Growing and Saving Seed Of Snake Bean (Snake Gourd)
Latin name Trichosanthes cucumerina is also called Snake Gourd. This unusual and delicious gourd relative is referred to and used as a bean in its native China, and it is very popular in India. Its fruit tastes much like green beans, except even more delicious and tender.
Native wild gourd found in South and Southeast Asia.
- Culinary. Young fruit can be used like green beans. The red pulp of mature beans can be used like tomato paste.
- Trichosanthes cucumerina is notoriously slow and spotty in germinating.
- Some growers will gently crack the outer seed coating and soak seeds in warm water for 2-12 hrs before planting.
- Sow seeds in a humid, warm environment.
- Some growers will sow seeds into pots, water and cover in plastic wrap until germinated (about 10 days). Others use a heat mat to warm soil and keep in a warm, sunny area.
- Once the snake bean has germinated, it is a quick-to-grow annual vine. It will need a trellis or fence to grow up and the flowers will only form fruit when there are warm nights, so be sure to grow this 55-65 day crop in the hottest part of your growing season!
- Harvest when fruit are small or medium in size, no longer than 24 inches long.
- There are no known pests that bother this plant
- However, warm nights are essential for fruit formation, so those in cooler summer climates may struggle to get fruit to form!
- Likely, your snake bean will not cross with other lageneria (gourd genus members as it is unique in its species) but to be entirely certain, snake bean should be grown at 1 mile isolation from other gourds to avoid cross pollination.
- Otherwise, caging and hand pollination is required for seed saving.
- Seeds are ready to save when the coating has become quite hard and cannot be dented with a thumbnail.
- Keep seeds in a cool, dry, dark location.
- Also remember that snake gourd has a low germination rate!