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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Capparales
Family
:
Brassicaceae
Genus
:
Brassica
 
It is another important vegetable of cole group. A rich source of vitamin A, B and C, it also contains minerals. It covers about 4% of total area under vegetables. India comes next to China in cabbage production. It is now grown almost throughout the year. Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab are major cabbage-growing states. Commonly grown cabbage in India is white. Red and savoy cabbage are not so popular. The heads of cabbage vary from flat-topped to long-oval. Varieties with compact, round heads are preferred though pointed-head varieties are also grown. The tender leaves are primarily used as cooked vegetable, more in raw than in processed form.
   
Climate and soil  

Since it is a cool-season crop, it thrives best in a relatively cool moist climate. It can withstand extreme cold and frost relatively better than cauliflower. It loses its flavour in dry warm weather. The optimum seed germination is obtained at 12.8°–15.6°C soil temperature. The growth in most of the cabbage varieties is arrested when temperature rises above 25°C. With the introduction of heat tolerant hybrids and development of tropical lines/hybrids, the temperature barrier has been removed.
It can be grown on all types of soils. In clay loam or silt, higher yield may be obtained from the late crop. It does not grow well on a highly acidic soil and is best grown between pH 5.5 and 6.5. Higher acidity can be reduced by liming but it should not be reduced beyond 6.5 pH.

 
Varieties

Varieties commonly grown in India are:
Copenhagen Market
It is an early variety, with round head which is compact, with a few outer leaves, small core and large in size. The stem is short and the leaves are light green. It takes 75–80 days for maturation.
Drumhead Savoy
It has a dark-green foliage which is much blistered or wrinkled. The quality is superior but it is not commercially acceptable in our country.
Golden Acre
A selection from Copenhagen Market, it has small-round heads, each weighing 1–1.5kg, with a few outer leaves. It matures in 60–65 days.
Pride of India
It is an early round-headed, solid, medium-sized variety weighing 1–1.5kg each. It matures in 70–75 days.
Pusa Drumhead
It has uniform, flat, solid, small-framed and short-stalked head, weighing 1.5–2kg each. It yields about 495–540q/ha. It is resistant to black-leg or dry-rot, common in hills.

Pusa Mukta
It has short stalk, flattish-round medium-sized heads and light green outer leaves. It is resistant to black rot.
Red Cabbage
The leaves are deep purplish-red. The yield is usually low.
In general the round head varieties mature the earliest followed by the conical varieties, whereas Drumhead varieties with flat head and Savoy leaves are usually late. A number of varieties are available with various nurseries.
Presently about 30% area is under cultivation of hybrids. Most of the hybrid seeds in India are imported by seed companies and sold under different brand names. Some of the hybrids have been identified for release. They are:
Sri Ganesh Gol (MAHYCO) with solid and round heads having better keeping quality. It yields 30–35 tonnes/ha.
Nath Laxmi 401 has uniform compact heads with better shelf-life, yielding 50–75tonnes/ha.
Beejo Sheetal 32yields 70–80 tonnes/ha.
Two hybrids—Green Expressand Green Boyare marketed by  NSC.
IARI's regional station Katrain, has developed a synthetic variety, Pusa Sambandh,which has wide adaptability with round compact heads, early, narrow frame, suitable for close planting.
September
An early and high-yielding variety, it is recommended for Nilgiri hills. It has bluish-green foliage. It matures in 110 days.

   
Cultivation  

Planting
Since it is a cool-season crop, it is sown in August, September and October for early, main season and late crop respectively. In some parts 2 crops of cabbage are taken. Sowing is done in the nursery beds. The seedlings become ready for transplanting in 4–6 weeks depending on weather conditions. The field is prepared by 3 or 4 ploughings. The early main season varieties are transplanted at a distance of 45cm and 60–70cm from row-to-row and 45cm and 45–60cm plant-to-plant respectively. Preplanting application of Trifluralin (1kg/ha), Fluchloralin (0.5kg/ha), Nitrofen (2kg/ha), Alachlor (0.2kg/ha) or Butachlor (2kg/ha) is recommended to keep the crop weed-free.
On an average 500–750g of seed is required for a hectare.
Manuring and fertilization
A number of recommendations have been made. These vary from place to place, depending on agroclimatic conditions and cultivars. However, application of 180kg N, 50kg P and 50kg K/ha (Jabalpur), 60kg N/ha (Hisar) or 120kg N/ha (Faizabad) or 180kgN/ha (Kalyanpur, Sabour and Jorhat) is recommended to get ha optimum yield. Cabbage Eclipse Drum Head gives highest yield with 150kg N, 80kg P and 75kg K/ha (Jabalpur). At New Delhi, application of 160kg N, 90kg P along with 15 tonnes of farmyard manure/ha to cabbage Golden Acre gives optimum yield. Application of 250kg N, 120kg P and 100kg K/ha is advised for seed production of cabbage Golden Acre at Katrain.
Interculture
Shallow hoeings should be done to remove weeds and loosen the soil for better aeration. To produce solid heads, the plants are earthed 5–6 weeks after transplanting.
Two sprays of GA 5ppm to the seedlings give significant increase in yield and quality of heads. The highest yield/unit area are obtained with 2 sprays of 0.05ppm of NAA, 2 and 3 weeks after transplanting.
Irrigation
A continuous supply of moisture is essential for proper development of heads. The first irrigation should be given immediately after transplanting. Heavy irrigation is avoided at the time of maturity of heads.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Cabbage heads should be harvested when they attain full size. After that they burst or lose. In plains, cabbage is harvested from December to April, the early varieties take 60–80 days, while late ones 100–120 days. The early varieties yield lesser than main season and late varieties. However, the yield differs with the season, variety and locality. The yield of early cabbage ranges between 33 and 45 tonnes/ha in northern India. It is at least 25% less in southern region, because the winter is mild and of shorter duration than in the northern region. The hybrids yield 70–80 tonnes/ha.
The marketable cabbage heads can be stored for 4–5 days under ordinary conditions, whereas for several weeks in the cold storage at 0°–1.7°C with 85–87% relative humidity.

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Solanales
Family
:
Solanaceae
Genus
:
Capsicum
 
Capsicum, also known as bell pepper or sweet pepper, is a popular vegetable in India. It is relatively a new entrant into our country. It is mainly cultivated in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Ranchi region of Bihar, and hilly regions of Tamil Nadu. It grows well in summer season in hills and cooler season in the plains.
   
Climate and soil  

Capsicum being a cool season crop is planted from February onwards to May/June (hills). It cannot withstand heavy rains during flowering or fruit set. Very cold temperatures (<12°C) during night also hamper growth and fruit set. In plains, its crop is fitted in such a way that flowering and fruit setting can be under favourable conditions. Ideal temperatures for flowering is 26°–28°C day and 16°–18°C night. In northern plains, it is planted during February–June/July, in parts of Maharashtra in March–April and in Karnataka from June to December. With the advent of shade nets, it is possible to raise crops by lowering the temperature even during the hotter months.
Although a wide range of soils are suitable, red or sandy loam soil with a pH of 5.5–6.8 is ideal. Water stagnation is detrimental to the crop. High acid soils need to be reclaimed using lime. Liming can be done through use of calcium oxide, calcium bicarbonate or dolomite.
Capsicum has bidirectional root system and it is important that there is free unhampered root growth and root aeration for successful crop growth. While very heavy soils may pose problems in irrigation management and in keeping the surface loose, lighter soils with proper management strategy can result in good crop yields.

 
Varieties

Open-pollinated capsicums still dominate the market but more recently a number of hybrids are becoming popular among the growers. Hybrids are superior in yield and quality fruits.
Open-pollinated varieties are Arka Mohini, Arka Gaurav, Arka Basant, California Wonder and Pusa Deepti. Bharat, Indra, Sun 1090 and Green Gold are popular hybrids.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing
Quality seed ensures good, uniform and rapid germination, and vigorous growth, resulting in good yield. The seed rate for hybrids and open-pollinated capsicums is 250g and 300g/ha. About 7g of good quality seed provides 100 plants. Seedlings are grown on raised nursery beds or in seedling trays, 7.5m long, 1.2m wide and 15cm high. Keep at least 50cm distance between two beds. The area earmarked for the nursery is first subjected to sterilization/fumigation to get rid of pathogenic fungi and bacteria. Solarization is done by covering the area with plastic or polythene sheet and sealing the sides so that the heat kills the microbes. The dug up portion is treated with 0.5 litre of 40% formalin/m2 and immediately covered with plastic sheet for about 48hr. After a gap of 5–6 days sowing can be made. Predrench with Captafol (0.2%). Well-decomposed farmyard manure is mixed with top soil @ 3kg/m2. Fertilizers are mixed @ 0.5kg of 15:15:15 mixture of NPK/bed. Seeds are sown in rows 7.5cm apart and more than 1cm deep.
Commercially available plastic trays filled with sterilized premixed media can be used to raise quality seedlings.The advantages include uniformity in germination to transplant height and growth, ease in management, strong roots, less risks with soil-borne pathogens and ease in transporting to long distances. Care should be taken to see that the bottom of each cell in the tray has a hole to ensure good drainage. Trays with cell size of 1.5" × 1.5" are adequate. The trays need to be arranged in a greenhouse (may be improvised) where the temperature remains less than 30°C. After sowing, a drench of Captan (0.2%) is given. The seeds take 8 days to show up. It takes 2–3 days longer when the temperatures are low. The nursery beds or trays are kept warm by covering them with dry grass or polythene sheets till the seeds germinate. Watering is done only when needed. It is best to keep the media continuously moist but not too wet. Fertilizer application is done through a mix of calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate @ 2g each/litre of water applied twice (25 and 35 days) and single superphosphate 10g/litre dissolved in hot water (2 applications).
The seedlings are subjected to hardening prior to transplanting. This is done by reducing the quantity and frequency of watering during the last week in the nursery so that these can withstand the transplant shock better.
Planting
The seedlings are set to a depth up to the first true leaf. Its yield increases with planting density. Spacing depends on soil type, season and variety. Spacing of 45cm × 45cm is ideal in Solan, and 50cm × 30cm in Bangalore. For hybrids spacing of 80–90cm × 30cm is adopted. Double row spacing gives higher yields. This is done by planting 2 rows in a bed with 45cm between them. The beds are separated 90cm–1m apart. The spacing within the row remains 30–45cm.
About 42–45 day-old seedlings having 4–5 true leaves are ideal. The stem should be thick and should break when bent.
It is essential that the soil is brought to a fine tilth before the ridges are formed. Planting is made on the sides of ridges of any convenient length. Upon earthing-up on the 25th day, the plants will be in the centre of the ridge. However, when planted under drip system, the seedlings are set out in the centre of the ridge with the drip line running alongside.
Single row system is followed. Double row system has advantages, especially when drip is installed. This system helps cut down drip costs and obtain higher yields. A single drip line in the middle of a double row can irrigate both the
rows.
Training and pruning
Capsicum grown outdoor is less exacting in terms of training and pruning compared with greenhouse grown crop. Under outdoor conditions, there is a tendency for crown set especially under stress conditions. To boost vegetative growth, fruit set and yields under such conditions, buds from the first and second nodes are pinched off. Unproductive branches below the first node are also clipped in cooler season especially when sunscald is not a problem.
Tall growing hybrids need staking. This can be accomplished by using Gl wires strung across or thin bamboo or similar material tied to 3 feet stakes placed at the ends of rows and tying the branches of plants loosely on these.
Manuring and fertilization
Capsicum responds to high levels of nutrition. The farmyard manure @ 25tonnes/ha is a prerequisite. Well-decomposed poultry manure is also beneficial. Neem cake can be applied prior to planting. The quantity of fertilizers depend upon the soil type, variety and season. For open-pollinated varieties, it should be 120:80:50kg NPK/ha. For hybrids, it can go as high as 200:180:150kg/ha.
A dose of 150kg N/acre or results in highest yields when applied in 3 split doses (basal, 30 and 60 days after transplanting). California Wonder yields highest at 180kg N and 50kg P205/ha. Highest total seed yield (85kg/ha) and seed recovery in all 3 pickings are obtained with 200:112.5:75kg NPK/ha.
Nitrogen can be split in as many as 4 doses. For open-pollinated varieties one-third to half N and full doses of P and K are applied as basal and the rest of N as top dressing. With high doses for hybrids, N is split into 4, P into 2 and K into 3. High mobility of N and K makes it imperative that these are applied as splits.
Preplant dose is applied in bands in rows, covered with soil and profusely irrigated prior to planting. With the availability of soluble fertilizers that can be injected into the drip system, there is better utilization of nutrients resulting in good plant growth and uniformity. Nitrate form of N is preferred to ammoniacal form. Phosphorus is applied as single superphosphate and potassium as muriate of potash.
Excess of N along with intermittent water stress can result in blossom-end rot of fruits. This is seen as water-soaked area near the blossom-end. This later become light brown and leathery in appearance. The fruits turn rapidly red. Application of calcium (calcium chloride 2% spray) can obviate the symptoms.
Phosphorus should be applied in the root zone and banding is better than broadcast. The N and K should also be applied in the root zone at appropriate intervals. While employing the drip system for irrigation care should be taken while applying fertilizers along the drip line after opening the soil. Excess water is necessary after each top-dressing.
Aftercare
Capsicums require more care and attention than most other vegetable crops to get maximum yield. The soil has to be maintained in loose friable condition without allowing formation of crust. Any intercultural operation should ensure that the roots are least disturbed. Root pruning during cultivation can also cause blossom-end rot. Earthing-up is essential to prevent lodging of plants due to crop load.
The plot should be kept weed-free. Hand-weeding and hoeing are most common methods. However, Glycel can be sprayed 20 days prior to transplanting in the main field to control nut grass.
Irrigation
Capsicum is sensitive to soil moisture-deficit and excess. Total number of irrigations required are around 15 with consumptive use of 442–450mm. Maintenance of soil moisture potential below —0.65 bar either until fruits are picked or after it, significantly reduces the yield.
Furrow method is most commonly employed with the length of the rows 4m or above depending on the slope of the land and type of soil. When water is not a constraint this method is preferred. Drip system is well-suited to this crop. Uniform soil moisture and friable nature of the soil are beneficial in terms of uniformity, good vegetative growth and high yields with more of grade A fruits. The third system is alternate furrow irrigation or irrigation in widely spaced furrows with double row planting that can help save water up to 40% in medium and heavy- textured soils.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Its fruits become ready for harvesting 45 days after transplanting depending on variety. Harvesting can be done once in 7 or 8 days. The varieties give 5–6 pickings, while hybrids up to 12. The reduction in fruit size over harvests is less in hybrids compared to varieties. The varieties yield 25 tonnes/ha and the hybrids above 45 tonnes/ha. While picking, the fruits are lifted gently off the plant without causing injury or breakage of stem. Harvesting is done after 1 or 2 days of irrigation and picked fruits are kept in shade to avoid sunscald.
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Carambola or starfruit is native to Indonesia. The acidic nature of the pulp is due to its oxalic acid content. Although carambola is not an economically significant crop in India, one can come across this fruit-cum-ornamental tree in several gardens. It is a small tree with drooping branches and bears attractive, golden-yellow, 3–5 ribbed, oval-elliptic fruits measuring 12–15 cm in length. A fruit crop akin to carambola, bilimbi (A. bilimbi) produces gherkin-like fruits which are used for making pickles and curries due to the presence of high amount of acid (6%) in the pulp. Fruits of carambola contain a juicy pulp which may be acidic or sweet depending on type. The fruit is a good source of vitamin A, B and C together with valuable minerals and iron but not calcium. Various plant parts of this fruit are credited with medicinal properties, e.g. root extract is used as an antidote for poisoning, and the crushed leaves for curing chicken pox, ring worm and scabies. The pulp of immature fruits is used for cleaning brassware.
   
Climate and soil  
Carambola prefers warm moist climate and can be grown on the hills up to 1,200 m. A well-distributed rainfall encourages normal growth and cropping. It can grow on any type of soil with good drainage, but deep rich soil supports better plant growth. Although it grows both in acid and alkaline soils, it prefers acid soil. Trees growing on calcareous soils sometimes require zinc sprays.
 
Varieties
Specific varieties are not known in carambola, but 2 main types are distinguished, viz. sour and sweet. The sour types contain as much as 1% acid and the sweet types have low acid (0.4%) with 5% sugars. Some Chinese types like Fuang Tung are very sweet and Brazilian ones are rich in vitamin C. Some superior types of carambola are available at Columbia (Icambola), Taiwan (Tean Ma, Min Tao) and Hawaii (Golden Star).
   
Propagation
Carambola is often propagated through seeds, but budding, grafting and layering are recommended to produce true-to-type plants. The seeds have low viability and hence should be sown fresh. After cleaning and drying the seeds, they should be sown in pots and regularly watered. The seedlings are transplanted to individual pots or plastic bags and allowed to harden. They are then transplanted to the field. When seedlings are to serve as rootstock, they should be at least one year old, on which budding (shield) or grafting (veneer or approach) can be taken up.
   
Cultivation  

Planting

The planting of carambola trees on orchard scale is seldom done. Planting can be taken up by providing 8m × 8m spacing when one plans to raise a regular orchard.

Pruning

Practically no specific training or pruning operation is advocated for carambola trees.

Manuring

There are no recommended nutrient dosages. However, it is a good practice to manure the trees once in a year (40–50 kg of farmyard manure/tree) and also apply some nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers, the doses depending upon the age and size of the tree and the fertility of the soil.

Aftercare

For better orchard establishment, operations like watering of the young plants as and when required, staking, basin cleaning and protection from cold are important.

Irrigation

Irrigation is provided when there is a long dry spell. This helps to secure a good crop.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Seedlings take about 4 years to come to bearing but grafts produce crop in 1–2 years. Carambola produces flowers and fruits even on the trunk. The fruits are borne year round, but peak yields are obtained during January–February and September–October. Yield varies according to the age, variety and plant health. About 80 kg fruits can be harvested from a grown-up tree. Fruits of sweet type are eaten fresh and the sour ones can be used for making refreshing drinks, pickling or as a substitute for tamarind. Good quality squash, jelly, preserves and candy can also be prepared from fruits. With proper packing, fruits of carambola ship well, but the fruits are mostly supplied to near markets.
Nutritional Value
 
Usage

Food Use

 

Ripe starfruits are eaten out-of-hand, sliced and served in salads, or used as garnish on avocado or seafood. They are also cooked in puddings, tarts, stews and curries. The Chinese cook starfruits with fish. Thais boil the sliced green fruit with shrimp. Slightly under ripe fruits are salted, pickled or made into jam or other preserves. In mainland China and in Taiwan, starfruits are sliced lengthwise and canned in syrup for export. In Queensland, the sweeter type is cooked green as a vegetable. Cross-sections may be covered with honey, allowed to stand overnight, and then cooked briefly and, put into sterilized jars. Some cooks add raisins to give the product more character. A relish may be made of chopped unripe fruits combined with horseradish, celery, vinegar, seasonings and spices.

Sour fruits, pricked to permit absorption of sugar and cooked in syrup, at first 33º Brix, later 72º, made an acceptable candied product though the skin was tough.

The ripe fruits are sometimes dried in Jamaica.

Starfruit juice is served as a cooling beverage. In Hawaii, the juice of sour fruits is mixed with gelatine, sugar, lemon juice and boiling water to make sherbet. Filipinos often use the juice as a seasoning. The juice is bottled in India, either with added citric acid (1% by weight) and 0.05 % potassium metabisulphite, or merely sterilising the filled bottles for 1/2 hr in boiling water.

To make jelly, it is necessary to use unripe "sweet" types or ripe sour types and to add commercial pectin or some other fruit rich in pectin such as green papaya, together with lemon or lime juice.

The flowers are acid and are added to salads in Java; also, they are made into preserves in India.

The leaves have been eaten as a substitute for sorrel.

 

Non-Food Use

 

The acid types of starfruit have been used to clean and polish metal, especially brass, as they dissolve tarnish and rust. The juice will also bleach stains from white cloth. Unripe fruits are used in place of a conventional mordant in dyeing.

The seeds are toxic and when crushed can be used as an insecticide.
 

Medicinal Uses

 

The juice is believed to be able to reduce blood pressure. Juice of fruit with a ripening index of 3 is preferred for this purpose.

In India, the ripe fruit is administered to halt haemorrhages and to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids; and the dried fruit or the juice may be taken to counteract fevers. A conserve of the fruit is said to allay biliousness and diarrhoea and to relieve a "hangover" from excessive indulgence in alcohol. A salve made of the fruit is employed to relieve eye afflictions. In Brazil, the starfruit is recommended as a diuretic in kidney and bladder complaints, and is believed to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of eczema. In Chinese Materia Medica it is stated, "Its action is to quench thirst, to increase the salivary secretion, and hence to allay fever."

A decoction of combined fruit and leaves is drunk to overcome vomiting. Leaves are bound on the temples to soothe headache. Crushed leaves and shoots are poulticed on the eruptions of chicken pox, also on ringworm.

The flowers are given as a vermifuge. In Southeast Asia, the flowers are rubbed on the dermatitis caused by lacquer derived from Rhus verniciflua Stokes.

Burkill says that a preparation of the inner bark, with sandalwood and Alyxia sp., is applied on prickly heat. The roots, with sugar, are considered an antidote for poison. Hydrocyanic acid has been detected in the leaves, stems and roots.

 

Wood

 
Starfruit wood is white, becoming reddish with age; close-grained, medium-hard. It has been utilised for construction and furniture.
 
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Chromosome Number: 48
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Zingiberales
Family
:
Zingiberaceae
Genus
:
Elettaria
 
Cardamom, popularly known as queen of spices, is dried fruit of a tall perennial herbaceous plant. In India, cardamom is cultivated in Kerala (60%), Karnataka (31%) and Tamil Nadu (9%). Due to its delicate aroma, cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Till the seventies, India was enjoying a near monopoly position both in its production and export in the world. Recently, Guatemala has emerged as a main competitor.
   
Climate and soil  

The natural habitat of cardamom is evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. It is grown in areas receiving annual rainfall of 1,500–4,000mm and temperature of 10°–35°C, 600–1,500m above mean sea-level. Cardamom is generally grown in forest loamy soils, which are usually acidic (pH 5.0–6.5). Most of the cardamom-growing regions are situated in heavy rainfall areas and, therefore, suffer from leaching of nutrients. These soils tend to be acidic due to lcaching of bases. Cardamom is generally grown in evergreen forests where the surface soil is enriched by the deposition of organic matter due to organic recycling. Hence, these soils are quite rich in N. The rate of decomposition of organic matter in cardamom plantation is slower because of its forest (tree) association and consequent lower mean annual temperature. Majority of cardamom growing soils are low to medium in available P and K.These soils are ‘Latosols' formed under alternate wet and dry conditions. The soil depth is fairly deep with good drainage. The clay fraction is predominantly Kaolinitic and hence there is no fixation of K in these soils.

The soils also contain large quantities of iron and aluminium oxide and hence they strongly fix soluble phosphates as insoluble ones. However, high organic-matter content helps to solubalize the phosphates and thick mulch on ground helps prevent immediate fixation of soluble phosphates.

 
Varieties
Six varieties of cardamom have been released. They are Mudigere 1, PV 1, CCS 1 and SKP 14 (prostrate type of panicles, suited for Karnataka), ICRI 1 and ICRI 2 for Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They yield 260–409kg/ha.
   
Propagation

Cardamom is propagated both through seeds and vegetatively. Vegetative method is becoming popular as this ensures large-scale production of true-to-type planting material of high-yielding lines. The suckers free from pests and diseases are better-suited for clonal multiplication of high-yielding varieties.

Tissue culture technology for rapid multiplication of cardamom clones is adopted by the organised industrial sector. Tissue-cultured planting material is available in large numbers. As in case of suckers, tissue-cultured plantlets also behave like that of the parents ensuring high productivity, if original tissue is selected from high-yielding lines. The rate of multiplication is quite high.

Seedlings are raised in primary and secondary nurseries. Afterwards they become ready for planting.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

About 10–18 months old seedlings are used for planting in the field. Preparation of land consists of clearing all under-growth and thinning out excess shade trees or branches to have an even over head canopy. If land is slopy, it is advisable to start the clearing from top downwards. Pits of 45cm × 45cm × 30cm size may be dug in April–May and filled with a mixture of top soil and compost or well-rotten farmyard manure. In slopy land, contour terraces may be made and pits may be taken along the contour. Close planting (2m × 1m) is advisable along the contour. The spacing adopted for Malabar type is 2m × 2m between plants and rows in Karnataka. In Kerala, 2–3m from plant-to-plant and row-to-row space is adopted. The lines should be taken across the slope to minimize soil erosion and conserve moisture. Staggered trenches may be taken across the slope. The soil collected in trenches may be utilized for earthing up during post-monsoon period.

