Vegetable profile is very important for Cambodian farmers to plant crops in an appropriate way result in improving crop productivity and incomes. The farmers would know the needs and natural characteristics of each vegetable. The below vegetable profiles is compiled from different sources.  Chief content of the compiled document was extracted from these following sources:

1)      Eggplant

(Solanum melongena)

Description: Eggplant is an annual plant. The bushes grow 0.75 to 1.5 m tall with hairy grey-green leaves 10-20 cm long and 5 to 10 cm wide. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit contains numerous small, soft seeds. The fruit varies is size, shape and color.


 Maturity in days: 60-70

Uses: The immature fruit of eggplant is eaten when it is attractively colored and glossy, and the seeds are still immature. When mature, the fruit flesh is fibrous and bitter, and the seeds are hard. Most often the fruits are eaten grilled, fried or steamed, or stewed with other vegetables, meat or fish.

Health: Eggplant is also widely used for medical purposes. Various plant parts are used in decoction, as powder or ash for curing ailments such as diabetes, cholera, bronchitis, dysuria, dysentery, otitis, toothaches, skin infection, asthenia and haemorrhoids. Eggplant is used for improving female fertility.

Climate: Temperatures should remain above 20°C. Full sun is a must.

Soil: Eggplants are heavy feeders should be planted in heavily composted soil with lots of manure, if available. Side dress frequently, especially when the plant begins to bloom. Eggplant is fairly drought tolerant and should not be overwatered as it is susceptible to root rot. Mulching around the plant will help maintain even moisture.

Water: Eggplant can be planted in both seasons (dry season and wet season), but it is difficult to plant eggplant in the wet season. Keep soil moisture and avoid water logging. Watering may be increased when blooms appear.

Propagation: From seeds. Seeds should be extracted from fully ripe fruits and should be dried for 48 hours, or longer if the conditions are not optimum. During the dry process exposure to direct sun must be avoided. Seed should be stored in dry and cold condition. The 1000-seed weight is about 4 g. Germination takes 8 to 10 days and requires a temperature of 16°C – 20°C.

Pest and disease: Pathogenic aerial fungi have been described on the eggplant. Sclerotium rolfsii (southern blight) causes progressive wilting of the foliage, and finally necrosis. Rhizoctonia solani and perithecial strains can invade stem bases, causing stem rot. In addition, eggplant is affected by soil borne diseases including Phomopsis vexams (stem and fruit pycnidial rot).

2)      Bottle Gourd

(Legenaria siceraria)

Bottle Gourd
Bottle Gourd

Description: Bottle gourd is a widely grown tropical vegetable. Coarse vine reaching a length of several meters. Leaves are rounded, 10 – 40 cm wide, slightly hairy on both sides, 5-angled or lobed. Flowers, white, large, solitary. Petals are ovate, 3 – 4 cm long. Calyx is green, mottled grey or white, usually club-shaped or ovoid. The flesh is white and spongy.

Maturity in days: 90

Uses: The immature fruits of bottle gourd can be cooked and used in the vegetable dishes. The young leaves or immature shoot may also be hand-picked and cooked. Mature bottle gourd fruits are variously shaped and have very hard skin. Bottle gourds have been used extensively as containers for holding and carrying water, and other substances.

Health: Fruit is a good source of iron, calcium, and phosphorus, vitamin B. Fruit is 6% sugar; the seeds contain a fixed oil and saponin. Young shoots and leaves used for enema. Pulp used as purgative adjunct; also used for coughs, and poison antidote. Poultice of pulp applied to the head in delirium; to the soles for burning feet. Oil from seed applied externally for headaches. Seeds also used as antihelminthic.

Climate: Bottle gourd requires full sun. The vegetables will grow to only half the size if it does not get sufficient sunlight.

Soil: Bottle gourds require well drained and sandy loam soils for its good cultivation. it cannot tolerate higher amounts of acidity, alkalinity or salinity. pH range is between 5 to 5.5 . When soil conditions are not optimum, then production of female flowers is greatly affected.

Water: Watering should be given in the morning, not in the noon or in the evening because it decays the root. Bottle gourd needs more and enough water during the flowing stage so that it provides more flowers and fruits. Root decay appears if there is too much water / water logging.

