harvesting The Fruit
The fruit of the bitter melon is ready to harvest when it is about 6-8 inches long and has turned a deep green color. To harvest, cut the fruit from the vine with a sharp knife. You can store the bitter melons in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Are There Any Health Benefits Of Bitter Melon?
More than just a culinary ingredient, bitter melon has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. The fruit is known for its numerous health benefits, which range from improving digestion to managing diabetes.
Bitter melon is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene. It also contains compounds like charantin and cucurbitacin, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
In addition, bitter melon has been shown to boost the immune system and facilitate weight loss. While more research is needed to confirm the exact mechanisms behind these health benefits, there is no doubt that bitter melon is a nutritional powerhouse.
Thanks to its many potential health benefits, bitter melon is an ingredient that should not be overlooked. Whether adding it to your next stir-fry or juicing it for a health tonic, this unique fruit will surely add some zest to your life.
Tips To Reap Best Bitter Melon Harvest In Containers
To ensure a good harvest, choosing a large container at least 18 inches deep and 24 inches wide is essential. Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix high in organic matter.
The plants will need full sun and consistent moisture levels to produce fruits. It is best to water the plants at ground level to avoid wetting the leaves and causing fungal diseases. Fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks to promote growth and fruiting. And follow these tips for the best harvest in containers:
- Go for a dwarf variety: Since growing them in containers, it is best to go for a dwarf variety; that doesn’t mean sprawling too much.
- Prune the plants regularly: To encourage fruiting, prune the plants regularly. This will also prevent the plants from becoming too leggy.
- Protect the plants from pests: Bitter melon plants are susceptible to pests like aphids and cucumber beetles. To prevent infestation, keep an eye out for these pests and treat the plants accordingly.
- Harvest the fruits regularly: Harvest them when they are 6-8 inches long and have turned a deep green color. To avoid over-crowding, harvest the fruits regularly.
With these tips, you can quickly grow bitter melon in containers and enjoy a bountiful harvest. Also, look at the vegetables that grow in shallow containers and the best tomatoes to grow in containers.
Pests And Diseases In Bitter Melon Plants
Common diseases that affect bitter melon plants include powdery mildew, downy mildew, and mosaic virus. These diseases can be controlled by using fungicides and following good gardening practices.
It is best to grow disease-resistant varieties. Some popular disease-resistant types include ‘Early White,’ ‘Green Jade,’ and ‘Hong Kong Green.’
Back To You
Now that you know how to grow bitter melon in containers give it a try. You can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this unique and nutritious fruit with some care. Also, look at how to grow swiss chard and cauliflower in containers! Do you have any tips on how to grow bitter melon in containers?