Use of Saline Water for Buffalo Gourd Production in New Mexico
New Mexico’s underground water resources include over 15 billion acre-feet of saline water of varying salinity levels. Salt tolerant crops that are capable of producing commercial yields economically may displace more conventional crops and spare the state’s precious fresh water for higher uses. Cucurbita foetidissima HBK (buffalo gourd) was grown in wooden tubs in an outdoor setting in an effort to determine starch and alcohol yields. Irrigation waters of 500; 2,000; 4,000; and 8,000 ppm total dissolved solids were applied.
Yields of buffalo gourd roots from 2,000 ppm TDS irrigation water were comparable with field trials. Lower root yields were experienced with increasing salinity levels. Alcohol yields were lower for buffalo gourds irrigated with saline water than for field grown buffalo gourds. Results are inconclusive as to why low alcohol yields were achieved.