The planting is carried out during the rainy season commencing from June. The time for planting in lowlying areas is ideal after the cessation of heavy monsoon showers. Cloudy days with light drizzles are ideal for planting. In clonal material (suckers), the established clumps in the clonal nursery are split into sections consisting of at least one mature sucker along with a young growing shoot. Well-formed planting material results in more shoots/clump and early bearing. The section of rhizome is placed in small depressions in the prepared, filled trenches or pits and covered with soil and mulch while the leafy shoots are placed almost parallel to the soil surface. New shoots arise from the rhizome and constitute a clump. Deep planting of suckers should be avoided since it leads to a high percentage of mortality. The best establishment is obtained when planting is carried out in August. Planting should be avoided during heavy rains and winter as establishment and growth are poor.

Seedlings are planted up to collar region in the depression. Deep planting should be avoided as it results in supression of growth and may cause death of plants due to decaying of underground rhizomes. The seedlings should be supported by stakes and mulched.

Manuring and fertilization

Cardamom responds very well to organic and inorganic fertilizers. Normally a dose of 75:75:150kg NPK/ha should be applied. Urea is a better source of nitrogeneous fertilizer than ammonium sulphate. Application of lime corrects soil acidity and enhances rate of nitrification, resulting in better growth. A fertilizer dose of 120:120:240kg NPK/ha to the high-density planting of (5,000 plants/ha) is recommended for Karnataka, whereas a dose of 30:60:30kg NPK/ha is recommended in Kerala.

Organic manures like compost or cattle manure may be given @ 5kg/clump. Neem-oil cake may be applied @ 1kg/clump.

For split application of fertilizer, May and September is optimum time. Under rainfed condition, fertilizer should be applied in 2 splits. The first application helps in production of suckers and development of capsules, whereas the second helps in initiation of panicles and suckers. In irrigated plantation, application of fertilizer in 4 split doses at a quarterly interval is beneficial. Fertilizer should not be applied during heavy showers which often leads to leaching of N and P.

Before application of fertilizer, panicles should be coiled encircling the base of the plant. Fertilizer may be applied around the plant in a circular fashion and incorporated in the soil with a hand fork. Mulching should be done immediately after incorporating the fertilizer. The panicles may then be released and spread on mulch to facilitate movement of honey bees for effective pollination and better setting of capsules.

Aftercare

Weeding, mulching, trashing, shade regulation, fertilizer application and irrigation should be taken up regularly. Fallen leaves of the shade trees should be applied during November–December to reduce the ill effects of drought prevailing for 4–5 months in summer. Exposing the panicles over the mulch is beneficial for bee pollination. Depending upon the intensity of weeds, 2–3 rounds of weeding in May–June, August–September and December–January are necessary. In slopy land, only slashing of weeds should be carried out to prevent soil erosion. Spraying of Paraquat (625ml in 500 litres of water/ha) may be done only in interspaces between rows leaving 60cm around the plant base. Spraying may be done both in pre-and post-monsoon periods.

Trashing removes old and drying shoots of plants. It should be done once in a year with the onset of monsoon under rainfed conditions and 2–3 times in high-density plantations provided with irrigatin facilities.

Light shade is more favourable in the initial stages to enhance vegetative growth. In areas having sparse tree growth, suitable fast-growing shade trees should be planted. Permanent shade trees—cedar, balangi and elangi are suitable. Hanalthare may be planted in the lowlying valleys. To provide adequate light during monsoon, shade regulation may be taken up in May before the onset of the monsoon. Two-tier canopy is desirable with a height not more than 3m between the lower and higher canopy. Areas exposed to western side should have adequate shade. A thin layer of fresh fertile soil rich in organic matter may be provided at the base of the clump, covering up to the collar region by scraping between the rows or collecting soil from staggered trenches/check pits. Care must be taken not to heap the soil above collar region of the clump lest it tilts up the plant in course of time.

Irrigation

It is quite essential to irrigate cardamom plantations from last week of January to mid-May. The plantations may be irrigated at 10–15 days intervals till the onset of monsoon. Regular irrigation (25mm–37.5mm/irrigation) helps in initiation of panicles, flowering and fruit set. The moisture level should be maintained above 45–50%

Of the various methods of irrigation, overhead method is ideally-suited to cardamom plantations. Drip irrigation is also becoming popular where water is scarce. The flow of water through the drippers are so adjusted that 2–3 litres of water is discharged/hr. Application of 10–15 litres of water/plant/day is sufficient for cardamom.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The cardamom comes to bearing in the 2–3 years after planting. The fruits mature at 30–40 days intervals, necessitating 5–6 pickings. Harvesting season is October– November. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, harvesting starts from August–September and continues till February–March, whereas in Karnataka, it starts in July–August and continues up to December–January. Capsules are harvested just short of full ripeness. Over mature fruits split on drying floor, whereas the unripe fruits shrivel on drying. An average yield of dry capsules from a well-maintained plantation comes to 500kg/ha.

After harvesting, capsules are dried either in fuel kiln or electrical drier or in the sun. Soaking freshly harvested green cardamom capsules in 2% washing soda solution for 10 minutes prior to drying help retain original green colour during drying. Under flue pipe drier, it should be dried at 45°–50°C for 14–18hr, while overnight drying at 50°–60°C is required under an electric drier. The capsules are spread thinly and stirred frequently to ensure uniform drying. The dried capsules are rubbed with hands or agitated to ensure uniform drying. They are winnowed to remove any foreign matter. They are then sorted out according to their size and colour and stored in black polythene lined gunny bags to retain the green colour during storage. These bags are kept in wooden chambers and sent to market as and when required. 

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 30
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Caryophyllales
Family
:
Caryophyllaceae
Genus
:
Dianthus
 
Carnation flower is valued for its excellent keeping quality, wide array of colours and forms, and ability to rehydrate after continuous transportation. Carnation is indigenous to the Mediterranean areas. Due to high cost of production inside greenhouses in Europe and USA, its cultivation is shifting to more naturally-growing regions where they are being produced at lesser cost. In India, carnation culture is in a budding stage. Very few commercial varieties are seen in the market. The Sim race of carnation was first introduced in India in 1980. In India, it is cultivated in 50ha including annual types. Moderate climatic control measures that are economical can deliver quality carnations at the internationally competitive prices year round. Carnations are now being grown commercially in Solan, Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Delhi, Gurgaon, Pune, Bangalore and Kalimpong. A few private growers are also exporting carnations. The midhills of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Nilgiri hills, Bangalore and Nasik are potential areas for its commercial cultivation.
   
Climate and soil  

Ooty (Tamil Nadu) and midhills of Himachal Pradesh are ideal for round-the-year cultivation of carnation. Since carnation is a quantitative long-day plant, it requires ample sunshine (approximately 21.5k lux for at least 8hr in a day). The locations having a day temperature of 25°C and a night temperature of 10°C, are good for high quality carnations. The optimum temperature for standard carnation is 18°–23°C. The relative humidity inside the greenhouse should be approximately 50–60%. In north Indian plains, carnation plants should be shaded with 25–50% shading nets to get quality flowers. Spray carnations can tolerate slightly warmer temperature.

A rich sandy loam or loam soil is ideal for its successful cultivation. Soils with higher amount of clay or silt should be amended by incorporating organic matter or compost. The pH of 6–7 is ideal. The site chosen should be free from weeds, nematodes or soil-borne pathogens. Preplant sterilization is beneficial. Sterilization with steam, sun or 5% formaline should be done
 
Varieties

Standard and spray types of carnations are grown commercially. Standard types are disbudded to a terminal single flower, producing a large flower on a sturdy long stem. In spray carnations, the center apical bud is removed, allowing the upper buds to develop, these may be on a relatively short stem providing a tight cluster or longer stems originating lower down the stem providing a more open spray.

The standard carnations are more in demand in Indian markets, while in the world trade sprays (miniature) supersede standards. The latest development are microcarnations for polybowls. Wholesalers also dye white carnations to green, blue, yellow and other shades, a process known as tinting.

Other types of carnations which are recommended for pot culture are:

Spider type      :  Purple Rain (purple)

Pot carnations  :  Maldeves(pink), White Sunny (White), Cerratop (fancy), Charmtop  

                           (red),  Pinky (red), Davinci (pink)

   
Propagation

Perpetual carnations are multiplied vegetatively by stem cuttings, while seed propagation is normally practised in raising plants of margurite carnations and border carnations as well as for the purpose of hybridization. Specialist propagators use micropropagation for producing disease-free plants commercially.

Terminal cuttings (10–15cm) from healthy, disease-free mother plants are taken and lower 1–2 pairs of leaves are removed. There should be at least 3 nodes on a cutting. Treat them with Bavistan (0.1%) + Dithane M-45 (0.25%) for 5–6 minutes and shake them properly to remove the solution and treat the cut ends with NAA (500ppm) for 10–12 seconds. Plant cuttings at 3cm × 3cm distance in trays or propagation beds containing sterilized sand. Rooting is obtained in 25–30 days with manual misting in a polythene chamber.

After rooting, the cuttings should be transferred in a hardening chamber containing a mixture of sand, farmyard manure, rice hulls and ash (1:1:1:1 v/v). Keep the cuttings under mini portable tunnels of 3m × 1.5m size covered with a layer of hessian cloth or 50% shading net and transparent polythene as required. Supply of nutrients during the rooting period is not necessary if the stock plants are maintained at an adequate level of nutrition. Overhead fogging unit is best for obtaining intermittent mist and is applied on bright days at an interval of 10 seconds out of every 10–15 minutes. Misting schedule can be modified for specific conditions depending upon photoperiod, light intensity and humidity. The cuttings become ready for sale/transplanting into the fields after 3 weeks of hardening period.

Carnations can be propagated round the year provided temperature inside the polyhouse is maintained at 20°C with 75–80% relative humidity. In winter 100 watt bulbs can be hung 1m above the cuttings, 1.5m apart during night. About 15,000 cuttings can be accommodated in a medium-sized chamber of 10m × 4m size.

The rooting and hardening media should be treated with 5% commercial formalin before planting (one litre of formalin in 7 litres of water). After treating the media with formalin, it should be covered with polythene for 7 days. Later on, it must be raked daily for 10 days to release the formalin gas.

   
Cultivation  

Growing structures

Most of the perpetual carnations are commercially grown under protection. These require sufficient light and proper ventilation. Therefore, the design and orientation of the greenhouse are of great importance. The greenhouse should have the ridge, true north and south, the plants being grown in beds running in the same direction with beds 1–1.2m wide, path 60cm towards the side wall and in between the beds to assist working and ensure adequate air movement. Polygreenhouse fitted with fan and pad system can bring down the temperature by 8°–10°C. However, top ridge and side ventilation also give good fresh air exchange and lower the temperature. The portable tunnels 3m × 1.5m × 1.5m are useful for protecting the open crop during rainy season to save from heavy rains and during winter to increase the growing temperature.

Planting

Planting schedule is very important to regulate the flower production. Under controlled, greenhouse conditions, carnation could be planted round the year. Approximately 150–180 days are required from planting to flower under open conditions. However, under protected conditions, its flowers can be obtained within 120–150 days depending up on the season. The planting done during mid-September–November is ideal for northern plains of India to obtain flush of carnation flowers from February to April, whereas October–February planting is suitable for hilly areas to get flowers during mid-April–mid-July. In areas having snowfall planting should be done during March–April to get flowers during August–
October.

The carnation cuttings—well-rooted, hardened, disease-free—should be procured from a reputed source. They should be planted on raised beds, 15–20cm above the ground of convenient size, 1–1.2m in width and 45–60cm path between beds. In high hills, flowers may be taken continuously for 2 years rotation. After flowering, plants should be pruned or hedged 10–15cm above the soil level. The irrigation should be withheld about 1 week before hedging and the pruned plants should not be irrigated again until new shoots appear (a period of 3–4 weeks).

Traditionally, carnations are planted relatively close together (about 15cm × 15cm). A spacing of 20cm × 20cm is preferable and even wider spacing can be used. Distance between the rows of 20cm allows 5 lines in 1m wide beds. Approximately 75,000 cuttings may be planted in one acre area (1,87,000/ha). Air movement between the plants and spray penetration is improved with wide spacing of 30cm × 30cm under ordinary conditions.

Pinching

Pinching or stopping is an important operation in the successful production of quality carnations. It is the snapping off or removal of apical shoot leaving about 5–6 nodes on the plants 30–35 days after planting. Pinching preferably should be done below sixth node, since axillary shoots pinched above sixth node produce flowers on smaller shoots which is not desirable. To get 5–6 well-developed lateral shoots/plant it is necessary to pinch above sixth node from the bottom. Until now growers have seldom allowed the apical shoots to develop a “Crown Bloom” but this is desirable since it spreads the initial flowering period.

There are 3 types of pinching methods generally followed.

Single pinching: It is the removal of the main shoots below sixth node to give about 5–6 lateral shoots which produce flowers. This is done for early crop.

Pinch-and-a-half: This involves single pinching of the main stem, and later when the resulting shoots are long enough (8–10cm or 30–35 days after first pinch), half of the largest shoots on each plant are pinched. The half pinch actually is the 2 or 3 pinches/plant at the later pinching time. Two to three flowers are obtained in first flush and 6–8 in the later flush. This system reduces the amount of first crop and provides steady production of flowers without any peak time.

Double pinch: It is the single pinching of the main shoots below sixth node and again the pinching of all laterals when they are 8–10cm in length at 2–3 node approximately 5–6 weeks after first pinch. This is generally done for late harvesting or delaying the flowering period. Generally 8–10 shoots are retained.

Generally single pinch, pinch-and-a-half methods produce excellent quality flowers. Double pinching delays the flowering and produces weak shoots.

Flower regulation

The main objective of a grower is to produce maximum number of excellent quality flowers at the time when the prices are high. Carnations produce flowers in flushes, as each set of lateral buds extends and terminates in a flower. A heavy flush of flowers over a shorter period is not desirable unless it is intended for a specific date such as Diwali, New Year and Valentine Day. A steady supply of flowers from hills is most profitable during mid-May–mid-November and December–February from plains. Time of flowering, duration of flush and subsequent flower production may be controlled by the growers. Under midhill conditions of Himachal Pradesh, flowers can be produced throughout the year.

Supplementary lighting

It is very effective for increasing stem length, flower size and early flower production and should be given with 100W incandescent bulbs hung at 1.5m above the beds at 1m spacing during November–January from dusk to dawn when light intensities are poor.

Growth regulators

There is a pronounced effect of growth regulators on flower production and regulation in carnation. Spraying of GA 3 (100ppm) twice at first pinch and when axillary shoots are 8–10cm in length, produce early flowering with long stems. However, application of BA (50ppm) at monthly intervals increases yield of cuttings. Spraying (twice) of Chamatkar (Mepiquat Chloride) (300ppm each), first when axillary shoots are 8–10cm in length and second at flower-bud initiation reduce calyx splitting, producing healthy stems.

Nutrition

Apply half N before planting and remaining half N one month later. Spray 0.1% urea and potassium nitrate (KNO 3 ) and 1ppm boron at 10 days interval till flowering.

Some micronutrients may also be required, depending upon type of soil and mineral content of irrigation water. The most likely micronutrients to be added are Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Mo and B. Periodic laboratory analysis of plant tissue is advisable to determine whether micronutrients are needed, and also whether the major nutrients are adequate. When liquid feeding is done, foliar analysis is mere satisfactory than soil analysis.

Aftercare

The plants should be supported by a network. The plastic nets having a mesh of 7.5–10cm supported by stakes of metal fixed at the corner of beds is an ideal method. Make 3–4 layers of mesh laid together on the soil surface; lower is made 15cm above the soil and upper layers are separated 20cm apart. As the plants grow, the stems must be constantly stalled or caged within the respective mesh opening to maintain straight stems. A modern supporting method either of wire or nets comprises 2 vertical posts at both ends, with cross bars at intervals. Lighter grade “ladder”, preferably of metal can also be set along the length of the bed 3.5–4m apart. It is convenient if the end ports are fitted into sockets so that they can be easily removed and replanted, and also strengthened by a stake taken down to the side of a bed. The first layer is laid after pinching of plants and others as the plants grow.

Disbudding is the removal of unwanted buds. All plants of standard carnations should be disbudded when terminal bud is 15mm in diameter and other buds below the terminal buds are large enough for easy removal. In spray types, the main flower (terminal) is removed to encourage lateral flower buds to develop. In deshooting, the unwanted shoots in the axil of leaves or flowering shoots are removed when they are 2–3cm long.

Irrigation

Water requirement is directly related to the soil radiation received by the plant. The growing medium for carnation needs to be kept near field capacity. So regular watering is required at least 2–3 times in a week in summer and 2–3 times in a fortnight during winter. Rooted cuttings need watering immediately after planting. Overhead sprinkler system is quite effective and economical than soil surface irrigation. The overhead system, if employed, should be discontinued when the flower buds appear and replaced by soil surface system.

The optimum moisture for the medium should be between 0.3 and 0.5 bar under low light levels, tension less than 0.3 bar produces soft elongated growth and low quality flowers. Water tension greater than 0.5 bar under high light intensities results in poor quality flowers.

Open crop yields 150–200 flowers/m 2 area, whereas greenhouse crop yields 300–400 flowers/m2. An additional 50% yield can be obtained in ratoon crop.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Carnations are highly responsive to postharvest treatments. Longevity of flowers can be increased 2–3 times with various postharvest treatments. 

Harvesting stage

The bud size and petal growth are generally used to judge the stage of harvesting. The flowers of standard carnation are cut when outer petals have unfolded nearly perpendicular to stem or at paint brush stage. Spray carnations are cut, when 2–3 upper flowers in the inflorescence are open and remaining buds are showing colour. In recent years, carnations are cut at tight-bud stage. As soon as flowers are harvested, keep them in water in a preservative solution. Cutting the flower stems leaving 3–4 nodes above the ground is required for growth of the ratoon crop following season. 

Grading

Just after harvesting, the flowers must be graded and bunched properly. Various standardized grades based on stem length, flower diameter, and physical condition of flower like stem sturdiness, free from diseases and insects, sleepiness, stem cracks, slabside, bullhead and calyx splitting should be considered while grading carnations. Grading in India is adopted as per the guidelines of the Society of American Florists. Each grade is bunched in a lot of 25 stems. About 600 stems of carnation weigh approximately 22kg.

Conditioning of flowers

Carnation flowers are highly sensitive to ethylene. The flowers after harvesting and grading should be pulsed with 10% sucrose + 1mm STS for 8–10hr before transportation to increase storability and vase-life of cut carnations. After pulsing, the flowers should be stored at 2°–4°C temperature and 95% relative humidity in water with a nutritive solution. This is necessary to prevent sleepiness in cut carnations.

Packaging and transportation

Carnations are packed in corrugated cardboard boxes. About 800 carnations are packed in a standard-sized carton (122cm × 50cm × 30cm). The boxes should be well-insulated. Bunches of 25 flowers are then packed in these boxes with one half of the total number of bundles oriented on each end of the container. Newspaper layers are placed between the layers to maintain high humidity and then when the container is filled, an insulated layer of paper is put across the box to cover the flowers completely.

Transportation should be done in a refrigerated van at 2°–4°C temperature to maintain the cool chain up to cargo. However, for local markets it should be done by trains, buses and trucks during night hours.

Marketing of its cut flowers is not organized. There is a great demand for carnations in Delhi and Bombay.

   
Physiological Disorders
Calyx-splitting is a major disorder in carnation. As the flower bud opens and petals approach their full size, the calyx may split down either half or completely. Calyx-splitting occurs in many carnation cultivars, due to low temperature (<10°C) during the growth of flower bud and an extra whorl of petals is developed inside the calyx. But the calyx is not able to contain these extra petals or petaloids and splits. Low nitrogen, high ammonical nitrogen or low boron levels also enhance calyx-splitting. Higher nitrate to ammonical nitrogen ratio during low periods are recommended to reduce splitting. Small rubber bands can be banded on the bud when it shows a small opening. The cultivars that are less prone to splitting are Espana, Cabaret, Red Corso, Pamir and Raggio-di-Sole. Slabside is another malformation during cool periods. The bud does not open evenly so that petals protrude on one side only, giving a lopsided shape to the flower. This problem can often be avoided in heated greenhouses but not when temperatures are too cool.
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Apiales
Family
:
Apiaceae
Genus
:
Daucus
 
Carrot is grown all over India. It is taken raw as well as in cooked form. It is made into pickles and sweetmeat. Carrot juice is a rich source of carotene and is sometimes used for colouring butter and other foods. Black carrot is used for the preparation of a beverage called kanji considered to be a good appetizer. Orange-coloured carrots are rich in carotene, a precursor of vitamin A and contain appreciable quantity of thiamine and riboflavin. The Asiatic types have more of anthocyanin pigments and less of carotene and may be less nutritive. Green carrot leaves are highly nutritive, rich in protein, minerals and vitamins and used as fodder and also for preparation of poultry feed. Main carrot-growing states are Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
   
Climate and soil  
The carrot is a cool-season crop though some of the tropical types tolerate quite high temperatures. The colour development and growth of the roots are affected by temperature. Carrot can be grown on all types of soils. It thrives best on a deep, loose, loamy soil. For early crop, a sandy loam soil is preferred but for high yield, deep, loose, loamy soil is desirable. The long, smooth, slender roots desired for fresh market can successfully be grown on deep well-drained light soils. Carrots grown on heavy soils are more rough and coarse than those grown on light sandy soils. The pH of 6.5 is ideal. Yields are extremely low at pH below this.
 
Varieties

There are 2 distinct groups of carrot—tropical or Asiatic and temperate or European. The temperate types form roots both under temperate and tropical climates but set seeds only under temperate conditions since they need low temperature of 5°–8°C for 40–60 days before flowering to break the dormancy. The Asiatic types are high-yielding, producing seed under tropical conditions. They are poor in carotene content and other quality attributes. The temperate types are biennial, whereas the tropical types are annual. Very little work has been done to improve the tropical types. A wide range of colour from black and red to yellow is found in this group. They are more juicy and have bigger core, a heavier top and can be grown much earlier than the other type. Important varieties commonly grown in the country are:
Tropical or Asiatic types
No. 29: It is a desi variety with long tapering light red and thin roots.
Pusa Kesar:It has red coloured roots and self-coloured core. Suitable for early sowing (from August to early-October), it matures in 90–110 days and yields 30 tonnes/ha. It contains 7,753mg carotene/100g fresh weight.
Pusa Meghali: It has orange flesh, self-coloured core and short top. It contains 11,571mg carotene/100g fresh weight. Suitable for early sowings (August– September), it gives a yield of 25–30 tonnes/ha. Produces seed in the plains.
Sel. 233: It has orange root with light orange core.
Two improved cultivars, HC 1 and HC 2 have also been recommended.
Temperate or European types
Chantenay: An excellent variety for canning and storage. Roots are conical to near conical, thick, attractive orange, smooth, thick at the shoulders with gradual tapering towards the distinct stumpy end. Core indistinct; flesh tender, sweet and fine textured.
Early Nantes: Almost cylindrical roots terminating abruptly in small, thin, tail, 12–15cm long, fine textured; orange flesh with self coloured core, maturity 90–110 days.
Imperator: Developed through hybridization, mid-season to late-maturing cultivar. Orange flesh and slightly distinct core.
Nantes Half Long: Cylindrical, stumpy roots, well-shaped with abrupt tail, orange scarlet with self coloured core, flesh sweet, fine grained with good flavour and orange scarlet in colour. It takes about 110–120 days for root formation.
Pusa Yamdagini: Orange flesh, self-coloured core, earlier by a week to 10 days than Nantes.
Zeno: Popular in Nilgiri hills, it has medium top and self-coloured core. The exposed portion of the roots become pinkish-green.
Early Horn and Early Gem Imperator are other cultivars.

