Bitter melon, or Balsam pear (Momordica Charantia), is a healthful Asian gourd that grows in tropical climates or during the summertime elsewhere. The "melon" is actually a warty vegetable that grows to six inches or longer. It is used for food, medicine and as a conversation piece in the garden. Borne on vines with a multitude of yellow blossoms, the bitter melon does best on a trellis or when you grow it against the side of a building, which will support its rather rampant growth habit and provide the warmth it needs. Start bitter melon in the spring and grow it as a summer annual in most climates.
Soak seeds in water for 48 hours.
Clear weeds in your planting area and then dig in some compost. Plant soaked seeds directly into the garden, allowing approximately five feet between plants because they spread.
Give your young plants plenty of water. They also like lots of heat---if you grow the bitter melon against a building this will help to support the vines and give the plant extra warmth that it needs to grow well.
Provide a trellis or other means of support when your vines are about one foot long.
Fertilize bitter melons with a balanced fertilizer once each month to encourage the plant's health and growth.
Control insect pests and diseases if they occur. If you see powdery mildew or symptoms of plant viruses, apply sulfur immediately. You can protect small, developing fruit from fruit flies by wrapping them in newspaper when they are just two or three inches long.