Propagation: The seeds are relatively easy to germinate, sow 2 cm deep outside in a warm sunny place. Provide plenty of sunshine, water and space as per standard squashes. It may be easier to sow indoors first and moved outdoors when both daytime and night time temperatures have risen.

Pest and disease: Major diseases of bottle gourd are anthracnose (Colletotrichum lagenarium) during the wet season and powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum and Spharotheca fuliginea) during the dry season. Sclerotium basal stem rot, fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lagenariae) may attack the crop. Cucurbit leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) are common pests. Blister beetles (Coryna apicicirnis) eat the flower petals.

3) Wax Gourd

(Benincasa Hispida)

Wax Gourd
Wax Gourd

Description: Wax gourd is a cultigens probably originating from Indo-China. It is not found in the wild and no related species are known.

Usually monoecious, annual herb climbing by 2-3 fid tendrils up to 35 cm long. Stem up to 5 m long, thick, terete, longitudeinally furrowed, whitish-green with scattered rough hairs. Flowers solitary in leaf axils, unisexual, regular, 5 merous, 6-12 cm in diameters.

Maturity in days: 60-100

Uses: Wax gourd is grown both for its immature and mature fruits. The immature fruits, called fuzzy melons, have a delicate taste and flavor and are prepared in the same way as summer squash. The ripe fruits have juicy greenish-white flesh with a flat taste. They are especially popular among people in Asian descent, but they are also liked by many Africans. The skin is peeled or scraped off, seeds and pith are removed, and the flesh is cooked in soups. The fruits are often stuffed with meat, shrimps and vegetables and then steamed in a pot. The firm flesh of the older fruits is also candied with sugar and can be dried for later use.

Health: The edible portion of wax gourd is about 70% of the total fruit weight. The nutritional composition of mature wax gourd fruit per 100 g edible portion is: water 96.1 g, energy 54 kJ (13 kcal), protein 0.4 g, fat 0.2 g, carbohydrate 3.0 g, dietary fiber 2.9 g, Ca 19 mg, etc.

Fruit extracts of wax gourd showed anti-ulcer activity. Fruit juice also showed significant activity against symptoms of morphine withdrawal.

Climate: Wax gourd is best suited for moderately dry areas. It is relatively drought tolerant. It grows well at the temperatures above 25 0C. The optimum temperature for growth ranging from 23 -280C. It is susceptible to cold temperature but can tolerate drought.

Soil: It is suited to tropical lowland conditions and elevation up to 1000 m altitude. It prefers a well-drained light soil with pH 6.0-7.0.

Water: Watering should be done in the morning, not in the noon and evening because root can be rot. Wax gourds need more water during the blossom.

Propagation: Both direct seeding and sowing in pots and transplanting is practiced if grown for immature fruits, whereas for the production of mature wax gourd fruits only direct sowing is practiced. Direct sowing is done in trenches or planting holes filled with manure or compost. When grown trellised for young fruits, plants are spaced at 50-70 cm in the row, with the rows 1.5-2.0 m apart of about 10,000 plants/ha, when grown for mature fruits and stems allowed to trail there are about 5000 plants/ha. In intensive growing systems for immature fruits, the seed requirement is 400-500 g/ha if transplanting is practices and 800-1000 g/ha for direct sowing. One gram contains 12-25 seeds.

Pest and disease: Wax gourd is moderately susceptible to anthracnose (Colletotichum logenarium) and gummy stem blight (Didymella bryoniae), for which no tolerance has been indentified yet. It is also moderately susceptible to fruit rot (Fusarium solani) and cavity rot (Verlicillium dahlia) but rather resistant to leaf fungi. Wax gourd is susceptible to water melon mosaic virus transmitted by aphids. Among the insect pests are squash bettle (Aulacophora foveicollis), aphids (Aphisgossypii) and fruit flies (Dacus spp.).

4) Sponge Gourd            

(Loofa acutangula) 

Sponge Gourd
Sponge Gourd

Description: Sponge gourd plant is a long vine that can grow to 10 m long. The leaves are 5 to 10 cm, the flowers are yellow and the sponge gourd can grow up to 30 cm long and 5-6 cm wide.

Uses: The immature fruits, leaves, flower buds, and immature seeds can be cooked and eaten in vegetable dishes. To obtain sponges, the mature fruits are dried and peeled, leaving the inner fibrous core for washing.

Health: The vegetable is high in dietary fiber.