   
Cultivation  

Land preparation
The field should be worked deep to a good tilth. If the soil is not thoroughly prepared and contains clods, quality roots cannot be produced. Root deformity usually occurs in fields which are under preparation. Land surface should be as smooth as possible before sowing. Excessive tillage should be avoided, since it is costly and affects soil structure adversely.
Sowing
Carrots are grown directly from seed in the field. The seed is sown on shallow ridges 30–45cm apart. In Asiatic types, the distance between ridges is kept 45cm. In temperate types, it should be 30cm. In the northern Indian plains, the tropical types should be sown from August to early-October and temperate types in October–December. In hills, March–July is the sowing time. In south and central India, seeds are sown during January–February, June–July and October–November. Successive sowing at 10–15 days interval ensures a continuous harvest. Shallow sowing about 1.5cm deep gives good germination. Germination is slow and usually 10–20 days are required for seedlings to appear. It is desirable that at the time of sowing sufficient moisture should be there or light irrigation should be given immediately after sowing. It is better to soak the seeds in water for 12–24hr before sowing to hasten germination. The seed @ 5–6kg/ha is optimum.
Manuring and fertilization
Application of 23 tonnes of well-rotten farmyard manure, 50kg N, 40kg P and 45kg K/ha is optimum. In the absence of organic manure, application of 80kg N, 60kg P and 60kg K/ha gives good yield. An application of 20–30 tonnes of farmyard manure, 25–60kg N, 25–50kg P and 90–110kg K/ha is also good depending upon fertility of soil. Apply half of N and full dose of P and K before sowing. Rest of N should be topdressed 45–50 days after sowing.
Aftercare
Thinning should be done for proper development. The seedlings are thinned to a distance of 4–5cm. The seedlings grow slowly at first, and cannot compete with weeds. Remove weeds especially in the early stages. The soil should be hoed time-to-time to allow proper aeration. To control the weeds spray Stomp @ 3.5 litres/ha immediately after sowing. Care should be taken that there is proper moisture at the time of application of Stomp. If moisture is less light irrigation can be given.
During weeding and hoeing, the crown of the roots is often exposed to light. This causes greening and lowers the quality of roots. For proper development of roots one earthing-up may be done during root formation.
Irrigation
After sowing keep the ridges moist till the germination is completed. Irrigate at 8–10 days intervals before wilting of leaves starts. Usually a light irrigation is given 2–3 days before harvesting. Insufficient moisture results in low yields. However, excessive amounts of water may decrease yield. Carrots should be irrigated before any wilting of leaves takes place.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The Asiatic (tropical types) carrots attain marketable stage of maturity when these are 2.5–4cm in diameter at the upper end. Delay in harvesting makes roots fluffy and unfit for consumption. Early carrots for market are pulled out when partly developed. They are normally dug out, with a spade or khurpi when the soil is sufficiently moist. The roots are trimmed and washed before sending them to market. Generally, Asiatic types produce higher yield (25–30 tonnes/ha), whereas European types produce around 10–15 tonnes/ha.
Fresh carrots cannot be stored for more than 3–4 days under ordinary condition. However, long-term storage in cold storage is possible without appreciable change in quality. At temperature of 0°–4.5°C with 93–98% relative humidity carrots can be stored for 6 months. Storage at 98–100% relative humidity results in less decay than at 90–95%. At higher humidity moisture loss is considerably less. As a result, the produce remains crisper, firmer and of better colour. The optimum temperature for minimizing decay is 0°–1°C. There is no change in the nutritive and organoleptic properties of carrots stored in crates covered with perforated plastic films at 0°C and 93–96% relative humidity for 7–8 months. The stored carrots yield juice of acceptable commercial quality.

   
Physiological Disorders

Splitting or cracking of carrot roots is a major problem in many carrot-growing areas. Although the tendency of splitting seems to be controlled by genetic factors, a number of other factors may be involved. The splitting is reduced by low N and increases as the amount of N in the soil increases. High soil concentration of ammonium compounds causes more serious splitting than by other forms of N. Carrot splitting is not affected by time of planting or variety. Wider the spacing, the greater is the amount of splitting and large roots are more likely to split than small ones. Irrigation and herbicides do not significantly affect the amount of splitting of carrot roots.
For seed production of tropical types in plains, sow the seed in September, harvest roots in December and January and immediately plant the selected roots. The seeds are harvested in May–June, the yield being 500–600kg/ha. 

Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 42
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Anacardiaceae
Genus
:
Anacardium
 
Cashew is cultivated widely throughout the tropics for its kernels. In India, it is grown in the west coast, east coast and a few maidani parts in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. The highest productivity is noticed in Maharashtra with 1.5 tonnes/ha.
   
Climate and soil  

Cashew tolerates wide range of ecological factors. The distribution of cashew is restricted to altitude below 700m where the temperature does not fall below 20°C for prolonged periods. However, best production is noticed up to the altitude of 400m with at least 9hr sunlight/day from December–May. Cashew grows well at reasonably high temperatures and does not tolerate prolonged periods of cold and frost especially during the juvenile period. However, temperature above 36°C between the flowering and fruiting period could adversely affect the fruit setting and retention.

Cashew can adapt very well to dry conditions as it is hardy and drought resistant. However, its varieties perform very well where at least a minimum of 600mm of rain is received in a year. Prolonged dry spells, frost, foggy weather and heavy rains during flowering and initial fruit setting adversely affect fruit set and production. Cashew is very sensitive to waterlogging and hence heavy clay soils with poor drainage conditions are unsuitable for its cultivation. Excessive alkaline and saline soils also do not support its growth. Otherwise, cashew grows in almost all soil types and performs very well in red sandy loams, laterite soils and coastal sands. Cashew comes up well when the soil pH is in acidic range. More than 8 pH is not suitable for its commercial cultivation. Though cashew is considered to be very hardy and drought resistant, it grows better where watertable is high. Cashew also responds well to supplementary irrigation during the summer months (June–March).
 
Varieties
About 33 varieties of cashew have been released. Most of them have a mean yield of 8–10kg/tree or 1 tonne/ha.
   
Propagation

A number of vegetative propagation methods have been tried for multiplication of cashew. Air-layering is easiest methods for its propagation. However, inadequate root system with low number of initial roots, poor field establishment, uprooting of air layers during the cyclone and susceptibility to drought conditions makes it unsuitable for commercial multiplication. In mound layering and stooling, absence of tap root is a disadvantage. Considerable success has been reported in epicotyl grafting but due to the poor realization of transplantable grafts and mortality in the nursery due to collar rot has made it commercially unproductive method. Soft wood grafting is most successful and commercially viable technique, giving 70% success rate. It is similar to that of epicotyl grafting, except the age of the rootstock.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Planting of soft wood grafts is usually done during monsoon season (July–August) both in the west coast and east coast. Therefore, land preparation such as clearing of bushes and other wild growth, digging of pits for planting should be done during pre-monsoon season (May–June).

A spacing of 7.5m × 7.5m or 8m × 8m is recommended for cashew (175 and 156 plants/ha). A closer spacing of 4m × 4m (625 plants/ha) in the beginning and thinning out in stages and thereby maintaining a spacing of 8m × 8m by the tenth year can also be followed. This enables higher returns during the initial years and as the trees grow in volume, the final thinning is done. However, in levelled lands it is advantageous to plant the grafts at a spacing of 10m × 5m, accommodating 200 plants/ha.

Normally cashew grafts are planted in pits of 60cm × 60cm × 60cm size. The size of the pit can be 1m × 1m × 1m if hard laterite substratum occurs in the subsoil. It is preferable to dig the pits at least 15–20 days before planting and expose them to sun so that the termites and ants, if any, which damage the roots of the grafts migrate. The pits should be dug with the onset of monsoon. They should be completely filled with a mixture of top soil, compost (5 kg) or poultry manure (2kg) and rockphosphate (200g). A small drainage channel of the elevated side of the pit is made to divert the rain water to the sides of the pit in slopy lands. In such areas, it is preferable to plant the grafts along with the contour. At the top of the pit, especially in the slopy areas, catch pits should be opened across the slope to trap rain water and also to prevent soil erosion.

Planting of grafts is done preferably during July–August. Usually, 5–12 months old grafts are used. The soil in the centre of the filled pit is scooped out. The polythene bag of the grafted plant is removed carefully without disturbing the ball of earth. Then the ball of earth is placed in the centre of the pit where the soil is scooped out. It is covered with soil and pressed gently. Care must be taken to see that the graft joint remains at least 5cm above the ground level at the time of planting. The grafted plant should be provided with a stake and tied with a plastic thread immediately after planting to avoid breakage at the graft joint. Staking should be continued during second and third year of planting also. Immediately after planting, the basin around the graft should be mulched with green leaves. This suppresses weed growth and conserves soil moisture.

Terracing and bunding

Cashew is commonly grown in slopy lands both in the west and east coast. Soil erosion and leaching of plant nutrients are generally expected under such situations. To overcome this problem, preparing terraces around the plant/tree trunk and opening of catch pits are highly essential. Therefore, cultural operations should be restricted to 1m depth and 2m radius around the trunk of the tree so that the applied nutrients are in the root zone. Before the onset of south west monsoon (May–June), terraces of 1.5m radius should be made during the second year of planting and this should be widened to 2.0m during the third year. Terraces are prepared by removing soil from the elevated portion of slope and it is spread to the lower side and a flat basin of 1.5m to 2.0m radius is made depending upon the age of the plant. Terraces may be crescent-shaped with slope of the terrace towards the elevated side of the land, so that the top soil which is washed off from the upper side due to rain water is deposited in the basin of the plant. A catch pit (200cm long × 30cm wide × 45cm deep) across the slope at the peripheral end of the terrace is made for withholding water during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon showers in slopy areas. A small channel connecting catch pit sideways is made to drain out the excess water during rainy season.

Training and pruning

The sprouts coming from the rootstock portion of the graft (below the graft joint) should be removed frequently during first year of planting. These sprouts usually cause death of the grafted scion and only the rootstock seedlings grow. This operation is absolutely essential during the first year of planting. Initial training and pruning of young plants during first 3–4 years is essential for providing proper shape. The trees are shaped by removing lower branches and water shoots coming from the base during first 3–4 years. Thereafter, little or no pruning is necessary. The plants should be allowed to grow by maintaining a single stem up to 0.75–1.00m from the ground level. Weak and criss-cross branches can also be removed. Proper staking of plants is required to avoid lodging due to wind during the initial years of planting. After 4–5 years of planting, the main stem may be detopped at a height of 4–5m from the ground level. Initial training and pruning of its plants facilitates terrace making, weeding, fertilizer application, nut collection and plant protection operations.

In older plantations, removal of dried/dead wood, criss-cross branches and water shoots, should be done at least once in 2–3 years. This allows proper growth of the canopy to allow adequate sunlight. Pruning of cashew plants should be done during August–September. The cut surfaces are smeared with Bordeaux paste.

The flower panicles emerging from the graft during first and second year of planting should be removed (deblossoming). The plants are allowed to flower and fruit only from the third year onwards.

Manuring and fertilization

Fertilizers and manures promote growth of the plant and advance the onset of flowering in young trees. Application of 10–15kg farmyard manure or compost/plant is beneficial. The current fertilizer recommendation for cashew is 500g N (1.1kg urea), 125g P 2 O 5 (625g rock phosphate) and 125g K 2 O (208g muriate of potash)/plant/year. However, cashew does respond to higher levels of N. The N level can be increased up to 750g. It is always advisable to use straight fertilizers instead of complex fertilizers which are being marketed. This is mainly due to the fact that recommended doses of NPK for cashew are not available among the complex fertilizers which are marketed nowadays.

The ideal period of fertilizer application is immediately after the cessation of heavy rains. Fertilizer are applied in a circular trench along with the drip zone (periphery of the canopy area). While applying the fertilizers, it should be ensured that adequate moisture is available in soil. The fertilizers should be applied in 2 split doses during pre-monsoon (May–June) and post-monsoon (September–October) periods. However, if single application is to be done, it should be during the post-monsoon season (September–October). One-third, two-thirds and full dose of fertilizers should be applied in the first three years.

In red loamy soils and in low rainfall areas (east coast), the fertilizers should be applied in circular bands at a distance of 0.5m, 0.7m, 1.0m and 1.5m away from the trunk during first, second, third and fourth year onwards of planting respectively. The fertilizer is raked into the soil. In laterite soils and soils of slopy land in heavy rainfall areas (west coast), the fertilizers should be applied in circular trenches of 25cm width and 15cm depth prepared at a distance of 0.5m, 0.7m, 1.0m and 1.5m away from the trunk during the first, second, third and fourth year onwards of planting respectively. The trenches should be closed immediately after the fertilizer application. Preferably apply mulch of green leaves for enhancing the fertilizer-use efficiency.

Irrigation

Cashew is grown under rainfed conditions. However in homestead gardens, supplementary irrigation during summers (January–March) at fortnightly intervals @ 200 litres/plant doubles the yield. In sandy soils, its plants are watered during summers after the north-east monsoon. The frequency and quantity of irrigation varies. Its plants do not withstand water stagnation. Therefore, a proper drainage in cashew orchards as well as in homestead gardens is essential.

Intercropping

Horsegram, cowpea, groundnut, etc. are grown in the interspaces. Casuarina is another tree crop planted at 1.5m × 1.5m spacing along with cashew. Crop combination of cashew, Casuarina and coconut is popular.

Cultivating pineapple as a biennial fruit crop gives an economic return during first 4–5 years. Growing it in trenches in interspaces across the slope is very much feasible and more profitable than growing tapioca and redgram. Growing perennial trees— Casuarina , acacia and subabul —as intercrops up to fifth year is also recommended.

Cover cropping

Leguminous cover enriches soil with the plant nutrients and adds organic matter, prevents soil erosion and conserves moisture. The seeds of these cover crops may be sown in the beginning of rainy season. Prepare seed beds of 30cm × 30cm size in interspace in slopy degraded soils by loosening soil and mixing a little quantity of compost. The seeds of these crops are sown in beds and covered with a thin layer of soil. The seeds should be soaked in water for 6hr before sowing.

Mulching

Since cashew is often planted in areas which are totally dry and unsuitable for cultivating any plantation crop, the availability of moisture is very low. Therefore, mulching is necessary to conserve soil moisture for a long period. The basins of cashew plants are mulched either with green leaves or dry leaves soon after planting. The green matter obtained during weeding may also be utilized for mulching.

Weeding

Careful weeding—clearing the area within 2m radius of the trunk and slashing the remainder—is essential until the trees shade out most of the weeds. Clearing of weeds is carried out twice a year. The first round of weeding may be done before the start of heavy rains by uprooting the weeds within the radius of 2m from the main stem and the remaining weeds in the interspaces are slashed to ground level. The second round of weeding may be done during November–December to facilitate spraying, harvesting and picking of nuts.

Alternatively, wherever labour is very costly, weedicides may be applied 15–20 days after a slashing, well before the start of heavy rains. Initially Agrodar-96 (2,4-D) @ 4ml/litre water and subsequently Gramoxone @ 5ml/litre water is sprayed. Approximately 400 litres solution is required for covering 1 ha crop. The same spraying is done once again in the post-monsoon season.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Cashew plants start bearing 3 years after planting. They provide full yield by tenth year and continue giving remunerative yields for a further period of 20 years. Cashew nuts are harvested during February–May. Only fully mature nuts should be harvested. Usually, the nuts are picked after they fall off from the trees. Best quality nuts are obtained where freshly fallen fruits are collected. The apples are removed and the nuts are sun-dried for 2–3 days to reduce moisture from 25% to below 9%. With proper drying, the kernels retain their quality, particularly the flavour. However, if cashew apples are used for processing, it is better to harvest them from the trees without damaging the apples. The mature nuts sink in water while the immature/unfilled ones float. This test could be used to find out whether the nuts are mature or not. The nuts should be collected at weekly interval in the season. Ripe apples for fresh use should be picked almost daily. The area under trees should be weed-free and swept clean to facilitate nut collection. On an average, a tree provides 2kg nuts at the age of 3–5 years, 4kg (6–10 years) to 5–10kg at 11–15 years and more than 10kg at 16–20 years.
Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 36
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Malpighiales
Family
:
Euphorbiaceae
Genus
:
Manihot
 
Cassava, popularly known as tapioca, produces more calories/unit area. Owing to drought tolerance/drought avoidance, wide flexibility to adverse soil, nutrient and management conditions, it is a very important tropical crop. The drought tolerance is mainly due to in-built mechanism to shed or drop the leaves under adverse soil moisture conditions to facilitate slow down of all vital activities of the plant. As cassava has not determined harvesting time after which it spoils, farmers can have a staggered harvesting rather than on a set date. This adds to the advantage in cassava-based cropping system. Being a photo-insensitive crop, cassava can be profitably cultivated throughout the year with irrigation.
   
 
Varieties

There are a number of varieties of cassava which are grown in different regions of the country. Most of these have been developed by the Central Tuber Crop Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram. Important varieties are described below.

Co 1

Its plants are medium-tall. Young stems are green with pink emerging shoot. Colour of tuber skin is brown, rind colour is creamy and flesh is white. It is ready for harvesting in 260–275 days, the yield being 30–35 tonnes/ha.

Co 2

The plants are highly branched with grey stems and white flesh. It matures in 260–275 days with a tuber yield of 35–40 tonnes/ha.

Co 3

It is branching type with dark brown skin, whereas the colour of flesh is white. The crop is ready for harvesting in 240–270 days. It produces tuber yield of 35–40 tonnes/ha.

H 97

The tubers are conical with light brown skin. The rind is cream-coloured and tuber flesh is white with 27–29% starch content. Its tubers are ready for harvesting 260–300 days after planting, the yield being 25–35 tonnes/ha.

H 165

The tuber is relatively short, without neck and conical in shape. Tuber skin is golden-brown and rind cream coloured. The tuber flesh is golden with a starch content of 23–25% on fresh-weight basis. It matures in 220–240 days, yielding 33–38 tonnes/ha.

H 226

Tubers are smooth, tuber rind light purple and flesh is white having a starch content of 28–30%. It is preferred by starch industry. It matures in 260–300 days, yielding 30–35 tonnes/ha.

KMC 1

The stems are erect, non-branching. The crop duration is 180–210 days, mean tuber yield 25–30 tonnes/ha. The tuber flesh is white and with starch content of 25–30%. It is an ideal intercrop in coconut gardens.

M4

Plants are tall, non-branching. Since cooking quality of the tubers is good, it is widely grown for edible purpose. It is a long-duration (300–320 days) crop, the yield being 20–25 tonnes/ha.

Nidhi

It is a clonal selection suited for sandy loam tracts. The stem is greenish-white, medium-tall, erect and non-branching. The crop duration is 180–210 days with mean tuber yield of 25 tonnes/ha.

Sree Harsha

It is a triploid variety. Stem is stout, tall and mostly non-branching. Leaves are thick and broad. It becomes ready for harvesting in 270–300 days with a tuber yield of 35–40 tonnes/ha. The starch content in its fresh tubers is 36–40%. It is ideal for industrial purposes.

Sree Prakash

Tubers are medium, necked, shallow bulking and radial in arrangement. It can be harvested 210–240 days after planting with a yield potential of 35–40 tonnes/ha. The fresh tubers have 29–31% starch.

Sree Sahya

Tubers are long, cylindrical and long necked. Tuber skin is light brown with cream-coloured rind. Tuber flesh is white with starch content of 29–31%. It becomes ready in 300–320 days; yielding potential of 35–40 tonnes/ha.

Sree Visakham

Tubers are conical in shape and compact in arrangement. Tuber skin in brown and rind is cream. Flesh is light yellow with a carotene content of 466 IU/100g. The starch content in fresh tubers is 25–27%. It becomes ready in 270–300 days, yielding 35–38 tonnes/ha.

   
Cultivation  

Under irrigated conditions, cassava can be planted throughout the year. As a rainfed crop, the best time of planting is April–May with the onset of pre-monsoon showers. The next best time for planting is August–September, with the onset of north-eastern monsoon showers. Proper tillage is essential for its successful cultivation. Loosening the soil to a depth of 20–25cm either by tractor ploughing or spade digging facilitates better rooting.

Different methods of land preparation, such as flat method, mound method and ridge method did not show any significant difference in yield. According to the situation different methods are being followed. In light-textured soils flat method of land preparation, in heavy-textural soils mound method and under irrigated condition ridge and furrow method of land preparation are recommended.

Planting material

Disease and insect pest-free planting material of 8–10 months maturity having a thickness of 2–3cm may be selected for planting. For better establishment and root yield, stakes obtained from bottom and middle portion of the stem after discarding one-third from the total length of the stem from the top, are preferred for the preparation of stakes. While preparing the stakes, it is better to have a smooth, circular, cut rather than an irregular cut for uniform callus formation and root initiation.

A stake length of 25–30cm is beneficial. Shallow planting facilitates production of more number of roots. When soil is sufficiently loose and friable, stakes can be planted to a depth of 5cm. Planting stakes deeper results in swelling of the mother stem, with consequent reduction in root size and yield. This is especially true when soil becomes compact.

Method of planting: Of the different methods of planting stakes—vertical (90 degrees to the ground), slanted (45 degrees angle) and horizontal—vertical planting results in more uniform formation of callus tissue around the cut surface, which helps in uniform distribution of tuber forming roots all round the base of the plant.

Spacing and plant population: Cassava genotypes are classified into branching, semi-branching and non-branching types. Non-branched types require 75cm × 75cm while semi-branched and branched types require 90cm × 90cm for optimum yield. Normally, one stake is planted/hill but planting 2 stakes/hill could improve the total tuber yield but reduce the tuber size affecting adversely the market quality of the tuber.

The sprouts emerging from the top buds are more vigorous than those emerging from the lower nodes of the stake. Removal of excess sprouts by retaining 2/plant at opposite sides is better for the production of more number of tubers/plant.

Gap filling: Under field condition, all the stakes planted may not establish due to poor quality planting material and adverse weather conditions. At the time of planting stakes in the main field about 5% of the stakes (600) may be planted separately at a very close spacing of 4cm × 4cm in a nursery (1m2) with pot watering so that the settlings at the age of 20–25 days old may be uprooted and used for gap filling.

Interculture and earthing-up

Interculturing is important especially in the early stage of the crop to control weeds and to improve physical conditions of the soil. Once the cassava plant puts forth enough canopy to cover the entire field, weeds do not generally become a problem. The first interculturing, sufficiently deep should be done at 45–60 days after planting and a shallow interculturing and earthing-up given one month after the first. The removal of excess sprouts, after retaining two at opposite sides can be done at the time of first interculture operation.

Manuring and fertilization

The cassava crop producing an yield of 30 tonnes/ha, removes 187kg N, 33kg P and 233kg K/ha. For high-yielding cassava, a basal dose of 12 tonnes farmyard manure/compost along with a fertilizer dose of 50kg N, 50kg P and 50kg K is recommended at the time of land preparation. A dose of 50kg N and 50kg P/ha should be applied along with the first intercultural operation 45–60 days after transplanting. For short-duration cassava and local types, a fertilizer dose of 75, 50 and 75kg N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O respectively as basal and 35kg each of N and K 2 O as topdressing is recommended.

Irrigation

In Kerala, cassava is mostly grown as a rainfed crop, whereas in Tamil Nadu it is grown under irrigated condition. For proper establishment of cassava stakes rooted cuttings, sufficient moisture should be ensured in the field for the first 20 days after planting. A stress-free condition always promotes higher tuber yield, as cassava has got a continuous growing period.

Under irrigated condition, scheduling of irrigation at 25% available moisture depletion throughout the growing season could double the tuber yield compared with the control. Supplementary irrigation during drought period significantly increases tuber yield over rainfed.

Intercropping

Cassava is grown mostly as a sole crop, especially in marginal and submarginal soils. Cassava stakes are planted at a spacing of 75–90cm on both ways and the crop slowly builds canopy during its early stage of growth. It requires two-and-a-half to three months to develop canopy to cover the field. The solar radiation available between the cassava rows at the early state of its growth can be well exploited by raising a short-duration crop. Intercropping leguminous and non-leguminous crops with cassava at 90cm × 90cm spacing results in more yield. However, application of required dose of fertilizers to both the crops results in a significant increase in tuber yield. The economic analysis of the cropping system indicates maximum returns when groundnut (bushy type) is intercropped with cassava. Other combinations are cassava with vegetable cowpea (bushy type) and French bean.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The crop is ready 10–11 months after planting. Short-duration varieties can be harvested 6–7 months after planting. Delay in harvesting may result in deterioration in cooking quality of the tubers. High-yielding varieties produce 35–40 tonnes/ha in 10–11 months, whereas short-duration ones (6–7 months) yield 28–30 tonnes/ha.

About 70% of the total cassava production is used as food either directly or in processed form. The most popular and traditional mode of consumption is in the form of cooked and mashed tubers. After removing the outer rind and inner core (thread like fibrous material in the centre of the tuber), fresh tubers are cut into pieces, cooked in boiling water, decanted, added salt to taste and eaten with fish or coconut gratings. Other methods of consumption are as chips fried in oil, sun- dried chips which are made into flour and used for preparations similar to those of rice or wheat flours. ‘Parboiled chips' is a method of processing cassava tuber for storage. These chips are harder than the plain sundried chips due to the partial gelatinization. They can be stored for a longer period than sundried chips. ‘Sago', is an important food product derived from cassava starch. It is consumed as a convalescence food in many parts of India. Cassava starch can also be used as industrial raw material for the production of alcohol, cattle feed and biodegradable plastic. 

Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Capparales
Family
:
Brassicaceae
Genus
:
Brassica
 
Cauliflower is the most popular vegetable among cole crops. It has small, thick stem, bearing whorl of leaves and branched tap root system. The main growing point develops into shortened shoot system whose apices make up the convex surface of curd, so the curd is a ‘prefloral fleshy apical meristem’. The eatable part, i.e curd is generally white in colour and may be enclosed by inner leaves before its exposure. Curd colour varies with the variety and environment. It may be white, cream-white, yellow, green or red. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Haryana and Maharashtra are major cauliflower-growing states. With the development of new varieties, it is now being grown in non-traditional areas—Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
   
Climate and soil  

Temperature affects vegetative, curding and reproductive phases of cauliflower. It can grow at an average temperature of 5°–8°C to 25°–28°C. During vegetative growth, some varieties may stand temperatures as low as –10°C and as high as 40°C for a few days. The optimum temperature for growth of young plants is around 23°C and 17°–20°C in later stages. In temperate regions, growth of young seedlings may cease when temperature is slightly above 0°C, while early varieties in plains and other tropical regions can grow well up to 35°C, they are capable of forming curds at around 30°C. Different varieties require specific temperature for curd development. If the temperature is higher, crop continues to grow vegetatively and if lower, it only forms small curds (buttons). For desirable curd development, plants must pass the juvenile phase and may attain certain optimum growth. This period varies from variety-to-variety and group-to-group. Higher or lower temperature for a particular variety or large fluctuation in temperature at the time of curd development may cause some disorders.
Cauliflower can grow on sandy loam to clayey loam soils which are well-drained and rich in nutrients. Fairly deep loam soils are ideal for growing cauliflower. Soil must be rich in organic matter. The soils with poor drainage should be avoided, especially for raising early and rainy season crops. This crop is sensitive to high acidity, puts good growth with soil reaction of 6.5pH. However, soil with a pH of 5.5–6.5 is optimum.

 
Varieties
There are 2 separate groups of cauliflower—tropical and temperate. Tropical group has a large number of varieties adapted to widely varying temperature conditions in different areas. On the basis of maturity and temperature requirement for curd initiation and development, cauliflower can be divided into 4 groups. Of these, 3 groups are typical Indian cauliflowers, while the fourth is of Snowball, Erfurt or Alpha types. Seeds of Indian cauliflower can be produced in plains of northern India, but Snowball types set seed only in the hilly regions of India.
   
Cultivation  

Raising of nursery
Cauliflower is propagated through seed. Healthy nursery is very important to raise a good crop. Time of sowing depends upon cultivar and temperature requirement for curd formation. The nursery of the group I needs special care because temperature is not very congenial at that time. The width of beds of this group should not be more than 60cm, so that water can easily percolate up to the middle portion from the broader channels, made in between beds. Nursery should be covered with sirkis to protect young seedlings from dry and hot winds. The channels may be filled with water every evening. The nursery of October and November maturity groups needs protection from heavy downpour. Therefore, seedlings should be raised in plastic tunnels. The nursery of December and Snowball group is comparatively easy to raise because of the favourable climatic conditions during that period. Raised nursery beds (15cm high) should be prepared to facilitate proper drainage.
The nursery beds should be thoroughly prepared by adding well-rotten farmyard manure or compost @ of 10kg/m2. They should be treated with 0.3% solution of Captan of Thiram (5 litres/m2). Seeds can be sown immediately after the treatment. Treating nursery beds with formalin may be avoided due to its adverse effect on seedlings in the initial stage.
Before sowing, seeds should be treated with Captan or Thiram (3g/kg) or Bavistin (2g/kg) to get rid of fungal diseases. However, to control seed-borne diseases hot-water treatment at 50°C for 30 minutes is the only remedy. About 450–700g seed for early types and 300–500g for mid and late types is sufficient to raise crop for a hectare. The seeds are sown in furrows 7–8cm apart. After sowing cover the seed with a mixture of fine soil and sieved farmyard manure and cover the beds with dry grass before watering. In the initial stage, the watering should be done by can and afterward through channels. The grass cover should be removed as soon as the seedlings start emerging. The drenching of nursery with Captan or Thiram (0.2%) prevents post-emergence damping off.
Transplanting
The seedlings are ready 3–6 weeks after sowing. In early maturity, 5–6 weeks old seedlings and in mid season and late types 3–4 weeks old seedlings should be transplanted. The seedlings of September and October group are transplanted in early-July and August respectively. The mid-season varieties are transplanted in September–October, while late, Snowball types during first week of November in north Indian plains.
The transplanting distance varies according to variety and time of planting. Transplanting of September group is recommended on ridges at a spacing of 60cm × 30cm. For mid-season and late varieties, a planting distance of 60cm × 40cm is ideal.
In tropical areas, a dose of 60–150kg N, 50–80kg P, 60–120kg K along with 40–70 tonnes of farmyard manure/ha is recommended. In northern and central India, application of 150kg N and 60kg P is recommended. Half of N and whole of P and K should be applied as a basal dose and the rest of N in 2–3 split doses. Weekly spraying of 1–2% urea 20 days after transplanting is advised for good growth.
Dipping of cauliflower seedling roots at transplanting in IBA (1mg/litre) + starter solution of ammonium sulphate and superphosphate (1:2) induces earliness increasing curd yield. Combined foliar spraying of GA (100mg/litres), NAA (120mg/litre) and Mo (2g/litre) enhances the total yield. Similar increase in yield may be obtained by spraying of GA (50mg/litre) and urea (1g/litre).
Aftercare
Cauliflower is a very sensitive crop and any check in its growth at any stage results in buttoning. Crust formation after first irrigation is more common in heavy soils, hindering water and air penetration to the roots thereby affecting adversely its growth. During the rainy season, when the crop is raised on ridges, adequate earthing-up is essential so that the roots are not exposed. Application of N along with earthing-up is more useful. Hoeing and weeding operations should not be deep to avoid injury to the shallow root system. The weed problem is very serious in this crop because of wider spacing, frequent irrigation and high fertility. Preplanting application of Stomp (Pendimethalin) or Basalin (Fluchloralin) @ 2.0–3.0kg/ha helps control weeds. Application of weedicide supplemented with one or two hand-weedings is enough to keep the crop weed-free.
Irrigation
First irrigation is given just after transplanting of the seedlings. The number and frequency of irrigations depend upon weather, soil type and variety. However, optimum water supply is must both during growth and curd formation stages. For early and mid-season groups, irrigation depends upon intensity of the monsoon. As ridge planting is recommended in both the groups, irrigations is given in furrows. However, 5–8 irrigations are generally required for cauliflower crop. Heavy irrigation results in water stagnation which is very harmful to crop.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Cauliflower is harvested when curds are compact, attain proper size and retain original colour. Delayed harvesting results in non-marketable, loose and discoloured curds. Medium-sized, white and compact curds are mostly preferred in the market. The plant is cut well below the curd with a sharp cutting knife, sickle or ‘khurpi’. The trimming of leaves depends upon the mode of packing and transportation. When packing is done in crates, most of the leaves are removed leaving small portion of the stalk close to the curd surface. While transporting in gunny bags, the inner leaves covering the curd surface are left intact and outer leaves are removed. In loose transportation more number of leaves are retained and trimmed only after their unloading in the market.
There is now greater demand for pre-packed fresh vegetables in super markets and major stores. Use of polythene packing provides modified atmosphere and consequently reduces decaying, softening, loss of total solids and weight. Consumer package of cauliflower should be ventilated which not only helps in vacuum cooling but also prevents CO2 injury. Thin and gas permeable film consumer packages maintain cauliflower flavour for a longer period.
The yield varies greatly depending upon the variety and time of maturity. The early-maturing varieties have an average yield of 60–100q/ha. However, mid and late varieties (maturing during November–February) yield 250–300q/ha.

Blanching is a method to protect the curds from attaining yellow colour after their direct exposure to sun. This is quite common in early-mid season varieties having spreading and open plant types. The blanching may be done by placing the leaf on the curd or tying the tips of leaves immediately after the curd exposure. But precaution must be taken while following the practice, because of covering or tying for a longer period results in the elongation of florets and loose curds with poor market value. Most of the late types commonly known as snowball type have self-blanched habit.
   
Physiological Disorders

Cauliflower suffers from a number of physiological disorders, which manifest in different types of disease syndromes. Some may be genetically controlled, whereas others may be due to environmental, organic and inorganic nutritional imbalance.
Riceyness
When the surface of the curd is loose and has velvety appearance due to elongation of pedicel and formation of small white flower buds at the curding stage, such curds are called ricey. Apart from fluctuating and unfavourable temperature, heavy application of N and high humidity may cause riceyness. Selection of proper varieties for a particular time of cultivation, optimum application of nitrogenous fertilizer and planting of resistant and tolerant varieties help minimize this condition.
Fuzziness
Fuzziness appears as flower pedicels of velvety curds elongate. It may be hereditary or non-hereditary. Cultivation in abnormal times encourages fuzziness. Sowing at normal time minimizes fuzziness.
Leafy curds
Development of small green leaves (bracts) inside the segments of the curd makes them leafy. Prevalence of high temperature especially after curd initiation or fluctuation in temperature at curding stage aggravates leafy curds. Selection of proper varieties may help reduce it.
Blindness
During the early stage of plant growth, damage to growing point by insects, low temperature or frost causes blindness. Plants grow without terminal bud and fail to form any curd. The leaves of blind plants become thicker and leathery owing to accumulation of carbohydrates. Damage of growing point by insects may be avoided by proper spraying of insecticides.
Buttoning
Development of small curds in young plants and fewer, less developed leaves is known as buttoning. Deficiency of nitrogen, water stagnation in field, transplanting of old seedlings, planting early type cauliflowers under lower temperature are causes for it. Identifying exact cause helps overcome this malady. This crop is very sensitive and any check during its early vegetative growth also results in buttoning.
Chlorosis
Chlorosis shows an interveinal, yellow mottling of lower older leaves. Since cauliflower has a high magnesium requirement, its deficiency cause chlorosis when grown on high acidic soil. This can be corrected by applying magnesium oxide @ 300kg/ha. Liming soil and use of chemical fertilizer containing soluble magnesium also keeps this in control.
Hollow stem
In heavy fertilized soils, particularly with nitrogen, rapidly growing plants of cauliflower develop hollow stem and curd. It may be corrected by close spacing and optimum use of nitrogenous fertilizers.
Browning (brown-rot or red-rot)
Water-soaked, light brown to dark brown spots formed on stems and curds lead to the formation of hollow stem and brown colour of curd. Caused due to deficiency of B, it is corrected by its application.
Whiptail
Deficiency of molybdenum especially in acidic soils causes whiptail in cauliflower. Normal leaf blade development fails, and only strap like savoyed leaves are formed. In extreme cases, only midrib develops, hence the name ‘whiptail’ is given to this disorder. Whiptail can be corrected by liming the soil and application of molybdenum. 

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 22
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Apiales
Family
:
Apiaceae
Genus
:
Apium
 
Celery is cultivated for its fleshy leaf stalk. The commercial cultivation is done in very limited area in India. It is usually grown in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Its leaf stalk or petals are eaten raw as salad and rarely used as cooked vegetable (see under Aromatic Plants also). Mostly it is used for flavouring vegetable juices and soups. Its seeds are also used as condiment, spices as well as in medicines.
   
Climate and soil  

It can be grown well in a relatively cool climate with humid conditions. The moderate and well-distributed rains favour its proper growth during early vegetative phase. However, it can be raised successfully in dry conditions having regular irrigations.
The mild temperate conditions are also well suited for its cultivation. The exposure to high temperature causes bitterness in its leaves. The crop bolts when temperature falls below 15°C. Celery thrives well on loamy soils. However it can be grown on any good soil. It is slightly sensitive to acid soils, hence a pH of 6.6 is optimum.

 
Varieties

In celery, there are 2 types of varieties—self-blanched or yellow and green leaved. Green leaved varieties are preferred in the Indian market. Florida Golden and Golden belong to self-blanched, whereas Wright Grove Giant, Fort Hook Emperor and Standard Beared are green-leaved varieties.
Fork Hook Emperor
This is a late variety having dwarf and stocky, solid, white, thick, broad and tender leaves.
Standard Beared
An early variety having medium-tall plants, medium pink stems with white longitudinal streaks, sticks solid, good sized.
Wright Grove Giant
This is high-yielding, tall, medium-late variety, producing large, white stalks of fine quality.

   
Cultivation  

The field should be prepared properly by ploughing and planking. The top soil should be well-pulverized and levelled.
Celery is mainly propagated by seed. About 100–125g of seed is sufficient to raise seedlings for a hectare. Normally, seedlings are raised. However, direct sowing can also be done under irrigated conditions. August–September is sowing time in plains as well as lower hills. In temperate regions, sowing is done during August–September as well as in March–April. Seed germination is good when temperature is 15°–20°C. Seedlings should be planted after proper hardening at a spacing of 60cm × 20cm. The spacing within rows can be reduced to 10cm under rich soils.
Manuring and fertilization
A fertilizer dose of 20 tonnes of farmyard manure, 200kg of N, 100kg of P2O5 and 150kg K2O is applied per hectare.
Irrigation
It requires frequent irrigations with proper drainage. The later irrigations are given after every topdressing of nitrogenous fertilizers.
Interculture
Since celery is a long duration crop, proper weed control is necessary. Mulching with hay or alkathene is also useful to prevent weed growth. Light hoeings should be done regularly and lateral shoots of the plants should also be removed. Pre-plant application of Linuran @ 14.8kg/ha control weeds effectively.
In celery, proper blanching is usually done to make the crop crisp, reduce acrid flavours, increase good flavour and tenderness. Blanching is the process of excluding light from the leaf stalk which checks the development of chlorophyll.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Celery can be harvested at different stages of plant growth depending upon the market demand. Tender leaves should be harvested along with the stalk in May in plains, while during November and April–May in the hills. It yields about 330–560q/ha.
Properly blanched produce is sent to market after harvesting in suitable packing. Celery is generally stored in trenches or cold storage (0°C at 95–98% relatively humidity). As celery absorbs other flavour so it should be stored in an isolated place. This can be stored in cold storage for a period of 2–3 months. Celery can be preserved well in cans after proper blanching.

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 42
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Asterales
Family
:
Asteraceae
Genus
:
Matricaria
 

Chamomile is a recently-introduced aromatic plant from Central Europe. It is grown in small area in north-central parts of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Chamomile flowers yield a blue coloured essential oil which is traditionally employed in manufacturing of pain-relieving balms. It is also used in scenting of shampoos, pomades, face-creams and liquors. It is also used in flavouring of ice-creams, candies, chewing-gum and baked foods. Owing to anti-phlogistic properties, it is considered useful in toning gastro-intestinal system. In Central Europe, its flowers are part of herbal tea, where it acts as mild sedative and digestive and provides relief in cough and cold. Its demand in India is on the rise and part of it is met by importing its oil.

Chamomile is a small annual herb, growing 60–90cm in height at flowering. It bears pinnatifid narrow linear leaves. It produces flowers arranged in terminal heads 1.5–2.5cm in diameter and protandrous in nature. Each flower head is made up of 10–20 ray florets, white to yellowish in colour surrounded by dusty green to yellow tubular disc florets. A single head produces 40–50 seeds (achenes), yellow to brownish in colour and very light in weight. Usually, tetraploid cultures are preferred for cultivation because these produce higher flower yield. However, diploid cultivar Soraksar 60 also gives good flower yield in Himachal Pradesh.

Its crop has a wide adaptability to soil and climatic conditions. It is a temperate plant. It is grown as summer crop in hills, whereas it is grown with as little care as a cold season crop in the Indo-Gangetic plains. It tolerates a high degree of soil salinity and can stand drought conditions. A luxuriant vegetative growth of its crop is obtained under mild cool climate, whereas warm dry weather is needed during reproductive phase if grown on medium fertile, well-drained light to moderately heavy–textured soils. The crop is raised through seeds sown in nursery during September–October in plains and late-December in hills. For nursery, 4m × 1.25m beds, are prepared and soil is mixed with high amount of farmyard manure and organic matter. Twenty such beds provide enough seedlings to plant one hectare crop. Seed rate of 1 kg/ha is enough. About 50g seeds are sown in a bed in rows 10–15cm apart. Nursery beds are kept moist through 8 light irrigations and sprinklers are preferred as these eliminate possibility of silting or sweeping of light seeds with water.

The seeds germinate in 15–20 days. The seedlings are ready for planting in 8 weeks. The land be given 2–2.5 tonnes/ha of farmyard manure before planting. Planting in February in midhills produces maximum flower yield with high oil content. The spacing is given as 30cm × 30cm over low fertility soils and 40cm × 40cm in medium fertile lands because of the crop spread. An application of 60, 30 and 30kg N, P and K is recommended. The crop is given 2 intercultures and 3–4 irrigations. Light alluvial soils of Gangetic plains need 5–7 irrigations. The crop blooms from February to mid-April in plains and May–June in the hills.

Fully open flowers are picked at weekly intervals on sunny days. The harvested fresh flowers are spread in thin layer over drying sheds in shade for rapid drying at 20°–24°C. Fresh flower yield is 6 tonnes/ha, whereas 2.5–3.5 tonnes/ha is recorded in saline lands (Lucknow). The air-dried flower yield is 1–1.5 tonnes/ha. These are distilled in a steam distillation unit producing blue oil. The oil yield varies widely from 0.3 to 1.3% depending upon culture used, fertility of soil, climate at reproductive stage and drying condition. However, on an average, 0.5–0.8% oil content is obtained. The oil has high chamazulene content, which imparts the oil its blue colour. 

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 16
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Rosales
Family
:
Rosaceae
Genus
:
Prunus
 
Cherry is confined to Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and hills of Uttar Pradesh in India. A delicious fruit, cherry is rich in protein, sugars, and minerals. It has more calorific value than apple. Due to higher return, cherry is gaining popularity in temperate regions of the country.
   
Climate and soil  
Sweet cherry requires colder climate. It is grown successfully in areas between 2,000 and 2,700m above mean sea-level, requiring 1,000–1,500hr chilling period during winters. Climate of Jammu and Kashmir, high hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is ideal for its commercial cultivation. Cherry blossom is very sensitive to spring frost, therefore frost-free sites of hill slope and valley areas with an outlet for the cold air are preferred. Since southern and south-western aspects are warmer, they should not be selected at lower elevations. Generally, north-eastern aspects are most suitable for cherry cultivation. An annual rainfall of 100–120cm, well-distributed throughout the year is desirable but high rainfall during flowering results in heavy blossom wilt. At the time of fruit ripening heavy rains causes fruit cracking. Therefore, it should be dry at the time of fruit ripening. A well-drained deep sandy loam soil with pH 6.5–7.0, which can hold moisture during summer are most suitable. The cherry plant is very sensitive to waterlogging, so heavy soil should be avoided.
 
Varieties

About 120 varieties are available. Most of them belong to sweet cherry group. All varieties are divided into 2 groups. They are:

Heart group

Fruit is heart-shaped having soft and tender flesh. Colour of fruit varies from dark with reddish juice to light coloured with colourless juice.

Bigarreau group

Fruit roundish, colour of fruit and juice varies from dark to light red.

Sam, Summit, Sue, Sunbrust, Lapins, Compact Stella and hybrid (13–17–40) are new promising varieties.
   
Propagation

Locally known ‘Paja' ( Prunus cerasoides ), is commonly used as a rootstock for sweet cherry in Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir and hills of Uttar Pradesh. But it has completely failed due to delayed incompatibility. The plants raised on this rootstock grow well for 8–9 years. After that their growth declines and plants completely die after 14–15 years. In some areas of Himachal Pradesh wild bird cherry ( Prunus padus ) is also used as a rootstock. Seedlings of mahaleb ( P. mahaleb ) are commonly used as a rootstock in Jammu and Kashmir. Clonal rootstocks—Colt and Mazzard F12/1—have been found promising. These are recommended for raising dwarf sweet cherry plants in Himachal Pradesh.

Seedling rootstock

Seedlings of paja, mahaleb and mazzard are used for raising sweet cherry plants in India. Seeds of paja do not require chilling treatment to break dormancy but seeds of mahaleb and mazzard require stratification before sowing. Seeds are extracted from fully ripe fruits. They are dried and stored in a cool place. Seeds are soaked in 500ppm GA 3 for about 24hr, then they are stratified by placing between the layers of sand in a cool place at 2°–4°C for 80–120 days for mahaleb and 120–50 days for mazzard to break seed dormancy. During stratification, the medium is kept moist. As the embryonic root comes out from seed coat, these are transplanted 6cm deep and 10–15cm apart in rows spaced at 20–25cm in nursery beds. The nursery beds are mulched with 10–15cm thick hay and irrigated lightly. Mulch material is removed when seedlings attain 5–6cm height. The nursery should be watered twice a week and kept weed-free.

Clonal rootstock

In Himachal Pradesh, Colt and Mazzard F 12/1 clonal rootstocks are commercially recommended for raising its plants as trees on paja show symptoms of delayed incompatibility. Colt is semi-dwarf, compatible with almost all varieties of sweet cherry, has good anchorage, and is resistant to gummosis, crown-rot, moderately resistant to stem-pitting virus and bacterial canker but susceptible to oak-root fungus. Mazzard F 12/1 is semi-vigorous and difficult-to-root.

Mound or stool layering is the common method of clonal rootstock multiplication. The stoolbeds are established during December by planting healthy mother plants 30–45cm apart in rows spaced at 60–70cm. Before new growth starts, the mother plants are cut back to 2.5cm above the ground level. New shoots develop on the stub in the spring. When the shoots are 25–30cm long, their bases are covered with a mound of soil or saw-dust, building the mound to a height of 20–25cm as the shoots grow during spring. The suckers are ringed at the base and then covered with soil to encourage rooting. In difficult-to-root Mazzard F12/1 rootstock, IBA (7,500ppm) is applied to the ringed portion of the shoots during summer. The shoots are separated in winter and then lined out in the nursery beds. If the suckers are well-rooted and more than 0.8cm in diameter, they are grafted in the spring, otherwise they are kept in the bed for a year to produce strong plants for grafting.

Colt rootstock is easy-to-root and can be multiplied through cuttings. Hardwood cuttings of 30–45cm length and of pencil thickness are taken in February. Cuttings are treated with IBA (2,550ppm) for 10 seconds and planted in nursery beds for rooting. Rooted cuttings are lined out in December and grafted with scion variety in March.

Cherry plants are propagated mainly through grafting. Tongue grafting during February–March is recommended, which gives a bud-take of more than 90%. For grafting, the scion wood is collected during winter when the buds are dormant.

Scion wood is packed in moss grass and then wrapped in moist gunny bags. These packed bundles of scion wood are stored at 2°–4°C till these are used for grafting.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

In India, cherry cultivation is confined to hilly areas on slopy lands. The planting is done on contour or terrace system. However in valley areas, square system of layout is recommended for the establishment of an orchard. The planting distance depends upon the soil fertility and the rootstock used. A spacing of 6m × 6m is recommended for plants raised on seedling rootstock. However, planting distance of 4m × 4m is recommended for plants raised on Colt rootstock in Himachal Pradesh.

Pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size are dug and filled with a mixture of 35–40kg farmyard manure and half kg superphosphate one month before planting. The pits are filled at least up to 15cm above the ground level. December–January is the planting time.

Pollination

Since most of the cherry varieties are self- sterile, they need cross-pollination. There are many cross-incompatible groups and the varieties within a group should not be planted together without a pollinizer. Pollination problem in sweet cherry is very complex because most of the varieties are not only totally incompatible with their own pollen, but also with the pollen of some other varieties. Care should be taken to see that not only their flowering period overlaps, but they also do not have the same sterility alleles. The varieties which have the same sterility alleles if planted together will not set fruit and require at least one other variety having different sterility allele for better fruit set. The universal donor varieties—Stella, Vista, Vic, Seneca and Vega—can be planted with any variety to get good fruit set provided their flowering period overlaps. For maximum pollination, planting should be done in such a manner that plants of one variety face the other in the planting arrangement. Besides, 2–3 bee hives/ha are recommended in a cherry orchard for better pollination and fruit set.

Training

Cherry trees are trained on modified leader system. Plants are headed back at about 60–80cm at the time of planting. The central leader is retained and 3–5 wide-angled branches, 20–25cm apart spirally around the tree are selected in first dormant pruning. The lowest branch should be 40–60cm above the ground level. The selected scaffold branches are headed back to minimum and only one-fourth of the growth is pruned off. In second dormant pruning, 3–4 well-spaced main branches are selected whose one-fourth growth is pruned off and on each main scaffolds well-spaced 3–4 secondary branches are selected. After 3–4 years, central leader is headed back and lateral branches are allowed to grow, resulting in the development of a strong and moderately spreading tree.

Pruning

Cherry plants require more corrective pruning rather than too much heading back of the branches. Bearing trees need some pruning to keep the centre of the tree open. The top is kept fairly low, to generate new growth. Pruning is restricted to eliminating the dead, diseased and intercrossing branches. Fruits are borne laterally on spurs of one-year-old shoot. The average productive life of these spurs is 1–12 years, requiring less spur renewal pruning.

Manuring and fertilization

Cherry requires all the essential nutrients for better growth and quality fruits. Since fruit development and vegetative growth occurs simultaneously, it has high demand for mineral nutrients. The amount of manure and fertilizer to be applied is influenced by the age or size of tree, soil types and fertility, cultural practices and anticipated fruit yield.

