Organic Kitchen Gardening and my personal musings

This blog is about my experiments with Organic Kitchen Gardening and sometimes about other personal experiences of my life… Please leave a comment about anything that touched you. Comments help to keep the blogger motivated to keep blogging :)

Growing veggie creepers December 21, 2009

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 3:27 pm

Creepers bring this enveloping greenery which makes them endearing to every one in an instant. And if they also bear your favourite veggies, then what more can a kitchen gardener ask for?

Over the last 8 month’s i have grown Cucumber, Bitter Gourd, Indian Spinach, and now Bottle Gourd and Pumpkin (all creepers). Each one of them has left a deep impression on me and am surely going to grow them again in future.

The first creeper i grew was cucumber about which i have writtern earlier here.

The next one i planted was Indian Spinach (a perennial) some 5-6 month’s back (bought from Lalbagh for just Rs. 10/-). It continues to give me good yield till date. It’s a very important part of many Oriya and Bengali fish dishes and very difficult to get in the local market here.

Next i tried growing bitter gourd in containers, which too continues yielding till date but only in average numbers. But then i am also using it’s leafs for juice occasionally.
bitter gourd

And now i am trying to grow bottle gourd and pumpkin.

I had sowed bottle gourd around 20th of Oct. So, it’s been close to 2 month’s now. Sowing of most these creepers can normally be done in the container or soil directly and do not need seed starting and transplantation. One thing i observe with these creepers is they take quite a bit of time from the sowing stage to the 4-8 leaf stage but then they just take off from there and most of the time there is no looking back.

pumpkin seedlings
In my mother tounge oriya, the creepers like cucumber and bottle gourd are even called as ‘Rakhas(demon) fala’. Probably to convey the meaning that they yield in huge numbers. Of course, i can vouch for it after seeing the way my cucumber plants yielded. Some 3-4 cucumber plants yielded roughly 50+ cucumbers. I sure hope for the same or even better from my bottle gourd. Pumpkin out of all these creepers will be little tricky to grow in a small place like i have. But i want to harvest it’s leafs and flowers. They taste much better than the Pumpkin itself 🙂

There are some distinct patterns that i obeserve with these creepers. For example all these creepers except indian spinach, flower in a typical way. They have distinct male and female flowers. Male flower don’t yield and just fall off after few days while in female flowers the miniature veggie is there just behind the flower bud (probably a known phenomenon). But also what i find more interesting is almost always the male flower comes first in these plants in huge numbers before the first female flowers finally appears. But After the first female flower, there is a flurry of female flowers and the veggie accopanying it. So, as a gardener i always keep waiting for the first female flower to appear.

bottle gourd male flower

female bottle gourd flower bud

Also one more typical behaviour of these creepers is their veggies grow in no time and in matter of few days are ready for harvest. That’s very unlike lot of other veggies like say Capsicum which takes lot of time to become harvest ready.

While growing creepers, preparation of trellis needs special attention. Vines of these creeprs grow on the trellis is required for the vines to grow. Trellis can be made in various ways. Probably the most important point to be kept under consideration while preparing the trellis is to estimate the combined weight of the plant and it’s fruits. For example the trellis for my bitter gourd was just few string tied on to few nails on the wall. Bitter gourd plant and it’s veggies are very lightweight, hence the string did just fine. Whereas the cucumbers, bottle gourd and pumpkin require much strong trellis. Where as if you look at the trellis supporting the Indian Spinach it’s little thicker strings which are again tied on to nails on the wall. If you have a balcony and want to grow creepers, then probably there is no better place. The fun part of growing creepers is to train the vines on to the trellis. This requires very close observation of the plant at the growth stage on a day to day basis.
trellis prepared for bottle gourd

Just in case you are wondering where to get those small pieces of bamboo sticks for making your trellis, there is one shop very near to silk board just after the Total mall. I got 12 pieces of those 3 ft bamboo sticks for Rs 60/-.


13 Responses to “Growing veggie creepers”

  1. K. Meena Says:

    Hi Raj:

    I am K.Meena . I have read your blog entries and find them very interesting. For a a novice like me , who has just started organic gardening in the terrace, your experiences are very useful. I too started with Indian spinach, a great favourite of mine, and I am delighted to see it growing fast. I have also started with cucumber a month back and I have small plants, just as you have described. Hopefully, I should have similar experiences as yours!
    Could you share the fertilizer regime you followed for cucumber? I have the mix as soil/cocoa peat + vermi compost in 1:1 ratio and would like to know when to administer which kind of organic fertilizer.

    Thanks and Regards
    Meena K

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Meena K,

      Nice to know that you find my blog interesting 🙂 Actually am also learning gardening. Doing it for the last 8 months or so. For my cucmber plant I just used vermi compost/plain compost. Once in a fortnight i just use to losen the soil around the plant and add a handful or two of vermi-compost. Very recently i have also started using neem cake/mustard cake and panchagavya as you can see from my last post here
      Best wishes for your cucumber plants, wish they too would yield like mine 🙂

      • K. Meena Says:

        Hi Raj:

        Thanks for your response. I am in touch with Saikiran, whom you have referred to in your earlier blog entry, to buy Panchagavya. For gourd plants, I would like to know if you did foliar spray with Panchagavya or apply it on roots.

        Meena K

  2. Hi Raj,

    Loved your blog. I admire your gardening skills. I dont have enough space to grow anything, and even the indoor plants that i get dont seem to survive 😦 guess i would have to be happy by looking at ur garden.


    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Preethi,

      Thanks for such generous praise. You know, sometimes i feel, plants are just like kids or you can say pets which are under our care. Just like we have to understand the needs of kids/pets to take good care of them, same is with plants. They have few basic needs and then there is lot of literature on the net about that. When we start putting effort in understanding those needs and start fulfilling it for our plants they start blooming under our care. So, never lose heart and keep trying. I am just learning/doing it since last 8 months 🙂 Wish you good luck.

  3. rajapanda Says:

    Hi Meena,

    You are most welcome 🙂 Mostly am doing foliar spray for all my plantsexcpet the papaya for which am applying it to the root too, because i think the papaya’s are showing li’l stunted growth.

    Happy Gardening

  4. […] } In my earlier post on 21st Dec i had written about the bottle gourd plant that’s growing in my kitchen garden. I […]

  5. Asha Says:

    Hi Raja,

    Nice to read your postings. And a lovely garden you have!

    I have a small terrace garden on which I grow vegetables and flowers. Well, most of the times, I am in an experimental mode with vegetables! 🙂

    This is my blog site: Do stop by.

    Thanks and regards,

  6. loved ur blog.Inspired by your blog,even i hav started my own blog in is

    I just had a fruit of sambar cucumber.Being a novice in gardening(only a month or 2 old),am loving it already.

    Keep up the good work raj.

  7. Rekha Says:

    Nice Blog…
    We are growing Bottle gourd in pots in the balcony. But the yield is very less. There are plenty of flowers but only one fruit that is growing big. The other fruits just seem to wilt.
    We do have enough sunlight in the balcony and water the plants everyday. Wanted to check if you know of any organic fertilizer to increase the yoeld. Already tried neem cake and a sort of panchagavya.

  8. Sundaramoorthy Pandranki Says:

    Wonderful experience shared.Some of the tips Will be useful when i make my balcony garden over next days.Thanks

  9. Gobi Ravunni Says:

    I have a creeper plant in my Roof Top garden. The the seeds are in black colour & it flowers in dark vailet on color. I have idea what is the plant. I have taken the photos & forward the same. Can anybody find out what the plant? And also it can be consumed?

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