Thursday, July 26, 2007

GBP - Sorakaya/Dudhi/Lauki/Bottle Gourd!

2 inch long baby bottle gourd - the picture is deceptive but the fruit was only 2 inch long. I will use my hand as a frame of reference next time!

In my previous post, I posted a picture of the bottle gourd plant that was growing. Since then, it is not only growing but taking everything down that is in its path :). I always knew bottle gourd was an avid grower but seeing it is believing it. We had this plant growing up and we would get tired of distributing all the produce to the neighbors, relatives and acquaintances, strangers :). We had so much produce that everyone in our house started to hate(read loathe) this vegetable. But alas, all that changed when I came to the U.S. As with many things, I started appreciating this vegetable more than I ever did in my entire life.

I remember my mom would make a lot of different dishes with the sorakaya/bottle gourd - sorakaya paluposina koora, sorakaya dappalam, sorakaya sambhar, sorakaya pottu pachadi, sorakaya pappu, sorakaya halwa, sorakaya kofta, sorakaya payasam even! You name it and it was done with this vegetable. We would even pick the seeds from a very mature bottle gourd and fire roast and eat 'em! Wow, that does bring back a flood of memories! Depending on how many of these I get this season, I plan to try all the dishes my mom used to make with it, time permitting.

After publishing my previous post, I have gotten so many inquiries about how I planted the garden, how to maintain it etc. So I thought I would do a quick write-up of my "bottle gourd growing adventures"! About 3 months ago, a friend of mine gave me about 7-8 seeds and I planted the seeds in disposable water glasses (with a hole cut in the middle) in a soil-less starter medium (I used Jiffy). In about 4-5 days, almost all the seeds I planted germinated except for one/two. I then babied them for about 2-3 weeks inside with artificial lighting until they got the first two leaves and one true leaf. I think by this time, I only had about 5 plants that survived. The rest didn't make it. I then took them outside and planted them then babied them some more. After yet another couple of weeks, I only had about 3 plants left (which is what I have now). The initial growth felt like it took for ever. After the plant became well established, there was no stopping it. It keeps putting on new leaves overnight. It is truly an amazing experience to watch it grow.

Then one of my other friends told me that bottle gourd actually produces two types of flowers - male and female. And get this, they need to be "pollinated" for the baby bottle gourd to be born. She said that if there are bees in the vicinity there is no need for the hand pollination. When the flowers first started appearing, I could only see one type of flower. I had no idea if that was a female/male flower and if I needed to pollinate them. Then I did what any normal person would do - I googled! I found resources that had pictures of how a female flower looked like versus a male flower. I also read that female flowers come up about a week-ten days after the male flowers start blooming. I breathed a sigh of relief and would go out each evening hunting for the female flowers :). Then finally one day, I saw two female buds and was waiting for them to bloom so I could pollinate them. I was able to pollinate one of the females, but the other female had bloomed when we were out one night and I never had a chance to pollinate that. So, the "non-pollinated" shriveled up and started dying where as the pollinated one, started growing. It took about 8 days for the 2 inch fruit that was on the back of the flower to turn into a 11/2 feet gourd. So as of tonight, I now have my very first homegrown bottle gourd in the U.S. It is amazing how much joy and content such small things bring to life.

I am planning on going down the list and making the sorakaya paluposina koora with the very first gourd.

the fully grown 11/2 feet long bottle gourd/sorakaya/dudhi/lauki

24 Comments:

At July 26, 2007 10:12 PM, Anonymous Manisha said...

Whoa! What a gorgeous dudhi that is! And one that you hand pollinated, that too!

 
At July 27, 2007 5:39 AM, Blogger Srivalli said...

wow..looks excellent....

Srivalli
www.cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com

 
At July 27, 2007 5:41 AM, Blogger Asha said...

COOL!!! I have planted it too, it looks like a bottle wide bottom and narrow top.We do have plenty of butterflies,so they do the pollination!
Looks so good,great entry.Enjoy.I have to post my GBP too shortly.

 
At July 27, 2007 8:34 AM, Blogger Jyothi said...

Looks tender and lovely. Have a great weekend.

 
At July 27, 2007 1:46 PM, Blogger Dee said...

Pavani, mee blog lo dappalam recipe undi ante chala santosham. my favorite veggies are beerakaya and sorakaya... Chala bavundi

 
At July 27, 2007 1:53 PM, Blogger Dee said...

hey, I entered the wrong name, i thought it was pavanis site bcos of the backround. Sorry abt that. But i will surely try the dappalam recipe.

