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60 to 70 Days to maturity. Momordica charantia. Japanese Bitter Long Gourd Seeds Heirloom Seeds. Annual, Non-GMO. The bitter long gourd, a Japanese variety, is unique in appearance, having green, heavily warted skin. The fruit is crisp in texture and tender. It is best tasting when harvested young. It grows in a climbing vine, so in most cases a trellis is needed. The vine can be 12 feet in length, and has yellow flowers. A humid and warm climate is the best for this long gourd. Bitter gourd is also called bitter melon, karalla and balsam pear, or by its traditional Japanese name, Goya. Approx. 140 seeds / oz.
Fertile, well drained soil is best. Germinate the seeds by first soaking in warm water for about 24 hours, then fold inside a wet paper towel and keep moist until they sprout. Plant immediately, directly in the garden in a tropical climate, or started as seedlings for transplant. Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep. Warm temperatures and high humidity are ideal for this plant. Cold and wet conditions will cause germination to fail, and slow the growth. The vines grow up to 12 feet, and a trellis is the best way to manage this, and train the vines to grow out for the best air circulation.
Harvesting Japanese Bitter Long Gourd
While the plant is fully mature at 60 to 70 days, it's best to harvest the bitter melon, or goya, early while still green and tender, at about one foot long (10-13").
When harvested at the correct time, while still young and green, the goya fruit is prepared by slicing it lengthwise, then removing the rind and inner seeds. Once this is complete, boil the fruit in salted water for about 5-10 miutes. A traditional Japanese dish is called the goya champuru, which is a basic stir-fry with this fruit, eggs, and tofu. It's also served in soups, and salads.
In the plant's native areas, fruit flies are a major pest for the Japanese Bitter Long Gourd, or Goya. In other places, cucumber beetles and squash vine borers can pose problems. Diseases can include Alternaria leaf blight, downy mildew, and verticillium wilt. Planting in warmer temperatures and watering at ground level can be preventative.
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