Farmyard manure should be applied in December along with a full dose of superphosphate and muriate of potash. Half dose of N is applied in spring before flowering and the other half one month later. Fertilizers are broadcast in tree basin about 30cm away from the tree trunk.

Aftercare

Cherry orchards are maintained under permanent sod with a clean basin management. The basins are kept clean by hand-weeding or using weedicides. Application of Diuron 4kg/ha as pre-emergence and Paraquat (0.5%) as post-emergence are recommended to supress the growth of weeds for 4–5 months. Mulching tree basin in April with 10–15cm thick hay also helps control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Green manuring crops—bean, pea, red clover and white clover—can also be grown in tree basins to improve soil texture and fertility.

Irrigation

Due to slopy lands and non-availability of irrigation water, cherry is grown under rainfed conditions in our country. The distribution of rainfall throughout the year is uneven and owing to less rainfall during April–May, its plants should be watered frequently. Irrigating its trees at weekly intervals during fruit growth and development is recommended for better fruit size and quality.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
The yield and quality of cherry is appreciably affected by the stage of maturity at which fruits are harvested. Early-picking results in flat fruits with less yield as cherries usually develop rapidly in the last few days before maturity is reached. Harvesting of over-ripe fruit results in loss of weight, volume and quality. Determination of degree of maturity should be employed as a guide for harvesting of fruits. Colour development, TSS and flavour are the best standards for judging the optimum time of harvesting. Fresh fruits are picked with stem when the surface colour changes from green to red. While for processing, fruits are picked without stem. The average yield is 15–20kg/tree. The fruits are packed in boxes lined with paper. Generally, 5kg boxes are used for packing.
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Solanales
Family
:
Solanaceae
Genus
:
Capsicum
 
Chilli is valued for its diverse commercial uses. Only a few perennial chilli varieties characterized by small-sized pods and high pungency are rarely cultivated commercially belong to C.frutescens. India is a major producer, exporter and consumer of chilli. Indian chillies reach over 90 countries in the world, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Canada, Italy, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, USA and UAE being the leading importing countries. In India, chilli is grown in almost all states. Andhra Pradesh has been the largest chilli-growing state followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra. Productivity of chilli is the highest in Andhra Pradesh, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Punjab. The productivity of chilli in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab is higher since the crop is raised under irrigated conditions compared with Maharashtra and Karnataka.
   
Climate and soil  

Chilli prefers a warm humid climate during early stages and a dry weather towards the maturity of pods. It is grown in both tropical and subtropical areas up to 2,000m above mean sea-level. As a rainfed crop, it is grown in areas receiving an annual rainfall of 75–100cm. Excessive rainfall causes defoliation and rotting. In north India, chilli is grown in kharif and summer seasons as the crop does not withstand the low temperature in winter. But in south India, due to the mild winter chilli is grown in all the 3 seasons. June–October is the major chilli-growing period in south India. The dry chilli is mainly grown as a rainfed crop. During the growing period which extends over 4 months maximum temperature ranging from 20°–30°C and a minimum temperature not below 10°C is ideal. High temperature during summer accelerates flower and fruit drop causing poor fruit set. The rain during November results in the incidence of powdery mildew which causes heavy defoliation. The fruit colour is affected at temperatures below 15°C. Low moisture during flowering also causes a heavy reduction in yield during summer.
Chilli is grown in many types of soils—sandy to heavy clay. A well-drained, fairly light fertile loam with a fair moisture-holding capacity is ideal. Poor and medium quality land produces good early crop, if managed properly. Heavy soil is not suitable for raising the rainy season crop. Water stagnation prevailing for more than 24hr leads to the death of chilli plants. The light soils produce better quality fruits than heavy soils. Chilli crop prefers a soil reaction ranging from pH 6–7. However it is grown on soils of pH 5 in coastal areas to pH 9 in vertisols in India. In acidic soils liming is beneficial.

 
Varieties
There is a large variation in fruit colour, shape and size in chilli. Varieties having thin pericarp, low seed content and strong spike are suitable for dried chilli. These are elongated type in this category. Local cultivars from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are still popular among farmers. Many cultivars have been recommended for cultivation. A number of F1 hybrids have also been released from private companies. Of the hybrids Agni and ARCH 228 are high-yielding.
   
Cultivation  

Raising seedlings
Time of sowing and transplanting depends upon temperature, rainfall and availability of irrigation facilities. Generally, chilli is raised by transplanting but in some areas direct seeding is also practised for production of dry ripe chilli. Very light seeds of chilli remain viable for 2 years. Extracting seeds one week before is beneficial. About 1.5kg seed is enough for planting a hectare. Nursery beds should be made near partially shaded areas. The seeds are sown thinly in lines spaced 5cm apart. Sand and well-decomposed compost are sprinkled over the seeds. Mulching with paddy straw soon after sowing conserves moisture. The mud should be removed as soon as the seeds start germinating. Heavy watering should be avoided in the nursery. Drenching with copper oxychloride at fortnightly intervals keeps damping off under control. A foliar spray of 1% urea is helpful for inducing quick growth. The seeds germinate in 6–10 days. Seedlings become ready for transplanting 40–45 days after sowing.
The main field should be ploughed 3–4 times to get a fine tilth. Farmyard manure is incorporated during the last ploughing. For irrigated crop during summer season, ridges and furrows are made. In summer, planting should be done on ridges, while in rainy season it is better on ridges. Shade should be given during summer season for 1 week period.
In Maharashtra and Karnataka, a spacing of 75cm × 75cm or 90cm × 90cm is generally practised. Whereas in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, a closer spacing of 45cm × 45cm or even closer is followed. For tall chilli Sunkeshwar and Badyagi grown widely in Maharashtra and Karnataka wider spacing is followed. The short-statured chilli Jwala and NP 46 A require a spacing of 60cm × 45cm. Generally closer spacing is ideal in light soils. Heavy soils like black cotton soil require a wide spacing for enabling inter cultivation. In Tamil Nadu, closer spacings of 30cm × 30cm and 30cm × 20cm give higher yields if N is applied @ 120kg/ha. For rainfed chilli cultivation, closer spacing of 90cm × 20cm is recommended.
Manuring and fertilization
Chilli responds well to the application of fertilizer both in irrigated and rainfed areas. Sub-optimal levels of major nutrients often lead to deficiency symptoms in chilli. In deficiency of N, plants become stunted with pale-green leaves. Older leaves become smaller and uniformly pale-green. In severe cases, leaves are bleached from margins inwards until finally the entire leaf is bleached to pale-white. In P-deficient plants, leaves are small and bluish-green in the beginning, later they turn dirty whereas in K deficient plants, leaves are normal green but smaller in size with crinkled surface. Foliar symptoms start with the appearance of very small whitish necrotic spots dispersed over entire lamina in the older leaves.
Since chilli has a long growing season, it needs application of manures and fertilizers judiciously. Usually, farmyard manure @ 25–30 tonnes/ha is incorporated before transplanting. Heavy application of organic manures is followed in irrigated areas. Heavy application of nitrogenous fertilizers may increase vegetative growth and delay maturity. The fruit yield (fresh and dry weight) increases up to 180kg N/ha. Under rainfall condition, the full doss of P and K and half of N should be applied two weeks after planting and the remaining N is topdressed one month after first application. In irrigated areas, N should be split into 3 equal doses. If N is applied more than 100kg/ha it should be split into 2–3 doses, but when the dose is less than 50kg/ha, it may be applied in a single dose. Single application of N at commencement of flowering (3–4 weeks after transplanting) gives higher yield rather than 2–3 split applications of N. However, 10 tonnes of organic manure should be applied as spot manuring. With the application of 120kg N, 60kg P2O5 and 50kg K2O, a yield of 24.8q/ha may be obtained, while the application of 50kg K2O alone gives lowest yield (3.8q/ha).
Use of a weak starter solution at the time of transplanting is beneficial. The foliar application of fertilizers is beneficial in adverse soil conditions. Application of urea + single superphosphate + muriate of potash (2:1:1) in liquid form applied at 300ml/hill soon after transplanting gives the highest yield of chilli.
Use of biofertilizer—Azatobactor and Azospirillium—is recommended in chilli. Azospirillium is more effective. It can be applied as a seed treatment, seedling treatment and as a direct application through soil. For treating seeds 200g of Azospirillium should be mixed with 200ml of boiled and cooled rice water. About 500g seeds can be soaked in it and dried in shade for 30 minutes before sowing. For seedling treatment, a slurry can be prepared by dissolving 40g of Azospirillium in 2 litres of water. The roots should be dipped in the slurry for 15 minutes before transplanting. For soil application Azospirillium 2kg/hashould be mixed with 20kg of farmyard manure or compost.
Irrigation and interculture
During first month of transplanting, a light irrigation is required. In summer, irrigation on alternate days is essential in light soils. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, chilli is mainly grown as an irrigated crop. Gap filling is done during second irrigation 10 days after transplanting. Spraying of anti-transpirants is advocated in arid and semilarid areas to prevent the water loss from plant surface. Earthing-up should be done 30 days after transplanting. Mulching helps conserve moisture and nutrients, and prevents weed growth. Dried leaves, paddy straw, saw-dust or aluminium foil can be used for mulching. Aluminium foil and saw-dust also act as insect repellents.
Weed control
Manual weeding is a common practice for controlling weeds in chilli. Non-availability of labour or continuous rains many a times do not allow the timely control of weeds at critical periods of crop growth. Therefore, spraying of Tok E 25 @ 2 litres/ha with one hand-weeding helps check weed growth to a considerable extent. Application of Pendimethalin at 1.25kg supplemented with one hoeing 25 days after transplanting followed by the same herbicide without hoeing is beneficial. Oxyflourfen (0.2kg) in combination with one hoeing is effective in checking the weed growth. Treflan application before transplanting @ 0.6–1.1kg/ha is helpful in controlling annual weeds.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

In chilli, first picking should be done at green stage to stimulate further flush of flowers and fruit set. Flowering begins 1–2 months after transplanting taking another month for green fruits. Chilli for vegetable purposes is generally harvested at fully grown green stage, whereas for dried chilli fruits at red, ripe stage are ideal. For pickles, chilli can be picked either at green or ripe stage. The ripe fruits are ready for picking at 1–2 weeks intervals after first harvest. The harvesting continues over a period of 3 months depending on cultivar, season and cultural practices. Since dried chilli is an export-earning commodity, its timely harvesting, curing and proper grading are very important.
Normally, 2–2.5 tonnes dry chilli and 7.5–10 tonnes of green chilli are obtained from a hectare. The yield of dry chilli in rainfed areas is lesser (0.5–1.0 tonnes/ha) compared with irrigated crop (1.5–2.5 tonnes/ha). About 100kg of fresh ripe fruits yield 25–40kg dry chilli depending upon cultivars and thickness of the inner walls.
Dried chilli can be stored for a longer period compared with green chilli. At 0°C and 95–98% relative humidity, green chilli can be stored for about 40 days. Green chilli in 200-gauge polythene covers can be stored for 5–6 days under normal condition and up to 15 days under refrigerated condition. The weight loss and damage of fresh red chilli can be minimized by packing in perforated plastic bags of 1kg capacity and further storing it in bamboo baskets or cartons. Dried chilli can be stored for months together in dry places well protected from insect pests.
Primary processing of chilli essentially consists of drying and de-spiking. The traditional sun drying results in poor quality of finished product due to the breakage of pods and loss of seeds. Depending on weather 3–10 days are taken for sun drying for lowering the moisture from 80–10%. Better retention of colour and higher yield of finished products can be obtained by dipping fresh chilli in Dipsol for 5 minutes and then drying on racks having multitier wirenet trays. Dipsol can be prepared by mixing potassium carbonate (625g), purified groundnut (250g), gum (25g) and butylated hydroxy anisole, BHA (0.25g). About 100kg of ripe chilli requires around 25 litres of dipsol solvent. Dried chilli generally contains about 6% stalks, 40% pericarp and 54% seeds. In market, mainly 3 types of dry chilli with spike, without spike and calyx and without spike with calyx is available. 

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Chromosome Number: 36
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Asterales
Family
:
Asteraceae
Genus
:
Chrysanthemum
 
Chrysanthemum has earned tremendous popularity as an ornamental flower. Its present-day colourful varieties have arisen through indiscriminate intervarietal hybridization, spontaneous and induced mutations and selection. Two kinds of florets are present in a bloom. The small florets which are present at the centre of the bloom are called disc florets.The outer broad florets are called ray florets. In some cases the disc is visible and well-developed, whereas in others it is covered with florets. Ray florets may have different directions of growth and be arranged on the receptacle in distinctive patterns. Some of the florets may curve upwards and inwards. The chrysanthemum bloom type depends mainly upon the relative number of 2 kinds of florets, their shapes and directions of growth. They are mainly classified as large-flowered and small-flowered. Its commercial cultivation is being done in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Its cultivation in Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad is, however, mainly for the sake of decoration of surroundings and participating in flower shows, with the help of pot grown plants
   
Climate and soil  
A well-drained, sandy loam soil of good texture and aeration, with a neutral or slightly acidic pH (6.5–7.0) and a high organic content is ideal for Chrysanthemum. Very light sandy soils are not recommended owing to their poor moisture-holding properties.
 
Varieties

Chrysanthemum varieties have been categorized depending upon the purpose for which they are used. A cultivar suitable for pot-culture may not be fit for growing as cut flower. Similarly, a cultivar may be suitable for cut-flower purpose but not for garland-making.

Garland purpose

Baggi, Basanti, Shanti, Indira, Rakhi, Red Gold, Birbal Sahani, Vasantika, Sharad Mala, Meera and Jaya.

Cut spray

Apsara, Birbal Sahani, Jayanti, Jubilee, Kundan, Purnima, Nanako, Megami, Riot, Arctic and Charlia.

   
Propagation

Chrysanthemum is propagated by seed, cuttings and suckers. To get true-to-type, it is mostly propagated by cuttings and suckers.All varieties do not set seed. Only a few varieties set seed in large-flowered chrysanthemums, whereas more varieties set seed in small-flowered ones.

Seeds

Small-flowered varieties are grown from seeds, suckers and cuttings. Due to its polyploid and heterozygous nature, a wide range of variations are observed from seedlings. Garden chrysanthemums do not reproduce true-to-type from seeds. Seeds are collected during last week of December or first week of January when blooms are dried. The seeds are sown after 15 February either in earthen pots or nursery beds. The seeds are covered with a thin layer of leaf-mould and soil and watered. They germinate within 7–10 days. Seedlings are ready for transplanting within 40 days. Seedling propagation method is not used normally for routine cultivation. Due to wide range of variability, sometimes superior varieties are selected from seedlings.

Suckers

Rooted suckers are planted in field during January for stock plants. Regular pinching is performed in these plants for vigorous and profuse branching. Some of these stock plants are used for potted plants for flower show and other display. The first pinching is performed in April, second in May and third in June. After third pinching, cuttings are taken from these mother plants. Otherwise, pinching is continued in other lot of stock plants. Fourth pinching is performed during August, and the final pinching of stock plants is completed by mid-September.

Cuttings

Terminal cuttings of stock plants are taken in June. They are transplanted after rooting in 15cm (6") pots during June-end. These plants are ready for pinching during July-end or beginning of September. When a plant attains 8–10 leaf stage first pinching is done by removing the terminal portion (with 2–3 leaves). Lateral shoots develop from below the cut.

   
Cultivation  

In fields, chrysanthemum is grown both in pots and beds. The potted chrysanthemums are mostly used for decorating gardens, houses and for displaying in flower shows. Large-scale field cultivation is done for cut flowers to be used for various purposes like garland-and-veni making. Small-flowered double Korean types are mostly grown in field. Yellow and white varieties are usually preferred for cut flowers.The field is ploughed twice before planting. After ploughing 35–50 tonnes of farmyard manure/ha is applied at the time of preparation of beds.

Rooted suckers are normally planted at 30cm (12") distance. Otherwise a distance of about 20cm × 20cm is recommended for early blooming varieties, 25cm × 25cm for mid-season varieties and 30cm × 30cm for late blooming varieties.

A dose of 62.5kg N and 100 kg each of P 2 O 5 and K 2 O/ha is applied. Some growers apply urea @ 75kg/ha at colour-showing stage.

In pots, large-flowered chrysanthemums are grown in different ways. These are grown as standards having 1–3 blooms/plant, bushes having 8–12 or 2 blooms or as Sen Rin Tsukuri styles. Suckers of large-flowered chrysanthemums are planted in January. If not trained as per desire, suckers grow vertically till terminal break bud is formed. The growth is checked and lateral shoots develop. Axillary shoots produce terminal buds which are also called crown buds. These buds do not bloom. Secondary shoots develop and also crown buds at each tips. In September, bunches of flowers develop at terminal shoots. The plant gives a bush shape appearance with numerous branches bearing terminal flower buds. Flowers are medium-sized.

For improvement of quality of plant shape and bloom, training is necessary for large-flowered chrysanthemums. They can be easily trained for various decorative and attractive forms—bush, pyramid, fan, cascade or any other desirable shape.

In India small-flowered varieties are mostly propagated by suckers (stolons) which are developed from underground portion of the plant. Huge number of suckers are produced when the plant is cut back after the blooming is over. Suckers are mostly separated and planted during January–February. Transfer of soil-borne diseases through suckers and lack of uniformity in resultant plants are some of the disadvantages of this method.

At the time of planting of suckers, the lower mature stems with eyes are also used for propagation. The entire stem is planted in thali or it is cut longitudinally into 2 pieces and planted and covered with leaf-mould and soil. This method is normally used when the propagating mother plants are less in number.

Another important method of propagation is through cuttings. The cuttings are mostly prepared during June/July. The advantage of this method is that the plants developed from cuttings are mostly uniform and the risk of disease transfer is less. Growth is comparatively slow than suckers, mortality rate is higher due to rooting process.

All the plants are encouraged to grow fast from the time of planting. Proper growth takes place from March to May.

Training

Chrysanthemum can be trained for various decorative and attractive forms:

Standard: For better shape of the plants and attractive extra large flower, large-flowered chrysanthemums are trained as standards producing 1–3 blooms/plant. For this, suckers are planted in January. All care is taken for proper development of the plant. The plants are transplanted several times in bigger pots and finally into 25cm pots in August. These plants bloom in November–December and are normally very tall and need care throughout the year. The lower portion of the plant looks bare as the older leaves drop. According to recent cultural methods for developing better standard, plants are developed from cuttings in July. It avoids unnecessary caring of plants for about 6 months.

Sen rin tsukuri: It is a Japanese style of chrysanthemum culture. It means ‘growing thousand blooms'. In this, plant is designed to a geometric shape (6–10 concentric circles in stepped manner) and it is trained in such a way that about 200–300 blooms/plant are formed having an approximate height of 153–183cm and a diameter of 183–244mm. Varieties suitable for this should have vigorous growth habit in all directions; long internodes, profuse branching habit with flexible stems and strong stem joints; incurve or reflex type with medium-sized blooms, long pedicel and uniform blooming habit.

The suckers are planted in December in 15cm pots filled with compost made of leaf-mould: light clay: charcoal powder (10:2:1). Second potting is done into 20cm pots during February-end in a potting mixture of cowdung manure: leaf-mould: light clay + bone-meal (4:2:2 + 1 tablespoonful). The pot is irrigated regularly at fortnightly interval. Two tablespoonfuls of oil-cake are added on the top of each pot for vigorous growth. The first pinching is performed when the plant attains a height of 20–25cm. For more vigorous growth, plants are shifted to beds in March. The beds are well-manured with rotten farmyard manure, bone-meal and oil-cake. The planting distance is kept 92cm. The main stem is made vertical with the help of a strong bamboo stake. The lateral shoots which come out after first pinching are made horizontal with the help of hooked wire inserted in the pot. Pinching is continued for profuse branching till June-end. The new branches are trained in desired direction. Liquid cowdung manure and oil-cake are added to accelerate the growth rate. Disbudding is done from October to maintain only one terminal bud. The plants are finally shifted into the container. The lifting of plants from bed to container is a very important operation. It should be performed with great care to maintain beauty of the plants. The plants should be lifted without damaging the ball. The final pot size may be 31cm. When the plants are well-established in pots after lifting, the plant is given the final shape. A structure is made by split bamboo around the plant. The shape of the structure may be given according to choice but the most popular shape is hemisphere or dome shaped. Then branches and individual buds are tied at definite places so as to give the plant a particular uniform shape. Before lifting of plants from bed and at the time of final tying of the branches, irrigation is stopped for 2–3 days so that the branches become soft and more flexible.

Beauty, Maud Jefferies, John Weller, Evening Star, Shin Mei Getsu, Allahabad Reflex and Raja are suitable chrysanthemums.

Bush form: This is a specific cultural practice for small flowered chrysanthemums. The plant is given a bush appearance by specific pinching and training. The blooms are arranged compactly to give an effect of a floral carpet. Medium-sized cultivars having profuse branching habit are suitable for bush. Korean, anemone, button, charm, stellate, decorative and quilled blooms are most suitable. First pinching is started in March when the plants attain about 20cm height. The first pinching should be soft pinching after which profuse branching takes place. These lateral primary branches are again soft pinched and the process continued till September. By pinching selectively and regularly, plants may be given a desired shape. The most important is use of soft pinching to outer or lower branches and hard pinching to central or higher branches. Normally in this case, disbudding is not practised. For maintaining uniform spreading bamboo stakes are used around the periphery and are tied with a ring of wire or sutli .

Pot-mums: In normal practice, one cutting is planted in one pot. The plant grows tall and lower portion of stem looks naked. In recent times, 5–7 cuttings are planted in one pot (20–25cm) during June/July. The healthy rooted cuttings are planted at equal distance around the periphery of the pot. Pots are kept in semi-shade for about 7–10 days. Then optimum conditions are provided for proper vegetative growth of plants for 2 months till the initiation of flower bud. The compost mixture of clay, farmyard manure and leaf-mould in a 1:2:2 ratio is very good for proper growth of plants. Top dressing with neem-cake about a month after potting is very useful. Liquid manuring with a fertilizer mixture during early-September is recommended for vigorous growth.

Pot-mums are grown as such without pinching or they may be pinched as per choice. In no-pinch pot-mums, the number of flowers are almost as many as the number of plants (5–7). The flowers are bigger in size. If larger number of flowers are desired, the branching is encouraged by soft-pinching.

The height of plants of pot-mums is mostly uniform. Uniformity of height is maintained by selecting proper variety, right time of planting and pinching. Disbudding is adopted for better bloom size and good looks of the plant. This method has become very popular. It requires less time and it can be easily handled due to small-sized pots and plants. The pots can be shifted easily anywhere for home decoration. The pots may be easily exposed to artificial lighting and shading. Therefore, supply of successive batches of pot-mums are possible for a long period during the year.

Varieties selected for pot-mums are Beatrice May, Kasturba Gandhi, General Petain, Otome Zakura, Pink Cloud, Pink Casket, Fish Tail, Jack Straw, Evening Star, Goldie and John Reid.

Cascade form: The plants trained in cascade form give the effect of a water fall in blooming stage. This is also a Japanese art of chrysanthemum culture. The stem is made to bend down above the rim of the container. This training method gives an excellent look of the blooms. For beautiful cascades (small, medium and large-sized) selected varieties should have:

•   Long internodes for large and short internodes for medium and small cascade.

•   Thick but flexible stem

•   Profuse branching and prolific blooming habit

Anemone and Korean types are also suitable. The selected varieties are planted in the bed during March in a slanting position (60 degrees angle). A strong bamboo stake is also inserted in the soil at the same angle. Another vertical stake may be tied with the slanting stake to prevent damage of the plant due to wind. Bamboo frames of desired shape and design are kept ready in June. The plants are dug out very carefully from bed with large balls in July and planted in a large pot at 45 degrees angle. The main stem and branches are tied to the frame at several places. The frame is bent gradually downward by applying pressure taking care that the main stem is not broken or cracked. The operation should be done very carefully, slowly and step-by-step so that the plant acquires a horizontal shape by August-end. The bending process is continued for the next 2 months (September–October). Sometimes a weight is tied at the tip of the frame for gradual bending.

Pinching is most critical technique in formation of a cascade. It is started at the height of 15–25cm from the ground and continued till September. Both soft and hard pinching are performed. October is most crucial period when bud initiation starts. One should keep regular vigilance of plants and buds should be arranged systematically by bending and tying to cover the entire structure.

Perfecta, Modella, Jaya, Aparajita, Mayur and Flirt are most-suited chrysanthemums for cascade form.