Climate: Sponge Gourd is sub-tropical and prefers warm, dry sunny conditions.

Soil: Sponge Gourd grows best on the soil high in organic matter, well-drained soil, but fair yields can be obtained on sandy loam soil. Ideal pH range is 5.8-6.2.

Water: Water is given in the morning and the evening. The seedling of sponge gourd needs water to grow its root, stem and leaves. At the flowing stage, regular watering is important to get more flowers and fruits.

Propagation: From seed. It needs a warm humid environment; the seeds should start germinating within 5 to 10 days.

Pest and disease: Fruit rot easily in contact with wet soil. The larvae of fruit flies (Dacus spp.) may damage young fruits; a high infection of Thrips may cause stunted growth, and also caterpillars, leaf miners and aphids are reported as pests.

5) Ivy Gourd

(Coccinia grandis)

Ivy Gourd
Ivy Gourd

Ivy Gourd is a deciduous perennial vine with angularly heart-shaped leaves, white 5-lobed flowers and fruits that are 5 to 6 cm long and green but become red when overripe.

Uses: Generally, the leaves are cooked and eaten as vegetable. It is mixed with pork in soups. Ripe red fruit of sweet-tasting cultivars are eaten raw. Cativars with bitter fruits are mainly used for their leaves and shoots. Such shoots are eaten as a fried and boiled vegetable.

Health: The fruits, stems and leaves have medicinal uses such as to reduce high blood pressure and to treat abscesses. Roots are believed to heal illnesses associated with endocrine system disorders such as diabetes mellitus. Ivy gourd is rich in Vitamin C, which helps in strengthening your bones and improving your body structure. It also has plenty of Vitamin B1 and B2, as also trace quantities of Vitamin A. All these vitamins are vital for the human body, and help in strengthening your immune system, and thus keep away diseases.

Climate: Ivy Gourd grows in the tropical and subtropical regions so it grows best in warm humid climates.

Soil: The plant prefers sandy, loamy and clay soils and requires well-drained soil. It is also grown well on  acid, neutral and alkaline soils.

Water: Water lightly at 4-5 day interval during seedling and growing stage. Restrict the irrigation one week before flowering. The plants should be irrigated during hot weather and care should be taken to keep the root zone sufficiently moist.

Propagation: Ivy gourd is propagated by means of stem cutting 10 – 15 cm long and about 0.5 cm in diameter. Farmers prepare planting holes of 30 cm deep and 60 cm in diameter. Up to 20 kg of farmyard manure is added and mixed with soil and water. The cuttings are placed upright or at a slight angle to promote the development of side shoots. When planting is done during a dry spell, farmers should apply enough water and continue watering regularly.

Pest and disease: No major pests and diseases are known to affect this plant.

6) Chinese Radish

(Raphanus sativus)

Chinese Radish
Chinese Radish

 Description: There are many varieties of Chinese Radish. They all resemble a large carrot in shape but are all colored white. They can vary in size from 20 to 35 cm long and 5 to 10 cm in diameter. 

Uses: Chinese Radish is grown mainly for its thickened fleshy root. It can be eaten fresh and for adding color to dishes. The roots are thinly peeled, sliced and put into soups and sauces or cooked with meat. They can be preserved in salt.

Health: Chinese Radish is very low in food energy and high in vitamin C. Chinese Radish also contains active enzymes that aid digestion, particularly of starchy foods. Chinese Radish juice is used to cure kidney stone problems. Chinese Radish is also used to treat hepatic disorders, bronchitis and coughs.

Climate: Chinese Radish grows best in warm climates with occasional rain. It needs 2 to 3 months of high temperatures and good light and it does not grow well if temperatures fall below 10°C.

Soil: Light deep soil with plenty of organic matter.

Water: Chinese Radish can be grown very well if adequate water is provided. However, it needs different amount of water in different stages. The soil moisture should be stable that enable root to grow well. The watering should be done in the morning and in the evening.

Propagation: From seed. Sow 1 – 2 cm deep in rich soil and give it plenty of light and warmth. It will be ready to harvest in 2 – 3 months. The 1000-seed weight is about 10 g. Seed rates are 10-15 kg/ha for large radishes and 30-40 kg/ha for small ones. Seed is sown directly on prepared beds. Radish seeds take about 4 days to emerge at 20-30 oC.

