Ampalaya plant, resistant to pests
The Ampalaya plant, which is an attractive arbor cover or trellis, is relatively resistant to pests, and grows fast. In Florida, wild varieties grow by more than four months in summer through autumn. When temperatures remain high, wild plants usually flower and fruit throughout the year.
Ampalaya is supposed to have been introduced in the New World with the slave trade from Africa to Brazil, according to a publication of Economic Botany at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx of New York. The elimination of forms of domestic or wild birds may explain their diffusion in different continents.
Variety Name – DAP* – Remarks
Sta. Rita strains – 70-75 – OP
Makiling – 65-70 -OP
Sta. Isabel – 70-75 – OP
Jade star (A, L, XL) – 60-70 – F1 hybrids
Mayon – 65-70 – F1 hybrids
Million Green – 65-75 – F1 hybrids
Galaxy – 65-75 – F1 hybrids
* Days after planting
Climatic and Soil Requirement
Ampalaya thrives well in all climates but high yield can be obtained during the colder months due to larger flowers and fruits. It grows in the lower zone, at any time of year. The crops that grow well in any soil with pH 5.5-6.5. Higher yield is only achieved on sandy loam soil. Soil analysis is required for commercial planting.
Good soil preparation is very important in growing Ampalaya. The field must be well prepared, plowed and harrowed twice to remove weeds and other plant debris in the area. The grooves are then made 3 meters away from each other. Organic fertilizer applied at a dosage of 5 tons per hectare for land preparation, one week before planting.
Advanced is the technology in the Philippines for ampalaya production because they use plastic mulch to cover the beds. The planting holes were drilled in the blade of the plastic base on the distance of planting. It offers many advantages, weeds, conserve soil moisture, prevent soil erosion and leaching of fertilizers and to reflect light that acts as an insect repellent hidden under leaves.
To use the plastic mulch, spread it over on planting beds, with edges pulled down by thin bamboo slats, staple into the soil of 20 cm. Drill holes at 50 cm between plants in rows 3 meters between rows.