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Technoguide for Ampalaya Production Part 2

May 2015 ~ VGCaps


V. Construction of Planting Beds and Furrows

1. With plastic mulch

Construct two planting beds 0.5 m wide and 20 cm high each. Provide a 4.0 m space between them for the trellis. Provide 0.5 m space between the two adjacent beds (refer to Fig.1) to serve as canal for furrow irrigation, or drainage for excess water during rainy season.

Fig.1 Field layout when using plastic mulch

2. Conventional method (no mulch)Construct a pair of furrows (dry months) or ridges (rainy months) 4.0 m apart. Construct the succeeding pairs of furrows/ ridges parallel to the first, and provide a 0.5 m space between each pair of furrows/ridges (refer to Figures 2 & 3).
Fig. 2 Field layout for conventional method using ridges

Fig. 3 Field layout for conventional method using furrows

VI. Fertilizer Application

Collect soil samples for analysis at the nearest Soils Laboratory. Apply fertilizers based on the results of the analysis. Otherwise, use the following recommended rates:

applying fertilizer
1. With plastic mulch


Apply the following fertilizers every 10 linear meters of the planting bed:
  • 1 kg PCM or any commercial organic fertilizer
  • 1 kg ammonium phosphate (16-20-0)
  • 0.40 kg ammonium sulfate (21-0-0)
  • 0.20 kg muriate of potash (0-0-60)
Cover the fertilizers with soil, or mix them thoroughly with the soil in the bed.


Drench 170 ml (1 small can of sardines) of fertilizer solution per hill. Prepare the drenching solution by thoroughly dissolving the fertilizer in water. Refer to the table below for the recommended schedule, and source and amount of fertilizer to apply.

2. Conventional method (unmulched)


Apply every 10 linear meters:

•    1 kg PCM or any commercial organic fertilizer
•    1 kg 16-20-0 (ammonium phosphate)

Cover the fertilizers with soil or mix them thoroughly with the soil in the bed.


Sidedress at two points 20 cm away from the base of the plant until 6 WAT. At 9 and 12 WAT, dibble the fertilizer at the midpoint (50 cm) between plants along the rows. From 15 WAT onwards, broadcast the fertilizer between adjacent furrows or ridges, then irrigate. Refer to the table below for the recommended schedule and source and amount of fertilizer to apply.

For both mulched and unmulched ampalaya, apply at least 20 kg compost and 3 kg CRH/10 linear meters to improve soil fertility, aeration, and moisture retention.

VII. Plastic Mulching

The use of plastic mulch to cover the beds is an improved technology for ampalaya production. It controls weeds, preserves soil moisture, prevents soil erosion, minimizes leaching of fertilizers, and reflects sunlight to repel insect pests hiding under the leaves.

The net income from ampalaya with plastic mulch of one farmer- partner in Currimao, Ilocos Norte during wet season 2006 was higher by 30% than unmulched ampalaya. Mulched plants had better crop stand and yielded higher.

without plastic mulch                                          with plastic mulch
1. Setting up the plastic mulch:a. Cut the material lengthwise to make 0.6 m wide sheets.

setting up mulch
b. Stretch the plastic mulch over the planting bed, with the silver color on top.
fastening mulch
c. Fasten the edges of the plastic mulch to the soil with bamboo slats spaced 1 m apart.

 If bamboo slats are not available, cover its edges with soil using a rake, or by passing a moldboard plow near the edges.

2. Making the planting holes:

a. Measure 1.0 m planting distance along the center of the plastic mulch and mark the spots.
b. Make the holes following any of these three ways:
  • Using a serrated-lipped tin can: cut the lip of a 7-10 cm diameter tin can with metal scissors to form 1-cm long saw- like edges. Push the can on the marked planting spots of the plastic sheet, serrated side down.
making holes with serrated tin can
  • Using a hot tin can: punch small holes using a nail at the sides and bottom of a 7-10 cm diameter tin can. Attach a wooden or bamboo handle. Fill the can with burning charcoal. The small holes ventilate the charcoal to keep it burning.
punching holes with a hot tin can 
  • Using a cutter: cut intersecting lines 7-10 cm long to form “+” or “x” at the marked planting spots. During transplanting, fold up the 4 flaps to form square planting holes.
making holes with a cutter


Below table shows the checklist for cultural management of ampalaya with and without mulch



The table below shows the planting calendar for ampalaya cultivation with and without mulch



VIII. Transplanting

Flood the planting beds or furrows two days before transplanting to dissolve the fertilizers applied and cooldown the soil under the plastic mulch.

1. Transplant 13 to 15 day- old seedlings, which should now have 2-3 true leaves. Water thoroughly the seedlings in the trays to facilitate pulling and avoid root injury.

Do not allow the seedlings to stay too long in the tray and overgrow. Old seedlings will have poor root development.

seedlings for transplanting


2. Transplant only one seedling per hole preferably in the afternoon.

A 1000 m2 area (10th of a hectare) requires 500 seedlings, mulched or unmulched.

In mulched beds, water the transplants with a seedlings for transplanting one seedling per hole

sprinkler immediately after transplanting; in furrows and ridges, irrigate hill to hill with an irrigation hose.

one seedling per hole


IX. Irrigation

Irrigate once a week during the dry season, and as needed during the wet season. Irrigate every after fertilizer application.

X. Trellising

Ampalaya grows best with overhead trellis about 1.8 m high. The trellis must be taller than the farmer to facilitate harvesting. Construct the trellis two weeks after transplanting, as tendrils start to grow.

Erect madre de cacao or ipil-ipil posts at the 4 outer ends of the pair of planting beds. Make the frame of the overhead trellis using bamboo poles. Reinforce the structure with bamboo posts spaced 2-3 m along the length of both sides of the trellis.

Tie strings, 45 cm apart, at the top and both sides of the structure parallel to the length of the beds. Do the same across the structure to form the square netting at the sides (vertical trellis) and on top (horizontal trellis) where the plants will creep.

Use a nylon string that does not absorb too much heat and can be reused in succeeding seasons.

ampalaya on trellis   
ampalaya on vertical trellis

XI. Vine Training and Pruning

When the plants start to crawl, direct them toward the side (vertical) trellis. Tie the vines to the vertical trellis until they reach the overhead (horizontal) trellis.

Prune all sideshoots or lateral vines that do not reach the horizontal trellis to avoid overcrowding, favorable to nesting of pests. Also remove old and unproductive vines.

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