Pest and disease: Common leaf diseases are Cercospora Leaf Spot (Cercospora brassicicola) and downy mildew (Peronospora parasitica). Among the insect pests are Diamond backmoth (Plutella xylostella), Black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon), and Flea Beetle (Phyllotreta striolata).

7) Bitter Gourd

(Momordica charantia)

Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd

Description: Bitter gourd is a tendril-bearing vine that grows to 5 m. It bears simple, alternate leaves 4-12 cm across, with 3-7 deeply separated lobes. Each plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. The fruit has a distinct warty looking exterior and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits, ripening to red. Bitter gourd comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Typical varieties grow 10 to 20 m long although miniature varieties only grow 6 to 10 cm long and some Chinese varieties can grow to 30 cm long. They are oblong with bluntly tapering ends and pale green in color, with a gently undulating, warty surface. Some varieties have a narrower shape with pointed ends, and a surface covered with jagged, triangular ‘teeth’ and ridges.

Uses: The seeds and pith of bitter gourd is intensely bitter and must be removed before cooking. The skin is tender and edible. The fruit is most often eaten green, it becomes more bitter as it ripens. It is de-seeded and salted for a few hours and then washed in preparation for cooking. It can be stuffed with a spicy filling and steam cooked.

Health: Bitter gourd is a blood purifier, activates spleen and liver and is highly beneficial in diabetes. It is a purgative, appetizer, digestive, anti-inflammatory and has healing capacity. It has been used in Aryuvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Climate: Grows best in warm tropical and sub-tropical climate.

Soil: Will grow in any type of soil but prefers light soil with plenty of organic matter.

Water: Regular watering with plenty of water is essential for its growth. Flowers will start appearing in 5-6 weeks and fruition will occur between two to four months. Mature fruits are ready to be picked within 3 months from planting and they will be light green and juicy with white flesh but bitter. Pick the fruits every 2-3 days when they are still at the tender stage. Regular picking is important as fruits will become more bitter as they mature and it can also hamper the growth of new fruits.

Propagation: From seed. Sow 2 – 3 cm deep outside in a warm sunny place. Provide plenty of sunshine, water and space as per other gourds. It may be easier to sow indoors first and moved outdoors when both daytime and night time temperatures have risen.

Pest and disease: Vines should be pruned at the tips when female flowers start developing to encourage branching and fast bearing. Regular fertilizing is essential for its growth. Water immediately after applying fertilizers. Bitter gourd is susceptible to many diseases and insect pests. It is susceptible to watermelon mosaic virus, other cucurbit viruses and powdery mildew, which can be controlled by sulfur dust. Rust disease is controlled by spraying foliage with oxycarboxin. The fruits are subject to attack by various fruit flies and fruit rots. Pests attack on fruits can be prevented by wrapping fruits with newspapers, when they are about a few centimeters long.

8) Long Beans

(Vigna sesquipedalis)

Long Bean
Long Bean

Description: The plant climbs as a vine and is usually grown on trellis of 2 meter tall. The plant has large pale pink to violet-blue flowers. Long beans are generally between 35 and 75 centimeters long, depending on the variety, with each pod containing several edible seeds. This plant continues to grow after flowering and fruiting. Early varieties will produce flowers after 30 days. Long bean grows fast and at about 45 days after planting the first beans can be picked. 

Uses: Long bean is used as a green vegetable. The pods can be eaten fresh or cooked in a variety of dishes.

Health: These beans are rich in vitamin A and contain a fair amount of vitamin C. 34 kcal, 4.2 g protein, 110 mg calcium, 4.7 mg iron, 2.4 mg vitamin A, 35 mg vitamin C per 100 g serving.

Climate: Long Beans are mainly a warm-season crop and will survive extreme humidity and heat. It can be planted in a wide range of climatic conditions but is very sensitive to cold temperatures. Long beans are found in warm tropical and subtropical climates. They prefer temperature between 25 and 35ºC, but above 15ºC during the night.

Soil: Long bean grows in a variety of soils. It can even grow in poor soil, but then the yield will be lower. Long bean prefers pH between 5.5 and 7.5.

Water: Long bean requires a lot of water at regular intervals (2-3 times per week).

