1. SEEDS & SOIL PREPARATION
A. SOIL PREPARATION Empty the soil bag to the very environmentally friendly coconut pot. Don’t forget to leave about a quarter of an inch or so of empty space in between the surface of the soil and rim of the pot to ensure proper growth. Press the mixture slightly to eliminate stubborn air pockets. Drench the mixture thoroughly with water so it’s ready to provide the right environment for seeds to germinate.
B. SOW. Drop at least 3 seeds into the pot. Cover them lightly with some soil at least 2-3 mm deep or just cover the seeds with the thickness not exceeding its diameter. Water the pot very lightly to ensure good seed–to-mix contact. (Take note: It takes 5-10 days before Sponge Gourd germinate)
C. SEAL & NURTURE. Leaving the pot completely open will allow too much heat as well as allowing moisture to escape, this may cause to fewer germination or no germination at all. To prevent this, look for a clear plastic kitchen wrap and spray it with some water. Be sure that the moist side of the plastic will sit above the soil. Go ahead and secure the plastic (moist side inside) with a rubber band, acting as the pot’s lid. This will help to retain the moisture that the seeds need to germinate properly. Twice daily, remove the wrap and sprinkle the pot with some water especially when it’s hot.
2. GERMINATION & VEGETATION
A. TIME TO UNVEIL THEM. Remove the plastic wrap when the sprouts start to emerge (around 5-10 days after step 1). When you see the first green tendrils (tiny stems) push up through the soil, you can then remove the wrap. Germination is over, now the second stage starts. It’s called vegetative stage. In this stage leaves will form and it will gradually grow. You need to keep the soil moist to aid the growing plant. You may water it very lightly at least two times daily preferably in the morning and late afternoon to maintain its moisture.
B. THINNING. Thin seedlings after they get their second sets of leaves. Pull out the weakest seedlings (Note: perform thinning after the emergence of the true leaves- 4th leaf), for the strongest, healthiest plants you'll want just one seedling per pot. Discard the plucked out seedlings or you can try to transplant them into different pots, but you risk damaging the roots of the plant, which can adversely affect its rate of survival.
3. HYDRATION, SUN EXPOSURE & FERTILIZATION
A. HYDRATION & SUN EXPOSURE Sponge Gourd seedlings need consistent light and watering during/after germination and early emergence to keep the growing environment consistently moist throughout the growing season. Sponge gourd does best in a well drained soil, and should not be subjected to standing water. (Check by sticking your finger into the soil. If it feels dry an inch beneath the surface, it’s time to water.) Consider tray-watering the sponge gourd. Place a tray or saucer of water beneath the pot and allow water to travel into the soil from underneath. By watering from the bottom up, you may have more in success in preventing root rot & fungal diseases. Remember to keep the soil damp but not soaked.
sponge gourd love the sun! It is ideal to place your sponge gourd (especially when they are about 3-5 inches tall) in a spot with full sun exposure.
B. FERTILIZATION. That frequent watering tends to wash out nutrients from the pot’s soil, so you will need to replenish them with fertilizer. Start fertilization 14-21 days after transplant (thinning the seedlings) or until it reaches 6-8 inches in height. Sprinkle at least 5-10 pcs of DURABLOOM Pellets to the soil for its nutrient requirements. You can crush the pellets and sprinkle it around (not directly) the hot pepper for faster absorption. (Note: not a single bit of nutrient will ever reach the plant system if not carried out by water) it is a must that you water the pot after fertilizer application or apply it before you do your watering. Do this thrice a month. You can also enhance the sponge gourd’s development by giving it direct nutrients, dilute ½ teaspoon of DURABLOOM Foliar in 2Litres of water and spray it to the leaves of the plant. This will boost root development and ensure that the plant will utilize all nutrients available in the potting media. You can do this once a week.
4. TRANSPLANTING & HARVESTING
A. TRANSPLANTING. When the plant reaches at least 6 inches, it’s now time to transfer it to its new pot. This is VERY important to allow its roots to fully develop. Transfer the plant either to a bigger pot that’s twice the size of your organic coconut pots or plant it in any available open space in your backyard or garden. When transplanting, you don’t have to remove the plant from its organic coconut pot. You can just put the plant with the coconut pot into its new pot / place and fill the empty spaces with soil. Don’t forget to water and fertilize to ensure continuous growth and flowering.
B. LET IT CLIMB OR CRAWL. Start putting up the trellis two weeks after emergence of your sponge gourd plant. Best if you don’t delay trellising because they grow fast. Using bamboo/Ipil-ipil, kakawati or any other poles erect the trellis at least 2 meters in height. Your trellis doesn’t have to be complicated you just want to provide something for vines to creep in. You can also just let the vines crawl on the ground but do expect higher instances of fruit rotting and oddly shaped gourds.
C. HARVESTING. 45 days after transplant it will start to flower and 60 to 70 days you can start your harvest. Fully developed fruits are thick green & Juicy. Harvest frequently with an interval of 2-4 days since sponge gourd ripens easily. It is best to harvest fruit early in the morning.