December 1, 2008
Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family, a relative of squash, watermelon, and cucumber. It is considered an important vegetable for the Asian and Indian populations living in the United States. Bitter melon is usually grown in the field during the summer months; however, the price of bitter melon is considerably higher from December to May when it is imported from other countries. No information is available about bitter melon production in a greenhouse setting and whether higher market prices justify the higher production costs. In Dec. 2007, a study was conducted with two different trellis systems at the Virginia State University greenhouse facility to study this possibility. The production per plant for a 6-month harvest was 62 and 42 lbs for vertical and horizontal trellis systems, respectively.