Propagation: Propagation is through direct seeding or transplanting. They prefer a light, well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter, such as compost or dried manure. Plant the seeds 3-5 cm deep in warm soil. Germination will take place within 6 to 10 days. Soak the seeds in water before sowing, for better germination. Transplants should be done in such a way as to avoid disturbance to the root system. The plants should be placed 60-90 cm in rows and the distance between rows should be 120-180 cm apart on raised beds or ridges. Dwarf growing forms can be planted much more densely.

Pest and disease: Fungal diseases, aphides, etc. 

9) Amaranth

(Amaranthus blitum)


Description: Annual herb, small and stunted to rather tall and erect, up to 100 cm tall; stem simple or branched, glabrous. Leaves arranged spirally, simple without stipules; petiole 1–10 cm long; lamina angular ovate, 1–10 cm × 0.5–6 cm, shortly cuneate at base, notched at apex, entire, glabrous, green or more or less purple, pinnately veined. Inflorescence an axillary many-flowered cluster, forming a false spike at apex of plant, with male and female flowers intermixed; bracts up to 1 mm long. Flowers unisexual, subsessile, with 3(–5) tepals up to 1.5 mm long; male flowers with 3 stamens opposite tepals; female flowers with superior, 1-celled ovary crowned by (2–)3 stigmas. Fruit a subglobular to broadly ovoid-ellipsoid capsule c. 2 mm long, indehiscent or bursting irregularly, crowned by stigmas, 1-seeded. Seed lenticular, up to 1.5 mm in diameter, glossy dark brown to black.

Uses: Leaves and tender stems are eaten fresh, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, as soup.

Health: Amaranth has many medicinal properties (diuretic, laxative, fever, anemia, wound dressing, and stomachache). Amaranth seeds have an excellent protein quality characterized by a high lysine content of 3-18% and are therefore increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers.

Climate: Amaranth can tolerate day temperatures up to 40 oC, while night temperatures should not be lower than 15 oC. Vegetable amaranths grow well at day temperatures above 25°C. Shade is disadvantageous except in cases of drought stress.

Soil: Amaranths like fertile, well-drained soils with a loose structure. The mineral uptake is very high. Amaranths are fairly resistant to adverse climate and soil conditions.

Water: Many amaranth cultivars are tolerant to drought and highly wet conditions, but sensitive to complete flooding. Although some amaranth species are relatively drought-tolerant, lack of water will lead to early flowering, a decrease in yield and market quality. Watering is very important after sowing or transplanting to ensure good stand. Watering is provided every 7 to 10 days. Drip irrigation is recommended in areas with limited water supply.

Propagation: The seed of Amaranthus blitum is about 1000 seeds/g. In the dark, the seed may remain dormant for several years. It germinates when it comes at the surface or in the upper soil layer of less than 3 cm. It is also found in intercropping systems with food crops and in home gardens. The plants are uprooted after 4–5 weeks. Another cultivation method is sowing in a seedbed (nursery) 3–10 g/m2 and transplanting after 2–3 weeks. From a nursery, the grower gets up to 1000 plantlets per m2 for transplanting. A plant density of 100–200 plants/mcan be used for a once-over harvest whereas 25 plants/m2 are appropriate for repeated cuttings. 

Pest and disease: Stemrot caused by the fungus Choanephora cucurbitarum is the main disease. It is favoured by wet conditions, poor soil fertility and high nitrogen doses. Damping-off caused by Pythium and Rhizoctonia may be serious in seedbeds. It is controlled by good drainage. Over-dense sowing should be avoided. No damage by virus diseases has been reported. Amaranthus blitum is a natural host for turnip mosaic virus and tobacco leaf curl virus. Insects are a serious problem for amaranth growers. Caterpillars (Hymenia recurvalis, Spodoptera litura, Helicoverpa armigera) and sometimes grasshoppers are the most harmful. The larvae of the stem borer Lixus truncatulus may cause much damage, sometimes already in the seedbed. Many other insects such as aphids, leafminers, stinkbugs, mole crickets and mites also attack amaranth but generally cause only minor damage.

10) Chili

(Capsicum frutescens)


Description: Herb or shrub to 2 m. Leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate; lamina up to 10 cm long, 5 cm wide, frequently smaller; petiole usually 1–3 cm long. Flowers usually several in each leaf axil. Pedicels 10–20 mm long. Calyx 2–3 mm long. Corolla c. 8 mm diam., white or green. Staminal filaments 1 mm long; anthers 1.5–2 mm long, usually blue. Ovary obtusely conical, 1.5–2 mm long; style 3–4 mm long. Berry erect, narrowly conical to narrowly ellipsoid or fusiform, 10–20 mm long, 3–7 mm diam., red; fruiting pedicel 15–25 mm long. Seeds 3–5 mm long, yellow.

