What kind of names have not been given to Momordica: Indian pomegranate, wild cucumber, balsam pear! This plant has caused and continues to cause many questions to those who come across it for the first time: few people can believe that it is not only edible, but also useful. True, given the fact that it grows only in the tropics, not everyone will be able to get acquainted personally with momordika. However, little by little and the middle-line gardeners begin to master the cultivation of momordica on their plot.
What a momordica plant?
This mysterious and sometimes even frightening plant came from Southeast Asia, where it is by no means just an ornamental shrub: its orange, cucumber-like fruits are actively consumed. If you look at the chemical composition of the pulp and its beneficial properties, we can safely say that it was not by chance that the Indian garnet was called Momordica. By its effects on the body, it is really similar to this fruit: cleansing the blood, stimulating the pancreas, antioxidant effect, and momordika is an excellent source of phytoncids. True, with its astringent, slightly bitter aftertaste, it looks more like a persimmon, so the product is definitely an amateur.
If you look at the true origin of the plant, it is a relative of pumpkin, zucchini and other representatives of this family, which not only influences its taste and appearance in some way, but also allows you to understand how to grow momordica from seeds. However, in areas the plant does not always land only for its fruits.
Momordica can also be used as a decoration for a gazebo or windows, as it belongs to the group of climbers and easily clings to any support, quickly growing on it. Five- and sevenfold leaves with a wavy edge, as well as small white flowers that do not thickly cover long, flexible stems are a good choice for decorating any vertical surface up to the balcony fence.
How to grow momordika from seed?
Seeds of momordica, as gardeners note, have a high degree of germination, therefore they do not need preliminary preparation using growth stimulants. However, one should carefully cut their “noses” to facilitate the germination process, since the shell on the seed is strong enough. After that, the seeds are placed in sawdust sprayed with water and placed near the heater to keep the air temperature at a level of 24-25 degrees. A reference point to the further landing is the appearance of white "antennae" from the place that was sawed.
As soon as they are pulled out by 0.7-1 cm, the seeds should be removed from sawdust and moved edge-down into the peat tablets one by one, deepening by 1.5 cm. in equal proportion, with a small addition of sand for looseness.
If the weather outside allows, you can immediately land momordika in the same tablets or cups in open ground. In the case of a prolonged spring, it is better to hold the seedlings at home for some time, where you can adjust the temperature according to the needs of the plant. The optimal climate for young momordica saplings is warm, sunny weather, air warmed to 21-22 degrees. In the southern regions, this may be April, and beyond the Urals, most often it is necessary either to withstand 3-4 weeks seedlings in an apartment, or to shift the dates of sowing Momordica. Most often, they begin to grow it in March: within 1.5-2 months from the time of sowing, the plant will get stronger enough so that it can be transferred to the site.
Features care for momordika in the open field
Momordica should be planted in a well-warmed and illuminated place: at the peak of solar activity, it is enough just to lightly shade the plant, but the rest of the time it should be in the zone of direct light. If this is a veranda or a loggia, it is better that it faces south or southeast: otherwise you will have to shine the bushes constantly.
The soil is selected for its composition is almost the same as kneaded for sowing momordiki. And the majority of gardeners simply plant the plant on the sites where the potatoes used to be: this will be the best for momordica soil. In any case, the hole dug for the seedling is first filled with organic fertilizer, in the role of which the compost usually acts, and only after that the bush goes down. The distance between several specimens should be at least 50 cm, and if you grow momordica on the balcony, each plant will need a separate pot with the same diameter.
If you want to see the fruits of momordica, this will have to contribute personally: the flowers need to be pollinated, for which they are manually connected to each other for a few seconds. At the same time, make sure that the flowers are heterosexual: the female has a small green undeveloped fruit in the center. The ripening of a full-fledged fruit usually occurs 130-150 days after sowing: the peel cracks and the seeds fall out.
Growing momordika is almost completely similar to growing pumpkin or zucchini. As their closest relative, momordica is also affected by powdery mildew and white aphids, which require preventive procedures. But it grows more like cucumbers: it needs support and a garter, and side shoots (50 cm from the root) need to be removed to keep the bush from thickening. After the ovary of the early fruits, the remaining side shoots are removed.