 
At July 27, 2007 2:32 PM, Blogger Tee said...

That is one good looking Dudhi :)
There are so many veggies which I never cared for in India, and now miss eating them so much...

 
At July 27, 2007 5:17 PM, Blogger Suganya said...

Whoa! Thats big! What do you get by growing yr own vegetables - satisfaction.

 
At July 28, 2007 7:52 PM, Blogger Inji Pennu said...

Wow! It is wonderful! I didnt know about all that pollination thing about bottle gourd. Thanks a lot.

Recipe will follow? Eagerly awaiting.

 
At July 29, 2007 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ur Lauki looks good....i'll come see ur garden next week..

Nikkie

 
At July 29, 2007 1:33 PM, Anonymous Linda said...

Hey Sam, lovely photos and great description of growing bottle gourds! Wholeheartedly agree -- it's all about the little things :)

 
At July 30, 2007 8:47 PM, Blogger DivSu said...

Don't tell me, that it is home grown!! Looks great!!

 
At October 08, 2007 6:46 PM, Blogger Achla said...

I have a lot of interest in growing Lauki. Can you tell me how the male and female flowers look like and how to hand pollinate. Did you put the fence in a special way so that Lauki is hanging like this. Plese give me more details.

 
At October 19, 2007 8:17 AM, Anonymous Indira said...

What a beauty! Congratulations on successfully growing the bottlegourd here in US.

Glad to see you back to blogging, LC. Missed your posts.

 
At December 14, 2007 1:11 PM, Blogger Soul Cocina said...

Wow, great to know that butterflies pollinate bottle gourd!

Besides going into my Lauki halwa and sambar, it could bring more butterflies to my back yard. You have inspired me.

Can anyone help me identify this Indian fruit/ veggie:
http://soulcocina.blogspot.com/2007/12/whats-this-round-3.html

Thanks

 
At June 07, 2008 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
Looks great! I'm also planning to plant some vegetables...but no idea to make fence for them to grow. When you find some time, will you please take a long shot of your plants and post it please?
So that i can get an idea.
Thanks much,
Sailaja.

 
At June 25, 2008 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a gourd vine and the flowers drop off without pollinating. Please tell us how to distinguish male and female flowers and your funda of pollination. Thanks. Ramesh.

 
At June 28, 2008 6:33 PM, Blogger Neelu said...

Wow, looks like you have brought it up with great care n affection. I planted some Zucchini and it never came up hehehehe.

 
At July 29, 2008 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
Thanks for your post and I am sure its helping all the gardeners who want to grow dudhi. Can you please tell me how you hand pollinated them? Looks like my garden needs hand pollination as I see both male and female flowers but no dudhi yet(not even one).Looks like your vine is in deck. Can you tell me more details on that too. Its confusing if it should go up or lay flat on ground.

Thanks,
Sarada

 
At February 05, 2009 10:56 PM, OpenID pedatha.com said...

Hi L2C, What a lovely post about your "bottle gourd growing adventures". That is quite a success story for what is now becoming a much coveted vegetable, as Ramdev Baba has spoken about it extensively. The pics are so lovely - your gourds look really fresh and healthy.

 
At March 10, 2009 2:52 AM, Blogger Meenal Mehta said...

hi there ...just stopped in to say hello , we linked to each other once but I see that you stopped writing? any plans of picking it back up?

 
At June 29, 2010 12:35 PM, Blogger RAM said...

I have seen only 1 dodhee become big since the pollination ,others are not growing they are just like newborn thumb size .what shud i do?
Do you need handpollinattion each time or once done is ok,how many fruits come at a time .


Tks

29jun 2010

 
At August 02, 2010 8:46 PM, Blogger Satya said...

wow .. lauki looks so nice ... i love to see garden fresh vegetables ... i think gardening and veg cooking is a perfect combination...

if u get time do visit my blog

Satya
http://www.superyummyrecipes.com

 
At September 21, 2010 2:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in England and I am growing Dudhi in my garden for past 2 years. I plant seeds (which I brought from India) in my Green house some time in March and when weather improves some time in May or June I transfer the plant outside in my vegetable patch. I dont have to pollinate as I get lots of beas in my garden. last year I had many small Duthi but this year I had 3-4 real big Duthi. I dont know why some small Dudhi does not grow into Big one as my plant has 10 to 15 small ones. I plant new seeds every year but can you keep plant from one year to another? unfortunately weather does not help here!

 

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