Uses: The chief use of chilies is as spice. It is used as an important ingredient in curry powder in culinary preparation. Chilies are also used for pickle preparation.

Health: Chili is said to do many miraculous things medicinally that it is not possible to mention all of them here. One of the most miraculous is probably its ability to prevent or even stop a heart attack. It also has properties, which can knock out cold and flu miseries, or when used as a gargle can relieve sore throat pain. People with diabetes may take it to lower their blood sugar levels.

Climate: Chili can tolerate varied climatic conditions except for extreme cold. The plant requires a very warm sunny position.

Soil: One key to growing chilies successfully is adding compost; this improves workability, water-holding capacity, drainage, and fertility. Chile seeds need warmth, oxygen, and moisture to germinate. The soil should be fertile and well drained with pH in the range of 4.3 to 8.3.

Water: Don’t over water; by keeping the soil a bit on the dry side, bushier and more compact plants will form.

Propagation: A minimum temperature of 18-20ºC for successful germination of most chili seeds.

Pest and disease: Aphids, thrips, mites and mealybugs could attack the plant.

11) Ginger

(Zingiber officinale)


Description: Ginger is a perennial plant with thick, branching rhizomes and sturdy, upright stems with pointed lance-like leaves. Yellow-green flowers, with a deep purple lip with a yellow marking are produced, followed by the fruits, which resemble freshy capsules.

Uses: Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea. Ginger can also be made into candy. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes.   

Health: Ginger has been used herbal medicine for many years. Ginger can make digestion easily, cure cold and fever, cough, morning sickness, pain killer, etc.

Climate: Ginger requires tropical, subtropical and humid climate. A well distributed rainfall during growing season and dry season during the land preparation as well as before harvesting is required for good growth and yield of the crop. Dry weather with a temperature range of 28-30oC for about a month before harvesting is ideal. High humidity throughout the crop period is necessary.

Soil: Ginger prefers good soil, rich in humus, well-drained and of at least 30 cm depth. It is very sensitive to water-logging and therefore such situation should be avoided. The ideal soil pH range for the crop is 5.5 to 6.5. Ginger should not be grown in the same site year after year. 

Water: The crop raised in the month of April-May needs 2-4 initial watering at an interval of 7 days depending upon the soil types. In ginger cultivation sprouting, rhizome initiation and rhizome development are critical stages of irrigation.

Propagation: Segments of the rhizome can be broken off for propagating. Plant the rhizome in a large pot positioning the ‘eye’ at the soil surface.

Pest and disease: Shoot borer, leaf roller, etc.

12) Tomato 

(Lycopersicon esculentum)


Description:  The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. An average common tomato weighs 100 grams.

Maturity in days: 55-105

Uses: Tomato fruits are consumed fresh or cooked and used as flavouring in soups and meat or fish dishes. They are made into sweetened candies, dried fruits. Economically, the tomato fruits are sold in the processed forms.

Health: Its acidic flavor stimulates digestion and assists in nutritional absorption thanks to the pigments that give it its attractive red color and its content of vitamins C and E, pro-vitamin A and other carotenes. Tomatoes also help maintain the body’s acid-base balance and promote ongoing vitality. 

Climate: It is a warm season plant. The plant needs to be grown in an area which receives lot of direct sunlight. Tomato seeds usually germinate within 5 to 10 days when kept in the optimum temperature range of 21-27°C. 

Soil: Tomato likes fertile soil with a lot of organic matter. It will do well in soils with a pH of 5.8 to 7.0. Tomatoes are heavy feeders so mix in compost to enhance the soil.

Water: The plant requires abundant watering. Water the base of the tomato plant, not the foliage. Watering the foliage when tomatoes are maturing can cause the fruits to crack. 

Propagation: The seeds need to come from a mature fruit, and be dried or fermented before germination. Germination is delayed by lower temperatures and accelerated by higher temperatures. Temperatures below 10°C or above 35°C are detrimental to germination. Tomato seedlings grow best at a temperature of about 18°C. 

