Nature has given mankind many vegetable crops and some of them are very unusual. What kind of plant momordika, whether it is possible to use fruits and whether they are useful - is of interest to many, because the fruits are becoming more popular and they can be grown even at home.
What does the Momordica look like?
This is an annual climbing plant that belongs to the Pumpkin family. There are also other names for momordica: bitter gourd or cucumber. In some cases, the word "Chinese" is added. Since ancient times, the curative properties of momordica, used in folk medicine, are known. The main characteristics of this plant include:
- Homeland is Asia, but it is grown in other areas with a warm climate.
- Finding out that the plant is a momordica, it should be noted that it is a lianas, the length of which often reaches 4 m. The stem has five faces, longitudinal grooves and antennae. The leaves are green and large, and the flowers are yellow and have five petals.
- Initially, the fruits are green, and at the time of maturation they become yellow or orange. They can have different shapes: oval, fusiform and cylindrical. In length they reach 8-40 cm. The surface is covered with papillate projections. Reaching the peak of their ripening, the fruits unfold and expose the red seeds. The fruits are delicious when green.
How grows momordika?
Grow this plant as a beautiful one-year-old vine, which also has healing properties. Indian cucumber mommordika can be grown on a balcony, in a room, a greenhouse and on the open ground. For normal growth and abundant fruiting, the plant needs warmth and light. Better grows momordika in places where it is protected from the midday sun and gusts of wind.
Momordica - varieties
There are several varieties known and the main ones are:
- Momordika Charantia. In this species the stems are coarse and pubescent, and the leaves have 5 or 7 blades. The length of yellow cucumbers of momordica reaches 25 cm.
- Momordica is balsamic. It is a long vine that has large leaves with notches. Fruits of orange color of round form with a warty surface. After ripening, they explode, throwing out a lot of sticky seeds.
- Momordica Cochin. The distinctive features include the division of leaves into three parts, fruits of elliptical shape up to 12 cm long and red. Seeds are large and smell bad.
Momordica - good and bad
Bitter cucumbers have a wide range of nutrients. In folk recipes, seeds, leaves and roots are used. Finding out what kind of plant momordika, it is worth paying attention and possible contraindications to the use of fruits. You can not eat such cucumbers pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under 16, with allergies and inflammatory processes. We now turn to the useful properties of Momordica:
- Strengthen the secretory function of the pancreas, increasing the production of insulin, which is useful for diabetics.
- Helps fight against bacteria and viruses, strengthening the protective functions of the body.
- It improves metabolic processes and cleanses the body of harmful substances.
- Improves vision and the process of hematopoiesis. With regular use, you can clean the vessels of cholesterol.
- Positively affects the activity of the gastrointestinal tract and urogenital system.
How to plant a Momordica?
Reproduction can be carried out by cuttings, placing shoots in the water until the roots appear. The air temperature should be at least 25 ° C. You can use for planting the dark seeds that are sown in early April. Information on what a momordica plant is and how to grow it from seeds includes the following instruction:
- Sand the tips of the seeds with a file, which will allow them to open up more quickly. After soak them in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection for several hours.
- Put them in wet sawdust or paper and put in a warm place, making sure that nothing has dried up. Somewhere in 12 days should appear white roots.
- For planting Momordica, use peat pots filled with three parts of humus and part of turf. It is important that the soil is warmed up. Insert the seeds with a rib for 1-2 cm, sprinkling lightly with sand.
- Pour warm water, cover with glass or film. The watering is repeated after 2 days.
- When the shoots appear, remove the glass and place the container on the window sill. Transplant seedlings are necessary when they reach 25 cm. In mid-May, it is necessary to harden.
Momordika - growing
Prepared seedlings or cuttings should be planted in the soil in late May or early June, when the warm weather has settled. Consider some important tips for growing a Momordica:
- The plant does not like thickened planting and shadow, if you do not take it into account, then the fruits will be small and begin to crumble to maturity. The minimum distance is 80 cm.
- Do not land on too wet areas, otherwise the roots will rot. Cuttings or seedlings do not need to be too deep into the ground, otherwise the momordica will develop badly.
- Adult plants need a support or trellis . Like other vines, a vertical garter is recommended.
Cucumber Momordica - care
To get large fruits, you need to monitor the state of the creeper. Experienced gardeners, telling what kind of plants momordika and how to properly care for it, give such advice:
- It loves moisture, so it is important to ensure frequent watering, using warm water for this. In addition, regularly spraying lianas.
- Momordica, growing and caring for which is simple, grows rapidly, so every two weeks, apply fertilizer. It is better to use the infusion of mullein .
- It is necessary to thin the crown, removing the side shoots. The plant should not have more than three main stems.
- Harvesting begins two weeks after the appearance of the fruit.