Scientific name: Benincasa hispida. Name in different languages:- English: ash gourd, waxgourd. Japanese: togwa. Nepali: Kubindo. Spanish: calabaza blanca. Sanskrit: Karkaru, Brihatphala, Ghrinavasa, Gramyakarkati. Hindi: petha पेठा. Pethakaddu पेठाकद्दू . Assamese: Komora. Bengali: Chalkumra. Marathi: कोहळा Kohla. Telugu:Boodida Gummadikaaya. Tamil: Neer Poosanikai. Kannada: Boodu Gumbala, Budekumbalakayi. Malayalam: കുമ്പളങ്ങ Kumbalanga, Kumbalam, Elavan, Neyakumbalam.
Ash gourd is a highly common vegetable. Apart from that it is a good medicine for diabetics also. Taking ash gourd with bael leaf daily can control diabetes. It can cure urinary tract disorders and also enhance intelligence. It is also used as a cosmetic. Rubbing thin slices of ash gourd on face can remove dark spots on the skin. Taking in the juice made from it and carrot can rectify hair fall. Even though the native variety of it is big, other varieties like CO-1, CO-2, are also cultivated which has different characteristics.
Ash gourd needs a place in all house compounds, being a vegetable as well as a medicinal herb. It is propagated through seeds. A pit is made half a meter deep and filled with powdered cow dung and top soil. The seeds are soaked in water for at least 6 hours prior to sowing. Up to 3 seeds are sown in one pit and the healthy sapling is retained. Once the ash gourd vine starts to grow, vermiform compost should be added every 2 weeks to attain optimum growth. Watering and de weeding is done at regular intervals. Once the flowers appear, watering is a must.
At this stage the plants should be protected from mites and beetles. The affected parts may be plucked and dumped in the soil. The tender fruits of ash gourd must be protected from mites by wrapping in a plastic cover with sufficient provision for passage of air. Small beetles should be removed and destroyed and never use chemical fertilizers.