Coniform: Normally top of potted small flowered chrysanthemums is flattened in bush type. The shape of the plant may be made conical by special training. The varieties which produce profuse lateral branching from the base of main branch upward are most-suited for this. For giving a perfect coniform shape, staking and pinching are most important. A strong, vertical, bamboo stake is used from the very beginning to keep the main stem erect. The first pinching is performed during late March. The first lateral shoots from the top are removed. Second lateral shoots are allowed to grow upwards. Subsequently other lateral shoots which develop late are pinched selectively. The longer shoots are at the base and shorter ones at the upper level. Due to selective pinching, the base of the plant becomes broad and narrowing upward to give a coniform plant. The last pinching is most important step which is performed in four stages during September. The plant is divided into 4 regions, lower, middle, upper and tip. The branches at lower portion (one-third height) are pinched first. The middle portion is pinched after 3–4 days interval. The upper (one-third height) portion is pinched after an interval of another 3–4 days. The tip is pinched at the end after about 3 days. To support the branches, additional bamboo stakes are used to maintain a perfect coniform plant.

Fan form: This is also a type of training form of small-flowered chrysanthemums. In final form, it looks like a hand fan. The varieties suitable for coniform are also suitably used for this form. A flat, round and vertical frame is made of split bamboo. Two identical plants are planted close to each other in 10-pots. In between the plants, the bamboo structure is fixed. All the branches of both the plants are tied to the bamboo structure to give the plants a flat shape. The pinching starts during February-end or beginning of March and continues up to September. Pinching is performed selectively throughout the length of plant and both soft and hard pinching are performed. The hard pinching is done to the branches near main stem and soft pinching to those branches which are away from the main shoot. The new emerging branches are tied simultaneously to the frame for appropriate and desired shape. The last pinching is very important like coniform and it is performed in 4 stages for simultaneous blooming. The central portion of the plant is made first by hard pinching. The area surrounding the central portion is pinched after 3–4 days. The peripheral area is pinched after another 3–4 days. The pinching date should be calculated in such a way that the last pinching is performed by mid-September.

Manuring and fertilization

The compost used in pots should be rich in nutrients. Soil, farmyard manure and leaf-mould in a 1:2:2 ratio are very good. A small amount of bone-meal/superphosphate (2 tablespoonfuls) is also added sometimes with this compost.

Proper vegetative growth of plants at the early stage is most important. The growth period continues till September. Feeding mixture should be applied regularly. It should be rich in N and K content. Chrysanthemum requires a high level of N and K during vegetative growth. The P is used as a basal dressing. If a correct compost mixture is used, extra feeding can be avoided. Compost with a mixture of soil: farmyard manure: leaf-mould (1:2:2) is recommended for potting small-flowered chrysanthemums at the onset of rains.

At the early stage, small amount of oil-cake is added over the soil in the pot and it is allowed to dissolve slowly by normal irrigation process. When the root system is well-established (August), application of liquid manure is advised. Fresh cowdung and oil-cake are allowed to rot in a container consisting of water. This decanted solution is applied to plants once a week as watering.

Fertilizer solution is also recommended as liquid manure. During September, liquid manure (5g potassium nitrate and 5g ammonium nitrate dissolved in 10 litres of water) is applied twice at fortnightly intervals. The top portion (about 2cm) of each pot is filled during September-end by a compost mixture and of neem-cake, farmyard manure, soil by wood ash in a 1:4:8:4 ratio.

At the time of flower-bud initiation, 2 doses (at fortnightly intervals) of liquid manure (potassium nitrate 5g + ammonium nitrate 5g dissolved in 10 litres of water) are applied. Immediately after 2 doses (once a week), another liquid fertilizer mixture (potassium nitrate 30g and urea 5g dissolved in 10 litres of water) are applied.

Aftercare

Staking: Staking is necessary to keep plants erect and maintain proper shape of plants and bloom. But all chrysanthemums do not require staking, especially some compact cultivars. Stakes are prepared mostly from bamboos. Staking of plants is required for vertical support of the plants. Number of stakes to be used for a plant depends upon the grower. Only one stake is used when a grower needs single bloom/plant. If a grower needs 3 blooms/plant, he requires 3 stakes. In small-flowered, for profuse blooming 5–8 stakes are used. The stakes are inserted in the pot slightly slanting outward so as to provide sufficient space for flower development at the top. When the bloom starts showing colour the surplus length of the stake is uniformly cut below the level of bud for uniform growth of bloom.

Pinching: If chrysanthemums are left on their own for growth after planting, the growth is mostly upward with very little branching. This gives the plant an unappreciable shape with few flowers. To arrest such tall growth, pinching is done. It is done with thumb and forefinger, although knives and scissors can also be used. It is also called ‘stopping'. Only soft vegetative shoot tips half to one inch long are removed. Pinching refers to the removal of the growing tips of the plant to induce the growth of vegetative laterals. It is most essential for small-flowered chrysanthemums. Pinching is performed both in suckers and in cuttings.

De-suckering: During the vegetative growth phase, plants grow upwards. New suckers continue to develop from base of plants. For proper and vigorous growth of plants, suckers are removed from time-to-time.

Disbudding and dis-shooting: These operations are mostly performed for large-flowered and decorative chrysanthemums. Disbudding varies according to the type of chrysanthemum grown. Many of the varieties are disbudded or standard types, in which the largest terminal bud is reserved and all axillary buds are removed. Disbudding of spray varieties is very easy because in this case only the large apical bud is removed and the axillary buds are allowed to develop. There is no specific rule for disbudding of spray varieties, it varies with the type of spray produced. When growers want to develop 3 blooms/plant or one bloom/plant these operations are most essential. Disbudding operation is an important factor in the maintenance of high quality product.

For taking 3 blooms/plant (June planted cuttings), the first pinching is done in August. Three lateral strong shoots are allowed to grow and others are removed. Disbudding starts in October when all but the central buds on each lateral shoot are removed. Lateral buds and side shoots are removed at their early stage of growth from time-to-time.

For taking one bloom/plant (June/July planted cuttings) no pinching is done. Only the main stem is allowed to grow. Disbudding and dis-shooting of undesirable lateral buds and shoots are done as in the above mentioned case of 3-bloom type.

Irrigation

Chrysanthemums require frequent and thorough watering before monsoon. It is advisable not to irrigate pots after the sun gets hot. Open drainage system should be maintained in beds and pots as these plants are very sensitive to excessive water. There should not be waterlogging in beds and pots during the rainy season. The excess water at the top of the pot should be tilted out. If the water accumulation is due to clogging of drainage hole and faulty potting mixture, checking of drainage hole and changing of old potting mixture by new potting mixture is recommended. Excess water accumulation causes serious damage to the plant roots. The leaves become yellow and plants become sick. If proper care is not taken, there is considerable casualty during rainy season.
   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Chrysanthemums are mostly sold in market as potted plants, cut flowers and loose flowers. There is no specific period of harvesting. There are various types of varieties—early blooming, normal period blooming and late blooming. Therefore, they are harvested according to their blooming period. Different types of packing materials—newspaper, craft paper, corrugated paper and tissue paper—have been recommended for increasing the keeping quality of cut blooms. For increasing the vase-life of cut flowers, preservative solution containing sucrose (1.5%) and 8-HQC (200ppm) is recommended.
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Rutaceae
Genus
:
Citrus
 
Citrus fruits rank third in area and production after banana and mango in India and sweet orange are the second largest citrus fruits being cultivated. Sweet orange growing states are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Maximum area under sweet oranges is in Andhra Pradesh followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka. Well marked belts of sweet orange cultivation in the country are Abohar, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Hoshiarpur in Punjab; Hisar in Haryana; Ganganagar district in Rajasthan; Marathwada region of Central Maharashtra, Ahmednagar, Pune and Nasik of Western Maharashtra and Anantapur, Kodur, Cuddapah Nelgonda, Chittor districts of Andhra Pradesh.
   
Climate and soil  

The production of sweet orange is largely favoured by dry, semi-arid to subtropical conditions. However, plants grow well under sub-tropical climate and can even withstand occasional light frosts. However, good results are not sure under cooler climates. Several hours of exposure to a temperature of –3°C will cause severe injury to plants. On the other hand, very high temperature are also detrimental. The average temperature for growth is about 16–20°C. Hence, it can tolerate well maximum temperature of 32°–40°C and minimum of 17°–27°C as it exists in most of the sweet orange growing belts of the country. Being evergreen citrus require good amount of water and as least well distributed annual rainfall of 500–775mm is necessary. When rainfall is unevenly distributed over the year, additional irrigation will often be necessary. Under warmer conditions, the colour development is poor, however, excellent deep orange colour of the skin develops when grown under subtropical conditions. Quality is very good under dry semi-arid conditions, while under humid conditions fruits turn insipid.

Sweet Orange can be grown on a wide range of soil. These will grown in almost any soil if it is sufficiently aerated and deep allowing the roots to penetrate to desired depth. In India, sweet orange is being cultivated on a wide range of soils e.g., alluvial, sandy loam to loam, red sand soils to black clayey soils. In Andhra Pradesh, it is grown on red soil with loamy sub-soils, red sandy soils and black clayey soils. The sweet orange growing areas of Maharashtra have black soils. Thus, a well drained sandy loam to clay loam is preferred by sweet oranges.

 
Varieties

Many varieties of sweet orange have been introduced into India but only a few prolific ones having good quality could be established on commercial scale. Currently, exotic varieties like Jaffa, Hamlin and Pineapple are performing well in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Jaffa is a famous mid-season sweet orange while Hamlin is an early-season variety. Pineapple is another mid-season variety. Another late season variety Valencia has also shown good adaptability.

However, main varieties of sweet orange in India being cultivated on commercial scale are Blood Red, Mosambi and Satgudi. Blood Red is the most important variety in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. and Mosambi is most popular in Maharashtra. Satgudi is extensively grown in Andhra Pradesh.

   
Propagation

The optimum performance of a variety depends on the proper selection of rootstock for a given set of growing condition. Rootstocks are known to influence the overall performance of a scion including quality. They are also helpful in countering particular scion varieties, to various abiotic and biotic stresses including adaptability to various types of soils. Hence, the selection of a rootstock for the adaptability to various agro-climatic conditions and suitability for a particular scion is a must.

In Punjab, Jatti Khatha and Karna Khatta for Blood red and other sweet orange varieties are the most commonly used rootstocks. For Mosambi scion, Rangpur lime is the best rootstock in Maharashtra. In Andhra Pradesh, commercially used rootstock, rough lemon for Satgudi scion is being replaced now by Rangpur lime, which is highly tolerant to drought and also have high productivity and comparable fruit quality.

Budding, i.e. with ‘T' budding and Potch budding or Shield budding are the most commonly used propagation methods for sweet oranges. When the rootstock plants of the selected rootstock are one year old or come to a buddable stage, the bud of a desired scion variety is budded at a height of about 25–30cm from the ground level. To ensure good budding success, the budding is done during the months (January–March or September–October) of active growth or when there is good sap flow in the plants. Thus, budded plant should be immediately irrigated. Bud wood of the scion must be taken from virus free indexed plants so that healthy, productive and true-to-the-type are produced.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Planting is generally done during monsoon in north-western and western parts of the country, i.e. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, while in southern India, it is done at the onset of rainy season.

Land should be ploughed in a cross manner to soften the upper surface. The pits of 60cm × 60cm × 60cm size should be dug. They are filled with 15–20kg farmyard manure in south and north India, while in western Maharashtra, the pits should be filled up first with clay soil, murram, soil + farmyard manure mixture apart from 10% BHC powder and micronutrients @ 25g each of Zn, Fe, Mn and Cu if initial fertility level is low.

A planting distance of 6m from plant to plant and 6m from row to row is generally followed in square system of planting. However, planting distance as well as planting density depends upon the cultivar, rootstock used and agroclimatic conditions. In general, a density of 250–300 plants/ha in Punjab and Haryana is ideal for sweet orange cultivars budded on Jatti Khatti rootstock. The optimum planting density for Satgudi Seedling oranges is 170–200 plants/ha when budded on Sathgudi stock itself. In Maharashtra, plants of Mosambi variety budded on Rangpur lime are planted at a distance of 6m × 6m, accommodating 270 plants/ha.

Training and pruning

The trees are trained to a single system and any shoot emerging from the portion below the bud union should be nipped off regularly. The first year growth beyond height of 0.7–1m should be punched off to develop side shoot. Only 4–6 well having wide angle with the main trunk, all around should be allowed to grow up to 3–4m. Thereafter no training is required. Training of plants should be completed in first 3 years so that plants attain a mechanically strong canopy. The pruning in pre-bearing trees may be done at any time avoiding the peak winter.

Pruning of bearing trees though differs with variety. It consists of removal of dead, diseased, criss-cross and weak branches. Removal of water sprouts and suckers from each rootstocks below the bud union is also essential and should be attended to regularly alongwith thinning of the shoots for better penetration of sunlight and aerations. The cut ends after pruning should be treated with Bordeaux paste to avoid fungal infection. The best time for pruning in bearing trees is after the harvesting during late winter or early spring. After each pruning, spraying of Bavistin (1ml/litre water) is beneficial to avoid any secondary infection.

Manuring and fertilization

Fertilizer requirement of the plants is influenced by various factors like age of the plant, root-stock used soil and climate alongwith the crop load in bearing trees. No uniform fertilizer recommendation can be made for all sweet orange cultivars in different agro-climatic regions.

The fertilizers should be applied in a ring from below the canopy of the trees depending on age. For a mature tree furtilizer is applied in a 30–40cm wide ring made at a radial distance of 100–200cm from the trunk as maximum feeder roots are located in the zinc below the tree canopy.

Though the requirement of major elements is by and large met by supplementing N, P, K fertilizers, farmers usually forget to apply micronutrients, the most essential part of citrus nutrition. Very often the diagonistic symptoms of nutrients are very fieble to get usliced. Further, deficiency symptoms of Mn, Fe and Zn resemble very closely, making it difficult to judge which nutrient is really deficient. It is also well known that the deficiency of zinc alongwith N and to same extent P is a major nutritional problem of sweet orange in north India, western Maharashtra and south India. Deficiency of Fe and Mn is also observed in some areas. Hence a micronutrients mixture should be given when the leaves have fully expanded after a new flush growth.

Aftercare

Most of the sweet orange cultivars are planted 6–8m apart, leaving much area unutilized. The interspaces can profitably be utilized for growing some short-duration crops. The additional crop not only provides additional income to the orchardists, but also helps to check weed growth, conserve soil moisture and prevents soil erosion. During the initial years of the orchard development, and vegetables as soybean and cotton are successfully cultivated as intercrops. Peas, turnips and cabbage rabi crop and bottlegourd, bittergourd and lady's finger in kharif as intercrops as intercrops are grown as water crops in north India.

Weed control

In order to eliminate competition for nutrition by weeds in sweet orange orchard, control of weed is very essential. Apart from interculture operations, that check weed growth, chemical weed control is also necessary during certain period of the year to avoid disturbances to feeding roots. Both pre-emergent and post-emergent sprays for weed control are necessary.

Application of Diuron as a pre-emergence weedicide spray @ 3 kg/ha twice at 120 days interval is quite effective to control weeds up to 280 days.

For post-emergent control, use of 2, 4-D (Fornoxone) @ 5 kg/ha in 500 litre of water followed by a composite spray of 2.5 litres Paraquat (Gromaxone) plus 1.25 kg 2, 4-D (Fernoxone) in 500 litres of wate/ha 10–20 after the first spray is quite effective in controlling weeds. The conposite spray of Paraquat and 2, 4-D may be repeated twice at 30 days intervals if needed. The controls/reduces the weed growth for about 4–5 months.

Irrigation

Sweet oranges require more water because sap circulation never entirely ceases and transpiration takes place throughout the year. Being are evergreen plant, sweet orange requires good amount of water and water deficiency moisture stress at critical periods such as front development checks the growth reduces fruit size and quality. Thus moisture stress during the period of growth, flowering and fruit development should always be avoided.

The frequency of irrigation is influenced by soil, climate, variety and age of plants. In northern India and western Maharashtra, water is applied at every 6–8 days intervals from March to June and every 10–12 days intervals during November–February. Sweet orange being is susceptible to waterlogging and Phytophthera rot stagnation of water in the orchard and around the tree trunk is to be avoided.

In young plants up to the age of 8-year, the irrigation should be given through basin system of irrigation. In grown up and old orchards, food system of irrigation may be adopted avoiding water content with tree trunks. In western Maharashtra, drip irrigation system is gaining popularity, ring system of irrigation is adopted for this. Double ring system or bed irrigation is best in reducing the water contact with the tree trunk thus avoiding fungal of infection.

A grown up sweet orange tree needs about 25–20 irrigations in a year, amounting about 1,325mm of water. Its plants have highest demand of water during fruit development. It is advisable to irrigate the orchard after the fruits have attained pea size.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Sweet oranges mature in 9–12 months. Being to a non-climacteric fruit, there is no improvement in colour, taste and flavour after harvesting. Therefore, fruits should be harvested when they are fully ripe and attain proper size, attractive colour and acceptable sugar: acid blend.

Sweet oranges can be allowed to remain on their trees on reaching maturity for several weeks without deterioration, except in area and varieties where the incidence of fruit-sucking moth (south India) and granulation (north India) are problems. In such areas, an early picking is advised.

Main harvesting season in north India is from December to February, while in south India it is October–March. In Andhra Pradesh, Sathgudi oranges are harvested during November–March. In central and western India, November–January for ambe bahar and March–May for mrig bahar are time for harvesting. Fruits should preferably be harvested by clipping with secateurs.

Sweet oranges are tight skinned fruits possessing comparatively better shelf-life than loose skinned mandarins. Ripening is a terminal period of maturation, when fruits develop complete blend of flavour, texture and aroma contributing to optimum eating quality.

Washing, drying, sorting, grading and wrapping in tissue paper is usually adopted for postharvest handling and packaging. Latest technology of packing fruits in corrugated boxes instead of hardwood boxes helps in lengthening the shelf-life of fruits. Nowadays, shrink wrapping of fruits in desired number of packs is also getting popular. Perforated polythene packing is also gaining popularity.

Dipping fruits or spraying fruits with 5% fungicidal emulsion and then dipping them in 500 ppm Benlate or 0.1% Carbendazin (Bavistin) solution helps reduce spoilage and keep them in good condition at room temperature for 20 days after harvesting.

Sweet orange variety Malta can be effectively stored at 4.4°c in cold storage for 2–3 months, while that of Sathgudi at 2°c over 4 months. Mosambi obtained in western Maharashtra can be stored at temperature of 5°c and 85–90% relative humidity for 3 months. 

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Chromosome Number: 22
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Family
:
Genus
:
Syzygium
 
Clove of commerce is the dried aromatic, fully-grown but unopened flower buds. Cloves have been used in India since ancient times. It is an evergreen tree.
   
Climate and soil  
Clove grows well in rich, loamy soil of the humid tropics. It can be grown successfully in all the areas except in the coastal sandy belt. It comes up well in the red soil of the midland of Kerala as well as in the hilly terrains of the Western Ghats at higher elevations.
 
Varieties
The seeds should be collected from fully ripe fruits. Fruits for seed collection, popularly known as mother of clove, are allowed to ripen on trees itself and drop down naturally. Such fruits are collected from the ground and sown directly in nursery or soaked in water overnight. The pericarp is removed before sowing. The second method gives quicker and higher germination. Only fully developed and uniform-sized seeds which show signs of germination by the presence of pink radicle are used for sowing. Though the ripe fruits can be stored for a few days by spreading them in a cool shaded place, it is advisable to sow the seeds immediately after harvesting. Heaping the fruits or keeping them tied up in airtight bags hastens the death of the seeds. Approach grafting of clove on its own rootstock is successful.
   
Cultivation  

Beds of 15–20cm height, 1m width and convenient length are made. They are made of loose soil-sand mixture over which a layer of sand may be spread (about 5–8cm thick). Seeds can be sown in pure river sand beds but care should be taken to prevent leaching of salts in rain. Seeds are sown at 2cm spacing. The seed beds are protected from direct sunlight. If small quantity of seeds is available, they can be sown directly in polybags filled with soil and cowdung mixture. They should be kept in a shady, cool place. The germination commences in about 10–15 days and may last for about 40 days. The germinated seedlings are transplanted in polythene bags (30cm × 15cm), containing a mixture of soil, sand and well decomposed cowdung in a 3:3:1 ratio. The seedlings are again transplanted after one year to large polythene bags containing the same potting mixture. The 18–24 months old seedlings are ready for transplanting in the field. The nurseries are sually shaded and irrigated daily to ensure uniform seedling stand. To avoid damage by crickets, 5% BHC dust may be applied in the nursery.

Planting

The pits of 75cm × 75cm × 75cm size are dug at a spacing of 6–7m. If planted as an intercrop, the spacing is to be adjusted based on the spacings of the major crop. The pits are partially filled with compost, green leaf or cattle manure and covered with top soil. The seedlings are transplanted in the main field during onset of rainy season in June–July, in lowlying areas towards the end of the monsoon (September–October). Clove prefers partial shade. It comes up well at higher elevations, having well-distributed rainfall. Under Indian conditions, it is best suited for mixed cropping in older coconut or areanut gardens or in coffee estates. Intercropping with banana is very good. Its seedlings are planted together with coconut, banana, jackfruit and mango.

Training and pruning is not recommended.

Manuring and aftercare

Apply 50kg manure or compost and bone-meal or fish meal to a bearing tree/year. Organic manures can be applied as a single dose at the onset of the rainy season in trenches dug around the tree. The application of inorganic fertilizers @ 20g N(430g urea), 18g P 2 O 5 (110g superphosphate), and 50g K 2 O (80g of muriate of potash)/year is recommended. The dose can be increased to 300g N (600g urea), 250g P 2 O 5 (1,560g superphosphate) and 750g K 2 O (1,250g muriate of potash)/year for a grown-up tree of 15 years or more. The fertilizers must be applied in 2 equal split doses in May–June and September–October in shallow trenches dug around the plant normally about 1–1½m away from the base. The plant basin must be always kept weed free and mulched.

Irrigation

In the first 3–4 years, extreme care should be taken especially during summer months. Plant based water application has to be very scrupulously followed.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Clove trees flower from the fourth year of its planting under good soil and management conditions. But full bearing stage is reached only after 15 years. The flowering season is September–October in plains and December–January at high altitudes. The unopened buds are harvested when they begin to turn pink. At this time, they are less than 2cm long. The opened flowers are not valued as a spice. Harvesting should be done using step ladders without damaging the branches, as it adversely affects the succeeding growth. It is a common practice among the growers not to leave the trees to bear fruits (mother of clove), as it has an adverse effect on subsequent tree growth.

The harvested flower buds are separated from the cluster by hand and spread in the drying yard for drying. The correct stage of drying when the stem of the bud becomes dark brown and the rest of the bud lighter brown. Well-dried cloves are only one-third the weight of the original. About 11,000–15,000 dried cloves weigh one kilogram. 

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Chromosome Number: 20
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Malvales
Family
:
Sterculiaceae
Genus
:
Theobroma
 
Cocoa is an important commercial crop grown the world over. In India, it is being cultivated in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The current area under cocoa, however, is very small. There is a lot of potential for area expansion as a mixed crop. Kerala accounts for about 76% of the area and 78% of the total production in the country. The remaining area and production is contributed by Karnataka. Cocoa is being grown is some pockets in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh also.
   
Climate and soil  

Temperature and rainfall affect the growth of cocoa. The optimum range in mean monthly temperature of cocoa-growing regions is 15°–32°C. The absolute minimum temperature for any reasonable period should be 10°C below which frost injury takes place. In Kerala, mean maximum temperature, however, slightly exceeds the limit during some period. Such higher temperatures cause excessive vegetative growth. However, such a proliferated vegetative growth is not noted in plains. However, cocoa grows and produces well in plains with more moderate temperatures.

Rainfall above 300mm may favour incidence of black pod and vascular streak dieback. Rainfall below 1,500mm may necessitate irrigation. Proper distribution of rainfall is more important than the total amount. The pattern of rainfall in the cocoa belt of India is totally different with the bulk of rain received in 2 or 3 months and it remaining rain-free for as long as 4–6 months. Such a rainfall distribution indicates the necessity of providing irrigation for cocoa. In India, at present cocoa is not irrigated and one of the reasons for the much lower mean productivity of 30 pods/plant in a year as compared to nearly double the yield in well managed gardens is attributable partly to lack of irrigation. As a result, cocoa production in India is more costly.

Cocoa is grown in a wide variety of soils, though most of such soils of high rainfall areas are relatively coarse-textured and acidic to neutral. Virgin, freshly cleared forest soils are used for cultivation of cocoa. The soils should be rich in organic matter and nitrogen, well-drained and acidic to netural in reaction. A depth of up to 1.5m is necessary for cocoa. Thus coastal belt of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka is suitable for its cultivation.

 
Varieties

There are 3 types of cocoa varieties. They are Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario. Criollo and Forastero are naturally evolved varieties. Criollo types produce best quality cocoa. The colour of fresh cotyledon is whitish or pale-brown. Most of the pods are red when immature and they change to yellow or orange on maturity. Pods are also generally bigger, have deeper furrows or depressions on pod surface and have a more prominent neck compared to Forastero. The beans ferment quickly and yields are comparatively low.

