Monday, July 12, 2010

Bottle Gourd (Upo)

Bottle gourd/Upo (Lagenaria siceraria.): Young plant

One out of three.   Driven by nostalgia I planted some tropical vegetables (the ones I used to eat in the Philippines) last spring.  I planted three kinds of plants bitter melon (Momordica charantia), luffa (Luffa acutangula), and bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria).  Only the bottle gourd or as it is called in the Philippines Upo, emerged.  Out of the twenty seeds I planted only two made it to become plants.  One of them is in the middle of the vegetable garden and the other one is growing against the fence (see picture). 

Uses.  The mature bottle gourd is often used for decorative and craft-making purposes.  However, in most Asian countries, it is an important vegetable crop.  The fruits are harvested when they are young and tender.  With a delicate flavor, they make good additions to stir-fries and soups. 

Special treatment.  Take note of the mulching material I used - dry avocado leaves.  Instead of throwing away, pile them around plants.  The leaves of bottle gourds are wide hence, it is expected that the rate of transpiration is high.   Mulching helps conserve soil moisture and also prevent weeds from growing. 

Have you tried eating bottle gourd before? 
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