First bittergourd of the season

Bittergourd concealed among leaves and vines...

The first bittergourd almost snuck by me. That, I guess, is the problem with overhead trellises – the flowers are on the top, and so are the fruits, when they grow. It’s also an issue when the trellis is taller than you are! :(

You may remember my mention of the first female flower showing up a few weeks ago. Since the vines were still so young, it unfortunately wasn’t pollinated, and nothing came of it. I also didn’t notice any more female flowers, which is why this fruit grew under my radar until I finally spotted it nestled among the leaves near the top edge of the trellis – and not too soon, because it looked like it was beginning to lighten in colour and start yellowing. The flower was above my line of sight, so I missed it. Anyway developing bittergourd fruits are difficult to spot as the colour blends in with the leaves and vines.

So is this fruit any larger than those from the vine that grew in a large pot last year? Not noticeably. I will monitor that and let you know if there is any difference for this variety of bittergourd when grown in the ground. It’s probably just a smaller variety. However, it’s still nice to be able to admire the fruit of my labour…

Presenting the first bittergourd of 2011!

© 2011 All rights reserved.



First bittergourd of the season — 7 Comments

  1. Hi Curious Gardner,

    I also enjoy gardening and now work for a non-profit vegetable research center. My current project is on the bitter gourd and found this post very interesting. I am wondering what variety of BG are you growing? We are now harvesting bitter gourds from approximately 77 accessions of bitter gourd for research.

    Please keep updates on your BG growing! I will definitely be visiting. Thanks!


    • Hi Jen,
      Thanks for dropping by. I can’t tell you what variety of BG I have because my plants started up from seeds dispersed by birds! They are the smaller variety, though, but I don’t know the proper name. My first plant sprouted last year, and I managed to grow a new one from seeds for this growing season. Interestingly enough, the birds “gifted” me with a new vine this year, so I have two vines currently growing. Keep checking back for updates, and all the best with your research!

      • Thanks! Well, that’s exciting, to have a bird drop you some secret seeds. =) Have you tried the smaller bitter gourd varieties? Do you like the taste?

        Well, on the project’s new facebook post, I put a photo of just a few of the different varieties of bitter gourd. ooo the biodiversity! Maybe you can have a look:


        • LOL. I think the seeds came from my neighbour’s garden! The fruits are smallish and they’re rather crunchy to eat. Somehow they taste less bitter than the big bittergourds – something I’m quite grateful for! I probably wouldn’t have chosen to grow this, but I’m not one to ignore the hand of fate that made the birds deposit the seeds in our garden! :D For now, I’ll keep growing this one. The fact that they’re good for health is another reason I’ll keep them.
          Which variety would you recommend and why? :)

  2. Well, that’s part of the research. We will first run the samples through chemical analysis to know their compound profiles. Then, choosing the varieties with high antidiabetic properties, do taste tests and re-grow those varieties for regrowing next year.

    But personally, I quite like the white and the dark green ones. The green ones are really good with salty egg. I like the white one raw in thin slices. Bitter gourd is a new area for me because I just started on the project, but I am anticipating trying the wild ones!

    • I have never tried the white bittergourds, let alone seen one in person. We normally slice our bittergourds and cook them with egg and sliced tomato – it makes it palatable for most of us. :P Of course, when it’s fresh from the garden, the taste is even better! It’s a pity vines take up so much space to grow, otherwise we could grow even more things. I have yet to settle on the “perfect” space-saving trellis design.