Superphysics Superphysics

Vegetable Crops

by PR Sarkar Icon
5 minutes  • 1002 words
Table of contents

Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals.

People can be healthy without eating rice or bread, but they cannot remain healthy if they go without vegetables.

In the emergency food programme the 4 items are:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Potatoes
  3. Pulses
  4. Animal fodder for milk producing animals.

Potatoes contain carbohydrate, and in an emergency can be eaten as a substitute for cereals.

Vegetables have a variety of uses. They can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, pickled, etc. Vegetables such as sweet potato or sugar beet can be used for producing sugar.

Others such as lady’s finger can be used for producing clothing fibre; and still others such as radish, lady’s finger, etc. can be used for producing oil.

Creeping Vegetables

The best organic fertilizer for creeping vegetables is animal compost, and the cheapest animal compost is cow dung. It should be dried and used after it is 3 months old, otherwise insects will breed in it.

Fish meal is a good fertilizer for growing gourd.

Creeping vegetables include:

  • bottle gourd (láu). The varieties include;
  • ghat́i láu
  • round bottle gourd (gol láu)
  • club bottle gourd (gadá láu)
  • long bottle gourd (lambá láu)
  • pumpkin (kumŕá)
  • cucumber (shashá)
  • bitter gourd (karela)
  • wax gourd (pat́ol)
    • peŕa pat́ol
    • indigenous wax gourd (deshi pat́ol)
    • d́holak pat́ol
    • whitish gourd (pashchimá pat́ol)
  • greenish gourd

Junior creepers like cucumber, bitter gourd, small bitter gourd (ucchey), etc. bear fruit within 25 days, while senior creepers like lal kumŕá and sachi kumŕá (two varieties of pumpkin) bear fruit within 40 days. Pumpkin, cucumber and watermelon seeds may be used as an alternative to nuts.

Cucumber and watermelon seeds have little value as oil seeds. The white portion inside the skin of the watermelon may be used as a substitute for flour or maize, but it too has very little food value.

Bottle Gourd (Láu)

Bottle gourd is an all-season creeping vegetable.

The varieties include:

  • ghat́i láu
  • round bottle gourd (gol láu)
  • club bottle gourd (gadá láu)
  • long bottle gourd (lambá láu)

Intermittent plants such as wax gourd should be grown between two bottle gourd plants.

Wax Gourd

The wax gourd cuttings should be planted in Aśádha, Shravańa, Bhadra and Áshvina, but some special varieties should be planted from Aśádha to Mágha.

Wax gourd is an all-season creeping vegetable. Bottle gourd must be grown with a platform from Ashvin to Mágha. Creeping vegetables planted in Aśádha usually give fruit by the 15th of Shrávańa, those planted in Bhadra give fruit from Ashvin to Mágha, while those planted in Mágha give fruit by the 15 Phalgan to the first week of Aśádha.

Long bottle gourd is very tasty, but ghoti láu is the most productive. All varieties of bottle gourd are good for the stomach and can be taken by those suffering from stomach problems or constipation.

Pumpkin (Kumŕá)

Pumpkin is known by the botanical name “pumpkin indica”.

Language Name
Bihar kaura
Bengali chál kumŕá, murraba (sweet pumpkin)
Ranchi ralekha kumŕá
Calcutta sachi kumŕá
Hindi petha (both fruit and seeds)
Muslims chum kumŕá

Most varieties of pumpkin have little food value.


  • aids digestion
  • is good for the kidneys
  • neutralises intoxication.

If pumpkin is prepared with mustard seeds, its food value will be utilized to the maximum.

Many preparations, such as bhaji, charchari, pumpkin flour and basin pakora, can be prepared from pumpkin.

The pumpkin flower can also be eaten. Pumpkin seeds can be cooked and taken as a snack, eaten with puffed rice (moori), safflower (kusum) seeds, etc.

There are 3 edible parts of the pumpkin:

  1. The pulp, which has little food value
  2. The skin, which has more food value than the pulp
  3. The seeds, which are very nutritious

There are marny varieties of pumpkin.

  • Ghumo kumŕá is large
  • Chachi or chal kumŕá is small

There are 3 seasonal varieties of chal kumŕá:

  • summer season, which is grown on the ground;
  • rainy season, which is grown on a platform; and
  • winter season, which is also grown on the ground.

The farmers of Shewra Phuli cut a small hole the size of a hand in the side of each pumpkin at a particular stage of maturity after the seeds have formed, and scoop out all the seeds.

The piece of pumpkin that was cut out is then replaced. Through this process the size of the fruit becomes very large, and ghumo kumŕá will become even larger.

Information on the exact stage at which this process is to be done should be gathered from the farmers. Good pumpkin seeds can also be acquired from Shewra Phuli.

Pumpkin is a 3 month crop.

The plant grows for up to 40 days, and after 40-45 days it stops growing and starts bearing fruit.

So, pumpkin starts bearing fruit after 1.5 months and continues to do so for the next 1.5 months. The fruit matures fully after the plant dries up.

Research should be done to see if it is possible to cultivate pumpkin from cuttings, like wax gourd.

If this research is successful, it will signify a new development in agriculture. But such research should be done very carefully, because unlike wax gourd cuttings, pumpkin plants are very watery.

Cucumber (Shashá)

Cucumber is an all-season vegetable which should be grown in sandy alluvial soil.

It will not grow well in clay soil.

Cucumber is grown successfully in Hoogly and Nadia districts. There are two varieties of cucumber according to the season:

  • summer season
  • rainy season

Cucumber is related to the melon group, particularly watermelon and musk melon. Their agricultural needs and growing habits are very similar. Water melon and cucumber can grow in sand, but they need alluvial soil for sprouting.

All-season cucumber (baramasiya) is grown in Faridpur in Bangladesh. Cucumber is also similar to lady’s finger.

The white portion of musk melon and cucumber can be made into flour. In cucumber, the entire pulp is white.

Cucumber seeds can produce oil, but not on a commercial basis. They may also be eaten, but have very little food value.

The dried seeds are mixed with cháná chura, a popular Indian snack.