|By goGreen | February 18, 2012|
Ridged gourd or angled loofah locally known as patola (Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxburgh or Cucumis acutangulus L. is widely grown either in backyards or in commercial scale. The short production period of this crop makes it an attractive venture for farmers. The immature fruit, which can be cooked in several ways and as an adjunct to meat or fish, is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. The fiber of matured patola when processed is an excellent bath sponge and scourer.
This module covers the cultural practices in patola production. It is designed to guide farmers who are venturing in small scale vegetable production under rice-based farming.
The two varieties of patola in Figure 1 that are recommended for production are Native (ridged) and Talisay (smooth). Other desirable characteristics of these varieties are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Characteristics of the recommended varieties of patola
Days to harvest of fruits (DAE)
Ave. Yield (t/ha)
Reaction to pests and diseases
|Native||45-50||20||Ridged||Green||Stewed, salad Soup, broiled||Moderately resistant to pest and diseases but susceptible to fruit fly|
|Talisay||45-50||25||Smooth||Yellow green||Stewed, salad Soup||Moderately resistant to pest and diseases but susceptible to fruit fly|
Fig 1. Appearance of a) Native ridged gourd and b) Talisay smooth.
Photo from East West Seed Company and AVRDC
Site Selection/Soil Type
Patola is adapted to humid tropics. In the Philippines, it can be grown throughout the year. However for optimum growth select soil types with high organic matter. This crop can be profitably grown in rain fed and irrigated farms but not productive in poorly drained soils.
Grow the crop from June to September and from February to May if there is adequate irrigation to obtain high yield.
Land Preparation and Trellising
Patola is used as a crop component in a relay cropping pattern that uses several crops in a sequence to avoid the allelophatic (toxic root exudates) effect of the previous crop and at the same time take advantage of the “carry over effect” of fertilizer from the remaining plant nutrients that were not consumed by the previous crop.
If a relay cropping with a planting sequence of ampalaya-upo-patola in 1000 m2 will be used, clear the area by removing all the vines of upo. Change the damaged posts of the previous trellis and reinforce if necessary. After clearing, broadcast 300 kg of organic fertilizer or compost then plow and harrow with a carabao or hand tractor to expose the soil and the roots of the previous crop. Plant patola without trellis during the dry season to minimize expenses in trellising
System of Planting
Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting. To avoid water logging of the seedlings during wet season, plant 2-3 seeds per hill on the ridges of the furrow at a distance of 2.5 x 2.5 m. During the dry season, plant the seeds in the furrow. Remove weak seedlings 7 days after emergence (DAE) and retain only one plant per hill.
Weeding and Cultivation
Weed the area at 14 DAE. Cut the weeds close to the ground every 14 days or as needed. Do not uproot the weeds or cultivate in between the rows as this will harm the roots of the plants that will lead to a decline in the growth of vines and consequently result in low yield.
To evenly mix the organic fertilizer in the soil, broadcast it before plowing. For succeeding fertilizer application, please refer to Table 2. Side dress the crop with a mixture of urea and complete fertilizer every 2 weeks using 1 tbsp/hill for 2 ½ months to prolong the productive period of the crop.
Table 2. Fertilizer requirement for patola production.
|Kind of Fertilizer||Rate of Application (per 1000 m2)||Time of Application||Method of Application|
|Organic fertilizer||300 kg (1.5kg/hole)||Before plowing||Basal/Broadcast|
|14-14-14||1.6 kg(1 tbsp/hill)||At planting||Basal/Spot|
|Urea + 14-14-14||1.6 kg + 1.6 kg mixed (2 tbsp/hill)||28 DAE||Side dress|
|Urea + 14-14-14||6.4 kg+6.4 kg mixed (8 tbsp/hill)||56 DAE||Side dress|
|Urea + 14-14-14||6.4 kg+6.4 kg mixed (8 tbsp/hill)||70 DAE||Side dress|
|Urea + 14-14-14||6.4 kg+6.4 kg mixed (8 tbsp/hill)||84 DAE||Side dress|
Source: Gajete, T.D. et. al 2004
Irrigate the crop by flooding the area two weeks after emergence. Repeat irrigating at seven days interval throughout the growing season.
Patola is very resistant to most insect pests of cucurbits except fruit fly which infests all cucurbits the whole year round. For prevention and management of pests and diseases of patola use the suggestions in Table 3. However, in case of outbreaks of pests, spray the crop with the suggested pesticides in Table 4.
Insect Pest of Patola
Fruit fly (Dacus cucurbitae) – The larvae are destructive to the fruit of cucurbits and have become a serious pest of other crops. The adult lays eggs at the surface of the undeveloped female flowers (Fig. 2a). When the female flower is fertilized, the larva has already invaded the young fruit. As the fruit grows, so with the larvae, until such time that the fruit is exhausted of nutrients then it exhibit yellowing with rotten internal parts (Fig. 2b).
Diseases of Patola
Downey mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis) – gradual yellowing of the leaves with angular spots that are sometimes mistaken as senescent leaves (Fig. 3a). The pathogen commonly found at the under surface of the leaves. Infected plant suffers yield low because of decreased photosynthetic activity of the leaves.
Powdery mildew (Oidium sp.) – The plants exhibit white powdery growth on the surface of the leaves as a symptom of the fungal disease (Fig. 3b). Severe infection causes the leaves to become yellowish brown and die.
Fig 2. a) Fruit fly adult. Photo from creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/fruit/tropical/.htm
b) Damage of fruit fly on patola
Table 4. Insect pests and diseases of patola and their chemical control.
|Insect Pests and Diseases||Suggested Pesticides||Rate Application (tbsp/16 li water)||When and How to Apply|
|Common Name||Product Name|
|A. Insect Pests Fruit fly and other insect pests||Carbaryl||Provin 85 WP||4.0-6.0||Spray as soon as insects appear. Repeat at 10-14 days interval.|
|Lambdacyahlothrin||Karate 2.5 EC||1.0-1.5|
|Methomyl||Lannate 40 SP||4.0-8.0|
|B. Diseases Powdery mildew and downy mildew||Cupric hydroxide||Champion 50 WP||50||Spray as soon as diseases appear and repeat at 14 days interval.|
Source: Gajete, T.D. et. al 2004
Fig 3. a) Downy mildew and b) Powdery mildew of patola
Five days after fruit setting, harvest immature fruits using a sharp knife to cut the 15 cm peduncle. Pack the fruits in 10 kg capacity polyethylene bags to maintain freshness. To avoid the damaging effect of sunlight on the fruits (drying of the ridge), harvest early in the morning or late in the afternoon
Source: Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture