Since we will be practicing organic vegetable gardening, I advice that you keep a supply of organic fertilizer made from your own compost bin. You must apply compost after tilling to give your soil nutrients that your plants need in order to grow well, also make sure that your garden has enough sunlight because our bitter gourd wants a lot of sunlight.
Next thing you need to acquire is the good quality seeds. You can go to your nearest agriculture store or supermarket to purchase the seeds that you need, different varieties have their own advantage and disadvantage. In my case, I choose hybrid seeds that are pest and disease resistant and give me harvest that are in demand in the market so I will earn easy cash by selling bitter gourd in marketplace. Since we are living in internet age you can easily choose and buy bitter melon seeds online.
If you already purchased the seeds then its time to germinate them, don’t be nervous and just soak them in water for 24 to 48 hours until the coat becomes soft, when this happens put them in container of directly plant them in your plowed soil. Be patiently wait for six to seven days until the little cute seedlings start to emerge, this will be the critical time in planting because they are prone in being crushed to pieces by your pet dogs; if you have one.
If you do the transplanting method (plant the seeds first in containers and transfer the seedlings later in the soil when they are already ready) then you must carefully remove the bitter gourd seedlings in the containers and gently plant them directly in the soil, do the transplanting late afternoon so you will spare the little bitter melon seedlings from direct sunlight in noon, this will reduce mortality rate. After transplanting give them water after transplanting.
Remember that you must create a proper drainage in your planting area to avoid fungal infections on the roots of your plants which is caused by too much moisture in the soil, too much watering is not recommended and excessive application of organic fertilizer is not a good idea. Too much is not good so always do it moderately or if you really needed to do it.
Water your bitter gourd when the soil is dry, you can do this every morning or in the afternoon, remember that you must not over water the plants. When your bitter gourd is big enough you must train the vines to cling on the trellises, tie them if necessary. The fruits of bitter gourd will be straight when they are hanging and they are safe from any harmful things on the ground. Watch out for pest like fruit flies because they will give you nasty damage if they left out uncontrolled.
When harvest time comes it is the most exciting period in growing your own organic vegetables, the recommended time to harvest bitter gourd is in the morning and afternoon so you will not punish yourself under the sun. Harvest them before they turn yellow, yellow bitter gourd is not edible because its not delicious. Newly harvested bitter melons are the best, there are many ways to remove their bitterness and make them delicious, common way of removing the bitter taste is by soaking them in the water for a while before cooking. I love it when they are cooked with beef broccoli.