Pest and disease: Some of the pests likely to attack tomato are Hornworm, Aphids, Flea Beetles, Cutworms, Spider Mites and Nematodes.

13) Cucumber

(Cucumis sativas)


Description: Cucumber is heat-loving vegetables best adapted to the warmest part of the year. The cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The fruit of the cucumber is roughly cylindrical, elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimeters long and 10 centimeters in diameter. Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower, botanically speaking, cucumbers are classified as Accessory fruits. However, much like tomatoes and squash they are often perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Cucumbers are usually more than 90% water. 

Maturity in days: 55-65 after transplant

Uses: The main use of cucumber is for the immature fruit. The young fruits can be fried or boiled. It is also pickled for later use.  Cucumber is also used for beauty.

Health: Cucumbers provides a unique combination of nutrients, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.

Climate: They must be grown in warm temperatures. Cucumber needs full sun and protection from the wind. Cucumber requires a warm climate. The optimum temperature for growth is about 30oC and the optimum night temperature 18-21oC. The minimum temperature for good development is 15oC.

Soil: Cucumbers do well in warm, moist soil with pH of 6.0-7.0. They grow best in fertile clay soils with a lot of humus. They require a loose, well-drained soil generous in organic matter.

Water: Cucumbers need plenty of water to be juicy and crisp. Cucumber plants that do not get enough water produce small, bitter, deformed fruits. Soak the soils deeply during dry periods. When watering, avoid wetting the leaves, especially if watering late in the day. Wet leaves encourage the development of plant diseases.

Propagation: Cucumber Plants are tender, so soil should be warm, 18-24°C for germination to begin. Plant 3 to 4 cucumber plants per hill for effective pollination.

Pest and disease: Several different diseases attack cucumbers. Most show up as spots on the upper or lower sides of leaves or on fruit.

14) Pumpkin

(Cucurbita spp.)


Description: Pumpkin is an annual warm season crop. The pumpkin varies greatly in shape, ranging from oblate to oblong. Although pumpkins are usually orange or yellow, some fruits are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray. Pumpkins are monoecious, having both male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flower is distinguished by the small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colorful flowers have extremely short life spans and may only open for as short a time as one day.

Maturity in days: 90-120

Uses: Flowers, leaves, and young stems are boiled, or stir-fried, or added to soups and stews. Fruits can be baked, fried, boiled, mashed, or dried. 

Health: Fruits are rich in starch, vitamins A, B1, and C. It was used in folk medicine to treat kidney inflammation and intestinal parasites. In today’s world, it is used to treat irritable bladder and prostate problems. Its seeds is said to help relieve dizziness. Pumpkin is also used to treat boils, carbuncles, fever, measles, pregnancy, skin ailments, smallpox, sprains, tumor, urinary ailments, warts, and women’s ailments. 

Climate: It is a warm season crop. Plants require full sunlight. 

Soil: It grows well in loam and sandy loam soils with good drainage. Mix compost or well-rotted manure into the bed to ensure plenty of nutrients. Pumpkins grow best in soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Pumpkins need moderate amounts of potassium and phosphorus and high amounts of nitrogen.

Water: Pumpkin is tolerant to brief drought. However, it is not tolerant to wet conditions. Pumpkins need to be watered regularly throughout the growing season. Keep the pumpkins evenly moist and water deeply during dry spells. To prevent mildew, water pumpkin plants at their base, don’t water the pumpkin foliage. Watering the pumpkins in the early morning also helps prevent mildew.

Propagation: Soak seeds in water for 5-10 hours, wash clean, and cover with a wet towel or napkin in 25-30°C to hasten germination. 

Pest and disease: Cucumber beetles and squash bugs attack seedlings, vines and both immature and mature fruits. These insects can damage the mature fruits.

15) Winged Bean 

(Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

Winged bean
Winged bean

Description: The winged bean is also known as goa bean and princess bean. The climbing plant is similar in appearance and growth habit to the ordinary garden pole bean. The pointed  7-15 cm long leaves are produced on weak vining stems. Some varieties of the plant produce a large, tuberous root that is eaten both cooked and raw in the Orient. At maturity, the pods are 15-23 cm long and 3-4 cm broad, with four angled leaf like wings running lengthwise to the pods. Seeds are round and green when mature, similar to soybeans. Root and seed are high in protein. Much publicity has been given this bean because of its high protein content and the edibility of so many parts. Young pods at the 10-15 cm stage are eaten and prepared much as are bush snap beans.