Forastero types are sturdy. They survive under adverse conditions. The colour of fresh cotyledon is dark brown or chocolate brown. Forastero pods are green when immature and change to yellow at maturity. The beans take 6–7 days for fermentation and yields are high. Trinitario types have characters of both these types.

   
Propagation

Seed propagation

Cocoa can be propagated both by seeds or vegetative methods. For raising seedlings, seeds of mature pods are taken from high-yielding mother plants. The mother plants selected should yield more than 100 pods/year. They should have medium or large green pods with an average dry bean weight of not less than 1g. A more suitable procedure for planting good quality seedling is to collect hybrid seeds from biclonal or polyclonal seed gardens having superior self-incompatible parents.

The seeds generally lose their viability 7 days after harvesting. Therefore, extracted seeds may be stored in moist charcoal and packed in polythene bags. The normal potting mixture with farmyard manure, sand and soil in equal proportions is good for raising seedlings. Though its seeds germinate any time of the year, best time of sowing is December–January. About 4–6 months old seedlings become ready for field planting. The seeds should be sown with the hilum end facing downwards or the seeds are sown flat. The seeds should not be placed too deep in soil. They germinate in a week and may continue germination for another week. Generally 90% of the seeds germinate.

The nursery should be raised in a heavily shaded area which allows only about 25–50% sunlight. Regular watering is essential to keep the soil moist. Overwatering should be avoided. Generally no fertilizer is used for seedlings. However, if necessary, foliar application of 1 or 2% urea can be given at fortnightly intervals. About 4–6 months old seedlings are used for planting.

Vegetative propagation

Superior planting material of cocoa may be produced by budding and grafting. The different budding methods feasible are ‘T', inverted ‘T', patch and modified Forkert. The new method of microbudding also may be followed.

Selection of rootstocks and bud wood: About 6–12 months old seedlings are generally used as rootstock except in microbudding. While selecting rootstock, care should be taken that both rootstock and scion are of the same thickness and physiological age. Bud wood from chupons or fan branches can be taken for budding. Bud wood from chupons is normally preferred as the resulting budded plant grows as in case of seedling. If there is scarcity of chupon buds, buds from fan branches can also be taken, but the plants arising from these have more lateral branches with a bushy appearance. The patch to be taken should be about 2.5cm long and 0.5cm wide with a single vigorous bud on it. Bark of the same size is removed from the rootstock and the bud patch is inserted. It is then tied with grafting tape.

The selected patch should have a bud that is visible to the naked eye but it should not have signs of proliferation. Dormant buds are also not suitable as they may continue to remain dormant for a further period even after successful union. Even though freshly collected bud-wood can be used for budding, precuring of bud wood increases the percentage success. Such a precuring consists of removing the lamina portions of all the leaves from the region of bud stick chosen. The petiole stump fall off in about 10 days and buds would have been initiated to grow. Buds may now be extracted from the precured portion. If the rootstocks are less than 4 months old, the bud wood selected should also be green or greenish-brown. About 3 weeks after budding, the grafting tape is removed. If there is successful bud union, a vertical cut is made half way through the stem above the bud and the stock portion is snapped back. Such snapped rootstock portion is cut and removed only after the bud has grown sufficiently with at least 2 leaves hardened. After about 4–6 months, they are ready for field planting. Care should be taken to remove the new sprouts from the rootstock portion.

Microbudding: This is a relatively new method consisting of budding on very young stock plants which are less than 15-day old. Green bud of standard size is extracted and kept ready before preparing the stock. A peel of bark of the stock stem is drawn from above instead of a patch and the bud is inserted and tied. The tape is removed 2 weeks after and the stock stem is gradually pruned starting from the tip instead of snapping down. At least a pair of hardened leaves are retained till the buds proliferate, differentiate and new leaves harden.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Cocoa seeds can be sown or seedlings planted at any time of the year. Pits of 50cm × 50cm × 50cm size are dug. Fill them with a mixture of soil and organic manures. Cocoa seedlings should be planted on the soil surface rather than planting in pits as practised in many other plantation crops. This is necessary because the feeding roots of cocoa get concentrated on the surface irrespective of the zone at which the seedlings are initially planted. However in India, its cultivation is necessarily done under coconut and arecanut gardens. Most of cocoa planting in India is taken up in the interspaces of coconut.

A row of cocoa is planted, between 2 rows of coconut. A spacing for coconut is kept 7.5m × 7.5m. If the spacing is more, it may be possible to accommodate 3 rows of cocoa between coconut rows. If a spacing of 3m between cocoa plants is taken as the standard and cocoa is planted as a single row between coconut trees spaced at 7.5m × 7.5m, the effective spacing between cocoa plants would be 3m × 7.5m. Thus, a total of 444 plants can be accommodated in a hectare of coconut plantation. One more cocoa plant each can logically come between columns of coconut trees. Thus a total number of additionally accommodated plants is about 170. In such a planting system, the total number of cocoa plants could be 614/ha. It is also planted in the interspaces of arecanut. Arecanut is usually planted at a spacing of 2.7m × 2.7m. A single row of cocoa is recommended to be planted in between 2 rows of arecanut and hence the net spacing for cocoa is 5.4m × 2.7m and the number of cocoa plants become 686/ha.

Training

Cocoa tree grows naturally in tiers. There is usually only one chupon growth in a seedling. Under good management and adequately shaded conditions, most of the plants jorquette at a height of 1–1.5m. If growth is allowed unrestricted, new chupon buds arise on the main stem below the first jorquette after the first tier has expanded and one or more of them grow. This pattern of growth continues upward in tiers. As growth advances and as new tiers are formed, the lower tiers generally become weak and a sizeable number of leaves shed.

Pruning is done to restrict the growth of a tree to a convenient height, to have the first tier developed at the required height and to remove excessive and inconvenient development of branches. If pruning is severe, it decreases productivity. Thus, cocoa trees are pruned only for convenience. The first tier should develop at heights not less than 1–1.5m. If plants jorquette at lower heights, the stem with the developing fans may be nipped off just below the jorquette. New chupons arise on the main stem. One of these healthy chupon shoots may be allowed to grow up and form jorquette. This process of nipping chupon shoot may be continued till the desired height is attained. The height at which jorquettes form, is decided by the nature of the plant, but environmental factors also play a role. Generally, for plants under heavier shade, jorquetting is higher. Similarly, restrictions on growth like limitations in availability of mineral nutrients and water tend to lower jorquette height. Some plants do not jorquette at normal height and they grow very tall before fans develop.

There should be only one main chupon stem. Though, in general, only one stem develops from a seedling, additional chupons sometimes arise from the main chupon. These additional chupon laterals should be removed periodically. Vertical growth should be limited to a single tier. Arresting further vertical growth requires continuous removal of chupons that develop from below the jorquette. Normally, chupons arise from chupon stem only and fan laterals from fans. Rarely, chupons arise from fans, generally from portions around jorquette. These are also to be removed at the early stages. A second tier may be allowed to develop if the first tier is damaged.

Many fan branches droop down at the ends and often reach ground level. These drooping branches may be cut off at a suitable distance from the jorquette. This operation may be done once a year preferably when the crop load is low. December–January and July–August are ideal time. Removal of part of the foliage may also help reduce transpiration in summer season.

Centering is another operation which involves removal of all lateral fan branches arising from 30–50cm around the jorquette. This may allow entry of incident rays on the main stem and around, which provide better aeration.

A dose of 100:40:140g of N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O/plant/year should be given. Under average fertility conditions, this dose may be doubled. The fertilizers may preferably be applied in shallow basins of 120–150cm radius and raked in without serious damage to roots. Soil surface should have adequate moisture during fertilizer application. An immediate mixing of fertilizers with soil reduces chances of volatile loss of N especially when urea is applied.

Manuring and fertilization

Fertilizer application on rainfed crop may be done in 2 splits, the first coinciding with the monsoon rains during May–June and the second during September–October. In irrigated crop, fertilizers may be applied in 4 equal splits during May–June, September–October, December and February. This split application is beneficial for coconut also.

For young cocoa in the field, the fertilizer dose may be one-third the annual dose of adult plant for the first year and two-thirds for the second year. From third year onwards full dose may be given.

Aftercare

If cocoa is grown as a sole crop, shade plants are grown and selective thinning is done to regulate shade. Permanent shade trees are planted or left without removal while clearing the land at a spacing of 13–15m and temporary shade plants are planted at the same spacing as cocoa, alternating with it. These plants are generally removed as cocoa grows and canopy develops. When cocoa is planted under coconut, manipulation of shade level is difficult. Shade level varies with spacing, extent of canopy development and age of palms. The range in light infiltration due to these factors is estimated as 30–80%. Hence it is recommended to select coconut plantations with comparatively less shade and if light infiltration is above 50%, additional shade should be provided for young cocoa, by planting banana at the same spacing as cocoa. Banana may be removed when cocoa canopy closes and it starts bearing.

Irrigation

Generally cocoa does not need any irrigation owing to well-distributed rainfall in cocoa-growing areas. There is a need for supplemental irrigation in India during summer months.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The pods of cocoa are harvested 150–170 days after planting. The young cocoa fruit is called ‘cherelle' and its wilting prior to maturity is called ‘cherelle wilt'. The stage of maturity of pods is best judged by change in colour of pods. Pods that are green when immature turn yellow on maturing and reddish pods turn to yellow or orange. The change in colour starts from the grooves on the pods and then spreads to the entire surface. Though pods can be harvested just by the appearance of colour change, they may remain without damage up to a maximum of about one month on tree. The pods should be harvested with a knife at an interval of a fortnight to a month.

Since fruits are borne on the cushions, any damage to flower cushions should be avoided. The harvested pods are broken for extraction of beans by hitting them on a hard surface. The beans are then extracted excluding the placenta. The pods may be kept up to a week before breaking and extracting the beans for fermentation.

The method of fermentation and its duration depend largely on the variety of cocoa and the season. The time taken to ferment Criollo is less than that taken to ferment Forastero. The season affects the duration through the effects of temperature and humidity. At low temperature and high humidity, fermentation period is usually longer. Among the methods adopted in different countries, heap, tray and box methods may be considered as standard methods.

The fermented beans have a moisture content of about 55%. The moisture content should be reduced to 6% for their safe storage. The beans are to be skin dry within 24hr after fermentation to avoid mould growth. During drying, biochemical oxidation of excess acetic acid from the beans takes place. Hence drying should not be quick or too slow. Sun-drying is traditionally followed. Which continues for 12–20 days depending on the season. Artificial drying becomes necessary in areas where the climate remains unsuitable during peak season. Artificial driers which can regulate the rate of air flow and temperature are available.

Dry cocoa bean can be stored for a long period under suitable conditions. The storage life is decided by the relative humidity and temperature prevailing in the store house. It is found that at 85% relative humidity, the bean moisture content exceeds 8%. At this level, mould growth sets in. Under Indian conditions, the relative humidity often exceeds 95%. Storage of cocoa is thus difficult in the rainy months. The practice followed at present is to shift the beans to other regions of the country where the conditions are suitable. Another alternative is to store the well-dried beans in air-tight containers. Polythene and polythene-lined containers may be useful. But this may not be suitable for bulk storage during humid weather.

   
Physiological Disorders
Cocoa produces a large number of flowers. But only a small percentage of flowers is successfully pollinated and too many fruits are set for the tree to carry through to maturity. The young cocoa fruit till it attains a length of 10cm is called a ‘cherelle’ and over 80% of the cherelles formed on a mature tree usually wilt. This phenomenon is called cherelle wilt. The cherelle initially stop growing and a week later turn yellow and then blacken and shrivel. They, however, continue to remain on the tree. The wilt occurs only up to about 100 days after fertilization with peak wilting at 50 and 70 days. Several fungi and insects are associated with wilt.
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Chromosome Number: 32
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Arecales
Family
:
Arecaceae
Genus
:
Cocos
 
Coconut is a commercial crop in India. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are major coconut-producing states in India. Kerala accounts for 54.7% of the total area and 42.3% of the production, followed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The productivity of coconut has also increased from 4,982 nuts in 1950–51 to 7,779 nuts/ha (1995–96), the maximum productivity being 20,621 nuts/ha from Maharashtra.
   
Climate and soil  
Coconut can be successfully cultivated up to 600m above mean sea-level, though it is cultivated even above 900m. Well-distributed rainfall of 800–2,500mm/year is ideal. In regions, where prolonged dry spell occurs, irrigation is essential. Coconut can also withstand waterlogging during the rainy season. To get highest yield mean annual temperature of 27°C with a diurnal variation of 5°–7°C is optimum. Low temperature particularly below 15°C results in cold injuries to the palms, resulting in abnormal fruit development. Warm and humid conditions are desirable for its cultivation in coastal region of south India. The humidity should be 80–90%. The relative humidity below 50% affects opening of the stomata. Since coconut palms love sunlight, its growth is affected in overcrowded plantations and mixed cropping systems. Sunshine of 2,000hr/year or more is suitable for profuse growth and productivity. Laterite, lateritic red, sandy, alluvial sandy, alluvial coastal, and black soils are good for coconut cultivation. Laterite and lateritic soils in humid tropical zones in the western and eastern belts of India are the predominant soils wherein coconut is extensively cultivated. These are highly weathered, moderately deep to deep loamy to clayey, well-drained and predominantly acidic with a pH of 4.5–6.8. Coastal Kerala, south interior Karnataka. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra are ideal for its cultivation.
 
Varieties

There are 2 types of varieties of coconuts, e.g. tall and dwarf. The tall palms are most commonly cultivated. They grow to a height of 25–30m, the pre-bearing age being 6–10 years. Tall palms are normally cross-pollinated as there is no overlapping of male and female phases. Medium-to-large sized nuts in tall palms mature in 12 months. West Coast Tall, Laccadive Ordinary, East Coast Tall and Andaman Ordinary are the tall types cultivated in India.

Dwarf palms are short-statured, their pre-bearing age is 3–4 years. Dwarf palms yield heavily though they have an irregular bearing habit. They are identified by colour of fruits—orange, yellow, and green. The important dwarf types are Chowghat Green Dwarf and Chowghat Orange Dwarf in Kerala; Gangabondam in Andhra Pradesh; and Gudanjali Dwarf in Gujarat.

The pay-back-period in hybrids is 8 years compared with 10 years in West Coast Tall. These hybrids also respond to recommended dose of fertilizer of 500g N, 320g P 2 O 5 and 1,200 g K 2 O/palm/year with increased efficiency, indicating that these hybrids are suitable for small holdings in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

   
Propagation

Coconut is propagated only through seedlings. Seedlings should receive utmost attention since the performance of these seedlings can be judged only after several years of planting when the yield stabilizes.

Selection of seedlings is an important criteria for obtaining quality planting material. Early germinated nuts having a faster rate of leaf production is correlated with early flowering and high nut production. Those seed nuts which germinate within 3 months after sowing are suitable for planting and it is advisable to reject all the sprouts which appear 5 months after sowing. Short stem with good girth at collar, tendency to produce large number of leaves, dark green in colour and early splitting of the leaves are characteristics of quality seedlings which subsequently result in high-yielding palms.

In India, 9–12 months old seedlings are generally transplanted. Pruning of roots in seedlings up to 12 months does not cause any damage. However, in certain parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, 2–3 years old seedlings are also planted particularly in areas subjected to flooding and poor drainage in soil. However, in such cases, considerable root damage occurs to seedlings, resulting in delayed establishment and early growth retardation.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

The preparation of land for field planting depends upon topography, soil type and watertable. In undulating and slopy lands, after clearing under growth, soil conservation measures should be adopted to prevent soil erosion. Adequate drainage is also necessary in the initial years in waterlogged areas so that the roots of coconut palms do not come in contact directly with water. In waterlogged areas, coconut should be planted on raised mounds or bunds.

The major criterion for deciding optimum spacing for coconut is that the canopies of coconut plants should not touch each other between eighth and twentieth year of planting. At a spacing of 7.5m × 7.5m about 74% of the roots of coconut palm do not go beyond 2m laterally and 82% of the roots are confined between 30 and 120cm depth in soil. Thus the active root zone of coconut utilizes only 25% of the available land. In view of this there is a scope for variation in spacing adopted depending on soil type, varieties, inter- and mixed cropping. In square system of planting, a spacing of 7.5m or 9m is ideal for tall varieties, accommodating 175 and 124 palms/ha respectively. In triangular system, a spacing of 9m accommodates about 140 palms. Hedge system of planting is also adopted particularly in case of establishment of seed-gardens with dwarfs and talls planted in alternate rows in different spacings to facilitate easy hybridization. In single hedge systems, a spacing of 9m from row-to-row and 5m within rows should be adopted.

Pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size are prepared during summer months. However, surface planting is also adopted particularly in Karnataka and coastal Maharashtra. In lowlying areas, coconuts are planted on raised mounds/bunds. Organic wastes are put into the planting pits and burnt before planting. Furdan @ 5g/pit is also added. The pits are filled up to 0.25–0.30m depth with a mixture of top soil, sand and wood-ash. A small pit to accommodate the nut portion of the seedling is deepened in the filled up portion of the pit. The seedlings are planted at the centre of pits. The soil around the pit is firmly pressed. Care should be taken to see that the collar of the seedling is not covered by the soil. Suitable supports are given so that the roots are not affected by wind. The planting season varies from place-to-place. However, most appropriate time of planting is during the beginning of the monsoon period (May–June) and October–November in the lowlying areas.

The young seedlings planted in fields require adequate shade during first year of planting. Shading properly reduces initial mortality of plants. Keep the field weed-free. Regular irrigation should be given during summers.

Manuring and fertilization

Coconut palms should be manured from the first year of planting itself. The productivity of coconut is adversely affected if its palms are not fed property in the beginning. A dose of 0.5kg N, 0.32kg P 2 O 5 and 1.2kg K 2 O/year is optimum for an adult palm. The first dose of fertilizer should be applied 3 months after planting. The dosage should be gradually increased. The full dose of fertilizer is applied from fourth year onwards.

The fertilizer should be applied under optimum soil moisture condition. The one-third dose of fertilizer is applied immediately after the onset of south–east monsoon and the remaining dose at the end of the monsoon. A shallow trench of 1.8m radius around the base of the coconut is made. One-third of the fertilizer dose is applied around the basin covered with organic manure and soil. Application of farmyard manure (50kg/palm) is essential to supplement inorganic fertilizer. For phosphatic fertilizer, rock phosphate is cheapest and best, particularly for acidic soil. The application of P can be skipped for a few years if available P in the soil is more than 20ppm. Basin cultivation of green manure crops like Calopogonium and Mimosa imvisa during the monsoon season can generate up to 25kg green manure which can be incorporated into the basin before flowering. Compared to the local talls, hybrids particularly D×T are found to be most efficient users of applied nutrients.

Irrigation

Response of coconut palms to irrigation is location-specific and depends on climate, soil, topography and ground watertable. Moisture stress increases leaf fall, lowers growth rate of reproduction, resulting in lower leaf area and reduction in light interception. The effect of moisture stress is reflected by the reduction of yield due to reduction in number of bunches, number of female flowers/inflorescence and setting percentage besides shedding of tender nuts. The size of nut and copra content are also reduced due to moisture stress. During summer months in coastal Kerala and Karnataka, 200 litres water once in 4 days in the basin of 1.8m radius is recommended. The irrigation requirement of coconut depends on amount of rainfall, its distribution, soil characteristics, climatic condition, annual temperature, relative humidity and pan evaporation. Drip irrigation economizes use of water, besides improving the water-use efficiency. In drip irrigation, 30–40 litres water/day is optimum for west coast condition. Sprinkler or perfo spray is recommended in coconut plantations with inter- and mixed crops and coconut-based cropping system. Mulching with coconut husk, coir dust, green leaves and dry coconut leaves not only improves water-retention capacity but also reduces the soil erosion hazards. It helps in controlling weeds apart from conservation of soils moisture.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

On an average, coconut yields 44 nuts/palm/year. However, under scientific cultivation West Coast Tall gives 80 nuts/palm/year in coastal Kerala and Karnataka. The hybrids yield 100–140 nuts/palm/year. Coconut ripen in 12–13 months from the opening of the inflorescence. To get maximum yield of copra and oil only fully mature nuts should be harvested. Immature nuts provide 6–33 and 5–33% less copra and oil respectively. Superior, golden-brown, quality fibre with elastic and good tungston strength is obtained from 10-month-old nuts.

The harvested nuts are stored in heaps under shade for a few days since the stored nuts are easy to husk. The moisture content of the meat decreases, whereas thickness of the meat layer increases. However, storage of harvested nuts is beneficial if fully matured nuts are harvested. Postharvest management of coconut involves its conversion into copra and coconut oil. Coconut husk is used to manufacture coir mat, cushion and other products.

Two forms of copra are manufactured. They are edible copra and milling copra. However, milling copra is manufactured commercially. There are 2 types of edible copra—ball copra and cup copra. Ball copra is produced by storing fully mature unhusked nuts for 8–12 months on a raised platform usually made of bamboos. As the water eventually dries out the nut is dehusked and shell broken carefully to remove copra from inside in a ball form. For preparation of edible quality cup copra, fully mature nuts are stored for a long period. The selected nuts are dehusked, cut into cups and dried under the open sun. Cup copras are used for household edible preparation in northern India, since fresh coconuts are not available for edible purpose.

Milling copra is most popular coconut in southern states. In Kerala, 60–65% of the total coconut produced is converted into milling copra. It is made by sun-drying though often it is combined with kiln drying during the monsoon period. A number of economically feasible copra dryers using sunlight, farm wastes as fuel and even electrical dryers have been developed. Various capacity dryers are being fabricated and marketed by the Kerala Agro Industries Corporation.

Desiccated coconut is prepared in small-scale units mainly in Karnataka. It is a partially defatted product, yielding superior quality coconut oil also.

Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 44
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Rubiales
Family
:
Rubiaceae
Genus
:
Coffea
 
Coffee (Coffea arabica) is the second important commodity in the world trade after petroleum products. A native to the tropical rain forests of Ethiopia and Central Africa, this stimulating beverage crop was introduced into India during 1600 ad from Yemen and planted in the high hills in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. However, it was only during 18th century that the British entrepreneurs established commercial coffee plantations in south India. At present, coffee is cultivated in 3.4 lakh ha, covering Karnataka (56%), Kerala (25%) and Tamil Nadu (9%). The balance 10% of the area accounts for the non-traditional states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and north-eastern states. The annual production is around 2.9 lakh tonnes with an average productivity of 947kg clean coffee/ha. As a rural enterprise primarily, coffee industry provides direct employment to nearly 5 lakh people. The industry’s gross turn over per annum is around Rs 2,000 crores. Commercial production of coffee comes from 2 species, viz. Coffee arabica and C.carephora popularly known as Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee. Arabica, is suitable for highlands, producing superior quality, mild coffee but it is susceptible to major diseases and pests. Robusta coffee is more adaptable to lowlands and it is tolerant to major diseases and pests, producing rather inferior quality coffee. Arabica is the only self-fertile, allo-tetrapoid (2n=4x=44) species of the genus Coffea whereas and all the remaining species including ‘Robusta’ are cross-pollinating diploids (2n=22). Arabica is a small tree, a shrub or even a bush when properly trained. The branching is profuse with dark green leaves and white flowers. The flower buds are produced in the axils of leaves in clusters of 10–20 during October–March. The bloosom occurs 9–10 days after receiving bloossom showers usually during March to early-May under south-west as well as north-east monsoon conditions. It takes 8–9 months for the berry development and ripening after fertilization. Robusta is a robust plant with light green large leaves. The number of flowers/nodes are more and it takes nearly 10–11 months for berry development.
   
Climate and soil  
Coffee is grown under shade of forest cover to create suitable microclimate, simulative to that of its original habit of tropical rain forests. Location with well-distributed rainfall and good shade of evergreen trees are ideal for its cultivation.
 
Varieties

The varietal improvement programmes in India have been mainly focussed on breeding for leaf rust resistance, productivity and quality in Arabica coffee and for productivity and quality in Robusta coffee. Accordingly, 12 elite Arabica selections and 3 Robusta strains have been developed for commercial cultivation. The distinguishing features, yield potential and adaptability of popular selections are:

Arabica

S.795 (Robusta): Derivative of the cross between S.288 ‘Kents'. Bushes tall, very vigorous, wide spreading with profuse growth; yield potential 2000 kg/ha. Beans oblong, bold (70% ‘A' grade) with good cup quality. Resistant to common races I and II of leaf rust but susceptible to race VIII. Widely adaptable and recommended for cultivation in all Arabica zones. Popular variety occupying 70% of the arabica area.

Sln. 5A (Robusta): A spontaneous robusta x arabica hybrid spotted on a private estate in Coorg. Progeny of Devamachy × S.881, shows vigorous vegetative growth, with thick, small, oblong and leathery leaves. Manifests high field tolerance to leaf rust. Moderate yielder (1200kg/ha), and produces nearly 40% of ‘B' grade beans cultivated on a large scale in Andhra Pradesh.

