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Wax Gourd


Introduction of Wax Gourd


            Scientific name - Benincasa hispida


Wax gourd also known as white gourd is commonly identified with the name winter melon. It is a plant grown mainly for its large fruit, as it gets mature they are consumed as a vegetable. Nebulous when young, the fruit has a chunky white flesh which is sweet to taste. The best part about wax gourd is that it provides a long shelf life and by ripeness, the fruit loses its hair and develops a waxy coat, thereby giving rise to the name wax gourd. Even though the fruit is referred to as a “melon”, the fully grown crop is not that sweet to taste and as a matter of fact the melon may grow as large as 80 cm in length.


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Nutritional Value of Wax Gourd


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 54 kJ (13 kcal)
Carbohydrates 3 g
Dietary fiber 2.9 g
Fat 0.2 g
Protein 0.4 g
Vitamins
Thiamine (B1) (3%) 0.04 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (9%) 0.11 mg
Niacin (B3) (3%) 0.4 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (3%) 0.133 mg
Vitamin B6 (3%) 0.035 mg
Vitamin C (16%) 13 mg
Trace metals
Calcium (2%) 19 mg
Iron (3%) 0.4 mg
Magnesium (3%) 10 mg
Manganese (3%) 0.058 mg
Phosphorus (3%) 19 mg
Sodium (7%) 111 mg
Zinc (6%) 0.61 mg


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Health Benefits of Wax Gourd


Alkaline in nature, it is used as a brain food to treat nervous disorders like epilepsy, paranoia, and insanity. In addition, it also treats mental illness. Seeing that, they have alkaline temperament and so has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids, with that said they are used to treat digestive sicknesses like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. Effective in the treatment of diabetes, the juice of ash gourd is a great home remedy for peptic ulcers. Spaced out from treating the above said ailments, they also help in treating respiratory disorders like asthma, blood-related diseases, and urinary diseases like kidney stones. Every single part of the fruit is considered useful and is used in treating several disorders. Leaves of the gourd are simply rubbed on bruises which are proved effective, seeds are used to eject out intestinal worms. The ash made by burning the rind and seeds are mixed with coconut oil and applied on hair to promote hair growth and to treat dandruff.


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Cultivation details


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It takes up rich and well-drained soil together with ample amount of moisture in the growing season to thrive. Grows well in a warm and sunny position, established plants of wax gourd are quite drought tolerant. It can bear a pH in the range 5.8 to 6.8 and are best grown in a greenhouse, however it can grow well outdoors in good summers if started off in a greenhouse and planted out subsequent to the last expected frosts, given that they are very frost hardy. In order to do well, the plants require stable temperature, probably in excess of 25°c. The female flower development happens with short day lengths and lower temperatures; on the other hand, it takes up higher temperatures to stimulate male flower production. Though the fruits can be consumed they are immature, it takes up duration of 5 months from seed to produce a mature crop. With many named varieties, they are cultivated frequently for their edible fruit.

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Propagation


In a greenhouse, the seeds are sown in march/April; germination takes place within 3 weeks. When they grow up and become large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them fast in rich droppings in the greenhouse. For the seedlings first few weeks, it is suggested to maintain a minimum night temperature of at least 10°c. After the last expected frosts, they are planted out during the May/June.

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