Uses: Winged bean is used as a vegetable, but the other parts (leaves, flowers, and tuberous roots) are also edible. The roots can be used as a root vegetable, similar to the potato, and have a nutty flavor; they are also much richer in protein than potatoes. The dried seeds can be useful as a flour and also to make a coffee-like drink.

Health: Winged beanprovide a source of vitamin Avitamin Ccalciumiron, and other vitamins. The seeds contain 35% protein and 18% oil.

Climate: Plants grow best under hot, wet conditions and grow best with 60 to 100 inches of rainfall or irrigation per year.

Soil: Winged bean can be grown in a range of soils as long as it has good drainage. Work in well rotted compost. The plant can fix its own nitrogen if the Rhizobium bacteria is present in the soil. Add additional fertilizer after the pods begin to develop. 

Water: Very susceptible to water logging, so good drainage is crucial, very susceptible to cold weather.

Propagation: Winged Bean seed has hard coat skin that may decrease and delay the seed germination, because water cannot get into inside of seed. In many cases, seeds may have relatively low germination rate, 50-60%, if planted without any special treatment. Soak seeds in water for 1-2 days, some seeds will swell when absorbing water and some seeds may not swell at all due to the hard coat skin. Plant these swollen seeds into moist soil for further germination process and collect these unaffected seeds for special treatment as described below. The germination problem for these unswelled seeds can be improved by scratching with sand paper or by breaking with a shape knife on the hard coat skin at the furthermost location from the seed eye. This pre-seeding treatment will allow moist/water to get into the inside to trigger the seed germination process. A high germination up to 90% can be obtained.

Pest and disease: Pests and diseases may include mites, nematodes and powdery mildew.

16) Moringa

(Moringa oleifera)


Description: Moringa grows into a slender tree with drooping branches and approximately 10m in height. Branches and stems are brittle with corky bark; leaves are feathery, pale green, compound, tripinnate, 30–60 cm long, with many small leaflets, 1–2 cm long. The flowers are, fragrant, white or creamy-white, 2.5 cm in diameter, borne in sprays, with 5 at the top of the flower. The stamens are yellow. The pods are long and thin, tapered at both ends, green, 30–60 cm long and 1 cm wide and contain 10 to 20 seeds embedded in the pith.

Uses: Considered one of the world’s most useful trees, as almost every part of the Moringa tree can be used for food, or has some other beneficial property. In the tropics it is used as foliage for livestock. The immature green pods, called “drumsticks” are probably the most valued and widely used part of the tree, they have a slight asparagus taste. In India, they are cut into 5 to 10 cm length pieces, split in half and used in curries. The seeds are sometimes removed from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. The flowers are edible when cooked, and are said to taste like mushrooms. The roots are shredded and used as a condiment in the same way as horseradish, however it contains the alkaloid spirochin, a potentially fatal nerve paralyzing agent, so such practices should be strongly discouraged. The leaves are cooked and used as spinach. In addition to being used fresh as a substitute for spinach, its leaves are commonly dried and crushed into a powder, and used in soups and sauces. The seeds may be crushed and used as a flocculant to purify water. The moringa seeds yield 38–40% edible oil (called Ben oil, from the high concentration of behenic acid contained in the oil) that can be used in cooking, cosmetics, and lubrication. The refined oil is clear, odorless, and resists rancidity at least as well as any other botanical oil. The seed cake remaining after oil extraction may be used as a fertilizer. The bark, sap, roots, leaves, seeds, oil and flowers are used in traditional medicine in several countries. In Jamaica, the sap is used for a blue dye.

Health: The leaves are highly nutritious. Weight for weight moringa contains seven times the vitamin C found in oranges, four times the vitamin A of carrots, three times the iron of spinach, four times as much calcium as milk and three times the potassium of bananas.

Climate: The Moringa tree grows mainly in semi-arid tropical and subtropical areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree that apparently is native only to the southern foothills of the Himalayas.

Soil: While it grows best in dry sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas.

Water: It is drought tolerant and is found in location with as little as 500 mm annual rainfall.

Propagation: Usually from seed. Soak in water for 24 hours and then sow in seed compost and keep warm.

Pest and disease: The tree is not seriously affected by diseases. Termites may be a problem. Root-rot related to poor drainage has observed.