Sln. 5B (Robusta)/SH: Cross bred line between S.333 × Devamachy. Characterized by uniform, vigorous, medium sized, semi dropping plants which also exhibit good field tolerance to leaf rust. Unlike the other family, this line produces bold beans; yield potential 1500kg/ha. Adaptable to most arabica tracts popular in Tamilnadu coffee tracts.

Sln. 6 (Robusta): Interspecific hybrid, derivative between robusta cv. S.274 and ‘Kent arabica'. F1 recurrently back crossed to ‘Kents' to achieve uniform, vigorous bushes. Plants show mixed type of rust reaction manifesting good field tolerance to rust. Yield potential around 1600kg/ha. Beans resemble arabica with FAQ to good cup quality. Hybrid well-adaptable to medium altitudes in all arabica tracts.

Sln. 9 (Robusta): Derivative of cross between Hibridode Timor (HDT) × Tafarikela. HDT a natural Robusta × Arabica hybrid and manifests highest tolerance to rust. Characterized by vigorous and drooping growth habit. Plants drought hardy, tolerant to rust under field conditions and yield potential around 1500kg/ha. Beans bold with 65% of ‘A' grade beans. Widely adaptable to medium altitudes and comes up well in supply positions. Gained popularity among growers.

Sln. 12 (Robusta): Semi-dwarf hybrid derivative (Caturra x HDT). Developed by international collaboration involving India, Portugal and other coffee growing countries. Bushes compact with vigorous vegetative growth and suitable for high density planting. Branches profuse, semi erect with closer inter nodes. An early bearer with a potential of over 2000kg/ha. Needs intensive cultivation for maintaining productive levels. Beans bluish green and medium in size with 64% and 15% of ‘A' and ‘B' grades respectively. Cup rating FAQ to good. Adaptable to all arabica tracts. Rust susceptibility high in lower and medium elevations. Intensive cultivation practices recommended.

S.274 and S.270 (Robusta): Seedling progenies of two high yielding mother plants identified in robusta genepool of India. Developed by mass selection. Grows into moderately large trees with vigorous growth. Fruits bold and borne in tight clusters of 30–35 fruits each. Ripening usually late compared to arabica and out turn ratio 5:1. Beans medium to round, green to greyish in appearance when wet processed and nearly 40% belong to ‘A' grade. Liquor rich in body and the cup neutral. Yield potential 1000–1200kg/ha under rainfed conditions and 2500kg/ha under irrigation. Widely adaptable. Recommended for all robusta tracts.

C × R: Interspecific hybrid derivative from the cross C. congensis × C. canephora (robusta). Plants intermediate to both the parents in size with compact secondary growth giving drooping appearance. Suitable for high density planting (9×9ft or 8×8ft) compared to other robustas (10×10ft). Fruits 30–40/node in tight clusters, orange to crimson red with prominent and projected navel. Early and uniform ripener compared to other robustas and the out-turn ratio is 5:4:1. Beans medium to bold, golden brown and about 54% ‘A' gradel. Liquor soft, neutral, with light to fair acidity. Cup rating fair to good. Yield potential of 1000–1200kg/ha under rainfed conditions and 2500kg/ha under irrigation.

   
Propagation
In India, coffee is commonly propagated through seeds. This method is simple and easy to generate a large number of plants. By seed propagation, reasonable levels of uniformity could be achieved in Arabica coffee (on selfing) because of its self-compatible nature. But, in cross-pollinated Robusta, seedling progeny show variability. Hence, vegetative propagation by using rooted cuttings of orthotropic shoots is recommended for achieving uniformity in Robusta. However, low multiplication rate is the main limitation for a large-scale field adoption of this method. Further, wedge-cleft grafting at seedling stage (2 months old) with Arabica scion and Robusta rootstock is recommended for planting in nematode-infested areas as Robusta is relatively tolerant to nematodes. Field grafting with superior scions is also recommended and widely practised both in Arabica and Robusta for conversion of unproductive and disease susceptibe plants to productive ones.
   
Cultivation  

For raising nursery, seed beds of 6m × 1m size raised 15cm from ground level are prepared under a overhead pandal, using a mixture of well-sieved forest soil, farmyard manure and sand. Seeds are usually sown during December–January (flat side of each seed facing soil), at a distance of 2.5–3.0cm in regular rows and covered with a thin layer of finely sieved soil. The beds are then mulched with paddy straw and watered daily. Under optimum conditions, seeds germinate in about 45 days. The seedlings at ‘button' or ‘toppee' stage (before the opening of cotyledonary leaves) are transplanted into polybags 22.5cm × 15cm size tightly filled with forest soil, farmyard manure and sand in a (6:3:1 ratio) and arranged in rows with support of bamboo under the overhead pandal. The basket nursery is regularly watered and occasionally provided with a pinch of urea in each bag. To protect yound seedlings from brown eye-spot disease ( Cercospora coffeicola ), spray Captan or Dithane M-22 or ferbam (0.4%) (5g/litre) or Foltap 88WP (captafol) (0.3%) (3.75g/litre) at 30 days interval. The polybag seedlings attain 5–6 pairs of leaves in about 6 months and become ready for planting.

Planting and aftercare

Necessary care should be taken in selection of ideal land considering the altitude, aspect, rainfall, exposure to wind, shade trees etc. In each designated block, line marking should be done by locating the points for planting seedlings as per the recommended distance between plants and rows. Generally in flat or gentle slopes, square system of planting and in step areas terracinga and contour planting are adopted. The optimum spacing for different coffee species/varieties is as follows:

Arabica:   (tall varieties) 6' x 6' , 7' x 6', 7' x 7'

                (Semi-dward varieties) 5' x 5'

 Robusta:  (S. 274) 10' x 10'

                C x R 8' or 9' x 9'

For planting, pits of 45 cm × 45 cm x 45 cm size are dug after first summer showers. The pits should be exposed for weathering for 15–20 days and then closed by using the top soil. Supplementing pits with compost/farmyard manure @ 1kg/pit and small quantity of rockphosphate is essential. Healthy and vigorous seedlings (6–8 months old) are selected and planted during monsoon (July–September). The ball plants are planted in the centre of the pit and surrounding soil is tightly packed. The tip of the tap root is nipped before planting if found bent. The planted seedlings are provided with cross stakes and mulched with dry leaves. For lower canopy shade, 1–2m long stakes are planted for every 2 plants during June (on commencement of south-west monsoon). In exposed areas, the seedlings should be provided with hutting using cut branches of shade trees.

Training and pruning

Training of coffee bush is essential to build up a strong framework which promotes the production of bearing wood for subsequent years. Generally, 2 types of training, viz. single stem and multiple stem are adopted for coffee. However, in India, where coffee is grown under shade, single stem training is more suitable. In this method, bush is restricted to a convenient height by topping/capping. When the plants attain the required height (Arabica: tall, 75cm and dwarf, 90–135cm and Robusta: 105–120cm), the main stem along with growing apical shoot is cut (5cm) above the node, which allows the lateral spread of the plants. The new suckers arising from main stem are removed periodically. Usually Arabica and Robusta take 9–12 and 18–24 months respectively, for reaching the first topping height. In Arabica, second tier is raised up to 1.5m by allowing a new sucker just below the topmost primary branch and capping at 1.5m. The age for raising the second tier is determined by proper establishment and spread of the plant.

Pruning is another important operation in coffee which is essentially a thinning process of branches in order to balance the vegetative and reproductive wood as the crop is produced on second year wood in coffee. Regular pruning facilitates the removal of old unproductive, criss-cross, lean, lanky and whippy wood, diseased and damaged branches and branches going toward main stem, for encouraging the growth of new branches that would become subsequent years cropping wood. Further, pruning permits entry of sunlight and air to bushes, thereby minimizing the pest/disease incidence and improving efficiency of spraying, swabbing, harvesting etc. Pruning is commenced after harvesting. It is continued till the onset of monsoon. When dry conditions prevail, it is better to commence the pruning after few summer showers. The main pruning should be followed by 1 or 2 rounds of handling (June–July and August–September), during which the new flush arising after the pruning and new suckers growing from main stem are removed. The bushes that lost shape due to physical damage and irregular pruning can be rejuvenated by collar pruning the main stem at about 30cm from the ground level. Subsequently a vigorously growing sucker from 2.5cm below the cut stem can be allowed and trained to form a single stem canopy.

Soil management

To check serious problem of soil erosion in slopy hill ranges/high rainfall regions, contour planting and terracing are practised. For conservation of soil moisture in coffee plantations, digging, scuffling, trenching and mulching are recommended. In new clearings, during the end of monsoon the field is given thorough digging to a depth of 37.5–45cm which is known as cover digging. It is practised only during the initial 1 or 2 years after planting and this operation helps in suppression of weed growth and conservation of soil moisture in new clearings. In established coffee field, scuffling (soil stirring) is practised towards the end of monsoon (October–November). It is advisable to mulch the soil around the plants with dry leaves, weed slashings, cherry husk or any other organic wastes, after digging/scuffling operations for more efficiency. In slopy areas, trenches or cradle pits are opened during August–October. Trenches of 20'' wide and 12'' deep and any convenient length are dug in a staged manner in between the rows of coffee all along the contour. Cradle pits are short trenches of 90–150cm long. Trenches and cradle pits act as mini compost pits for fallen leaves, weed biomass besides conserving soil moisture and preventing soil erosion. These pits are renovated once in 2–3 years by removing the deposits which can be spread to surrounding plants. In low lying fat lands, drainage channels of 20'' wide and 12'' deep are dug between the rows at suitable intervals to avoid water stagnation. eriodical application of farmyard manure helps maintain soil fertility.

Fertilization

Soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 is ideal for optimum growth of the coffee plants. Liming is recommended for coffee soils with pH below 6.2. Lime can be applied by broadcasting or by soil incorporation, any time during the year provided enough moisture is present in the soil. The best period is November–February and soil incorporation gives better result than broadcasting.

Coffee being a perennial crop, optimum nutritional supply is essential to cope with the twin functions of berry development and fresh wood growth for the succeding crop concurrently. To get one tonne of clean coffee, NPK dose of 12:90:120 kg and 80:60:80kg (in 3–4 splits as pre-blossom, mid-monsoon and post-monsoon applications) is adequate for Arabica and Bobusta, respectively, in an unit area. The fertilizer recommendation is common for all the varieties within Arabica and Robusta types irrespective of the regions. Fertilizer should be placed around the plant (drip circle) instead of broadcasting and covered with leaf mulch to get maximum fertilizer efficiency. Foliar spraying of nutrients (1% urea or 2% DAP, 1% SSP, 0.1% MOP, 0.25% zinc sulphate), in addition to soil application are beneficial generally during high cropping year.

Weed management

It is essential for establishment of coffee and for getting good yield even though it is a labour-intensive and time-consuming operation. Generally, weeding is done manually. New clearings are hand weeded 3–4 times and established coffee fields 2–3 times a year. During monsoon season, weeds are slashed back with the help of matchet. Clean weeding is done during post-monsoon period. In young clearings, interplanting of green manure crops, cover crops, and annual crops such as grain legumes, cassava, beans, pigeonpea, yam, sweet potato, vegetables, pineapples etc. help in suppression of weed growth to a large extent. Chemical weed control methods are employed where labour is scarce or expensive. Paraquat-di-chloride 24% EC @ 0.067% a.i. (eg. Gramoxone @ 500ml/barrel) and Glyphosate 41% EC @ 0.27% a.i. (eg. Glycel @ 1200ml/barrel) are recommended weedicides.

The cost of chemical weeding can be brought down by nearly 50% by adding urea @ 1% in spray solution. The dose of Gramoxone could be brought down to 250ml/barrel and that of Round up or Glycel to 600–800ml/barrel if urea (2kg/ barrel) is added to the spray solution. Knap-sack or bak-pak sprayers (low pressure, high volume) fitted with plastic container are preferred for weedicide application in coffee. Weedicides should be applied on a bright sunny day when there is sufficient moisture in soil and active growing stage of weeds before their flowering/seed setting. First round of blanket application should be taken up during April-end or early-May and second round towards end of monsoon, i.e. September/October which have to be followed by 1 or 2 spot applications.

Irrigation

The coffee tracts in south India usually edxperience drought period of 3–4 months from December onwards. Simetimes, north-east monsoon tapers off by the end of October itself leading to extension of dry period. The prolonged drought limits coffee production even in well-managed estates. It also affects successful establishment of young coffee. Arabica coffee can withstand dry conditions than Robusta which is highly susceptible to drought. Insufficient and delayed blossom and backing showers adversely affect the yields of both Arabica and Robusta. If blossom rains are delayed beyond March in case of Robusta and beyond April incase of Arabica, then the production receives a setback. In such situations, irrigation is recommended especially for Robusta coffee as it responds well to irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation is most popular because of its suitability to any terrain and the amount and rate of water application can be carefully monitored and controlled. The recommended schedule of irrigation for coffee, is:

For successful establishment of young coffee: 2.5cm of water at 15 days interval during dry months.

Irrigation for blossom and backing: For inducing normal blossom in Robusta, 2.5–3.25cm of water during second fortnight of February to second week of March followed by 2.5 cm backing, 15–20 days after flowering. Irrigation of Arabica coffee is generally not recommended/practised as it can withstand drought to a greater extent.

Irrigation of mature coffee during dry months: It can be practised wherever water is available in plenty. The first irrigation should be given with 2.5–3.25cm of water immediately after 15–20 days of cessation of rains. The next irrigation should be given at 15–20 days interval up to December.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

In India, there is only one cropping season. Arabica coffee is harvested from November to January and Robusta from December to February. Manual harvesting is practised in India. It is the most labour-intensive operation. Coffee is processed either by wet method to produce plantation/parchment coffee or by dry method to obtain cherry coffee and both these processing methods involve skill as well as science. For preparation of both these types, picking of fruits at the correct stage of ripening (just ripe berries - on gentle squeezing the fruit, the beans inside pop up easily) is essential. Over or under-ripe berries result in poor cup quality after processing. If, for any reason, coffee cannot be harvested as and when it ripens, the over and under-ripe fruits and also green fruits should be sorted out and processed separately as cherry. Just ripened berries are ideal for pulping to prepare washed/parchment coffee.

The yields of coffee depend upon variety, management practices, location etc. The average Robusta yields varied between 1,000 and 1,200kg/ha under un-irrigated conditions and 2,000 and 5,000kg/ha under irrigated conditions in different zones irrespective of variety.

Parchment coffee

Preparation of parchment coffee by wet method requires pulping equipment and adequate supply of clean water, wherein the just ripened fruits are pulped followed by de-mucilaging, washing and drying steps. Fruits should be pulped on the day of harvest itself to avoid fermentation before pulping. The pulper should be properly adjusted to avoid cuts. The fruits may be fed through siphon arrangement to ensure uniform feeding and also to separate lights and floats from sound fruits. The pulped parchment should be properly sieved to eliminate un-pulped fruits and fruit skin. In plantations where water availability is a problem, re-circulation of water in pulping section is advisable. Re-circulation should not be for more than one day. It is desirable to grade the beans based on density at pre-fermentation stage by passing through a channel having pronounced slope or Aagard pregrader or a grading device.

The mucilage on the pulped parchment skin can be removed in specifically designed vats either by natural fermentation (allowing to ferment by itself for 24–36hr in Arabica and 48–72hr in Robusta) or treatment with alkali (application of 10% caustic soda solution, i.e. sodium hydroxide for 1 hr for Arabica and 1 to 1.5hr for Robusta) or enzymatic method (by using commercial pectinolytic enzymes) or removal of mucilage by friction (by using specific machines). On completion of fermentation step, the beans feel rough and gritty when squeezed by hand, a feeling similar to pebbles. The post-fermentation soaking is recommended wherever abundant water is availabe. The washed parchment should be soaked under water for 12–24hr (overnight) and then given a final wash. This helps in improving the visual quality as well as cup.

The final step on-farm processing is the uniform sun-drying of parchment to the prescribed moisture standard (water content of 50–55% in wet parchment should be brought down to 10% on drying). It is advisable to take up initial surface drying for 24–48hr in trays with wiremesh bottom, mounted above ground level. Subsequently the parchment can be spread uniformly (7–10cm thickness) on titled or concrete drying yards. Drying at this stage should be steady and continuous with constant stirring. Each day, the parchment should be heaped up in the evening and kept covered with polythene sheet until next morning before spreading again. It may take 7–10 days for drying under bright weather conditions. As the right stage of drying, the parchment becomes ‘crumbly' and the beans split clean when bitten between the teeth. to confirm the drying, it has to be test weighed. Drying is considered complete when sample forlits 40 litres of coffee record the same weight (15.5kg) for two consecutive days. Then the coffee is ready for packing and storage.

Cherry coffee

Cherry coffee preparation is rather simple. The just ripe fruits have to be dried evenly on drying yard (7–8cm thickness) for 12–15 days till the dried cherry produces a rattling sound. The greens and over-ripe fruits have to be sorted out and should be dried as separate lots. The test weight for cherry coffee is 16kg for one forlits (40 l).

In India, most of the Arabica coffee is processed as parchment coffee while bulk of Robusta is made as cherry coffee. After drying, coffee should be packed in gunny bags and stored on raised wooden platforms in well ventilated and dry store houses. The parchment and cherry coffee should not be stacked together. It is advisable to dispatch the dried coffee to curing factories at the earliest possible. Subsequent processing of both these types is carried out mechanically at curing factories. At curing houses, the parchment/cherry coffee is hulled, graded (based on size standards of beans) and polished. The cured coffee is called green coffee which is traded in the market.

Coffee quality is a cumulative index of many characteristics of coffee such as physical appearance in the raw and roast as well as liquor qualities like aroma, body and acidity in the cup.

Treatment of coffee processing effluents

Preparation of parchment coffee involves the usage of high amount of water and it is estimated that for wet processing of one tonne of clean coffee by using conventional pulper and washer, the water requirement is 80,000 litres for arabica and 93,000 litres for Robusta. The resultant waste water causes pollution problems as these effluents contain high amounts of suspended and dissolved organic solids. Their pollution load measured in terms of BOD (biological oxygen demand) ranges from 2.5 to 12g/litre. Hence, it is recommended that coffee effluents should be subjected to biological treatment methods involving anaerobic digestion followed by aerobic lagooning in order to treat high strength organic wastes.

   
Physiological Disorders

Die-back

Die-back is a physiological disorder that refers to the death of young branches during dry period. Pre-mature yellowing of leaves and drying of young tertiary branches from third and fourth node progressing either ways towards tip as well as downwards are its symptoms. It occurs due to adverse environmental factors such as high temperature exposure to high light intensity, low soil moisture, low relative humidity and depletion of reserve carbohydrates. The after effects are interveinal chlorosis and narrow crinkled, small leaf formation with abnormal branching after the onset of first summer showers. Remove dead and whippy wood. Provide optimum shade (30%). Spray pre-blossoms and per-monsoon Bordeaux mixture (0.5%). Conserve soil moisture status by thick mulch. Apply adequate quantity of fertilizer and nutrients. Liming of soils to correct pH is also necessary.

Pre-mature fruit drop

Pre-mature fruit drop usually occurs in coffee during the berry development stage, 90–120 days after blossom. The extent of fruit drop varies depending upon the field conditions (waterlogging-wet feet) as well as physiological status of the bush (hormonal imbalance, carbohydrate content and nutrient deficiency). ‘Wet feet' condition in the plantations is due to continuous heavy rainfall with cool ambient temperature, high relative humidity, cloudy weather and improper drainage leading to waterlogging.

The fruit drop can be checked by adopting proper soil cultivation methods like providing good drainage, cradle pits etc. In addition, post-blossom (15 days after blossom) and per-monsoon application of one of these growth regulators (hormonal or Planofix or Agronaa or Miraculan or Atonik @ 50ml/200litres of water or Potozyme or Cytozyme crop plus @ 60ml/200 litres of water) is also useful in controlling pre-mature fruit drop. A total quantity of 1,500litres of spray solution is adequate for a hectare crop.

Bean disorders

Bean disorders like black bean, black jolloo and normal jolloo are generally observed in Arabica coffee due to physiological factors during bean development stage. It is reported to the extent of 2–10% from different localities. The main reason attributed to the bean disorders is the short supply or depletion of carbohydrate reserves during bean development stage. The depletion of plant reserves may be due to defoliation associated with rust disease and consecutive high crops, low light intensity because of overcast/hanging mist, hailstorm damage, soil saturation 14–16 weeks after flowering, skipping/reducing fertilizer dosage, lack of proper bush management and maintenance of high shade.

Two rounds of Bordeaux mixture as pre-monsoon and post-monsoon applications (during May and September) is quite good to keep it under control.

The post-monsoon application of Bordeux mixture could be given along with urea (0.5%) and muriate of potash (0.375%) (1kg urea and 750g of MOP/barrel).

Soil application of NPK at recommended doses and splits is recommended.

Proper bush handling, shade management and other cultural operations are essential.

Drought management

Inadequate and uneven distribution of rainfall causes drought conditions especially in Robusta coffee. Drought conditions affect vegetative growth, inducing floral abnormalities and poor fruit set. In the absence of water resources and irrigation facilities, it is recommended to spray coffee with a mixture of 0.5% each of urea (1kg) and superphosphate (1kg), 0.375% muriate of potash (750g) and 0.5% zinc sulphate. This mixture should be applied @ 1 litre/plant. First spray should be given 45 days after last rainfall (second fortnight of January) and second spray 30–45 days after the first spray.

TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 64,84
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Lamiales
Family
:
Lamiaceae
Genus
:
Solenostemon
 
Coleus, popularly known as Chinese potato or koorka, is one of the minor tubers used for edible purpose. Its tubers are used as vegetable. It is a bushy, annual, herbaceous, growing to a height of 20–35cm. The leaves are thick, succulent with aromatic smell. The dark brown, round to oval-shaped, small tubers are found at the base of stems bearing aromatic flavour. It is grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It is also cultivated on a small scale in north-eastern states. The tribals of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh enjoy this delicious vegetable with a pleasant flavour.
   
Climate and soil  

A hot humid climate is ideal for its cultivation, even though it comes up well in subtropical to hot temperate climate. It is susceptible to cold and cannot withstand frost. An evenly distributed rainfall is essential for its cultivation. The crop cannot tolerate drought condition as well.

Sandy loam to alluvial soil with adequate organic matter is best-suited for its cultivation. Heavy clay soil without proper drainage and poor aeration is unsuitable. The soil pH of 6.5–7.0 is ideal.

 
Varieties
An improved variety, Sree Dhara, has been released by the CTCRI, Thiruvanantha-puram, for Kerala state. Its yield potential is 20–25 tonnes/ha over a 6-month period. Local cultivars are popular in different parts of India. These are of two types. Some have smaller-sized tubers with good flavour, whereas others have larger-sized tubers with higher yield.
   
Propagation
Suckers, stem cuttings or tubers are generally used as planting material. Suckers are raised from healthy mature tubers. Normally 0.4–1.2 tonnes of tubers are planted in 0.2 ha of land to produce planting material (sucker) for a hectare crop. Nursery beds are prepared well. The 15cm high and 1.0m wide beds are prepared. The tubers are planted at 5cm × 15cm spacing 4cm below the soil surface. Sprouting starts after 15 days and it grows 15–20cm long after 3 weeks. Stem-cuttings of 15–20cm length from these sprouts are used as planting material. However, direct planting of suckers favours better crop establishment. Requirement of planting material is very high and quite expensive for Coleus cultivation. Repeated cuttings of suckers at 15 days interval from same sprouted seed tuber can minimize the quantity of propagating seed tuber material. Thus a 50kg seed tuber could generate enough planting material for one hectare crop within 2 months. But in this method only staggered cultivation is possible.
   
Cultivation  

Planting

The soil is ploughed thoroughly to a depth of 20–25cm. Add farmyard manure @ 10–25 tonnes/ha before final ploughing depending on soil type. The ridges are made 15–20cm high 30–35cm apart. Three different methods are generally followed for planting. In ridge method, stem cuttings (15–20cm long) with 5 leaves are planted on ridges at 15–20cm spacing. In coiled planting method, 22cm long stem pieces are used. The 12cm long portion of stem is coiled and placed in a hole of 7cm diameter and 5cm depth. In horizontal planting method, two pieces of 30cm long stem cuttings are placed side by side along the ridges in opposite direction. Such pairs of stem cuttings are placed 7–10cm apart. Dense planting produces smaller tubers but controls weed infestation. Of the planting methods, coiled method gives highest tuber yield. Planting during first week of October gives highest yield under irrigated condition. Otherwise Coleus is mostly cultivated under rainfed condition.

Manuring and fertilization

At the time of field preparation, in addition to 10 tonnes/ha farmyard manure, add 30kg N and 50kg K along with 60kg P/ha. Apply 30kg N and 50kg K 40–45 days after planting at the time of earthing-up. The application of fertilizer in split doses is quite beneficial.

Aftercare

Initial weeding operations are done 3 weeks after planting. The second weeding is done 6 weeks after planting along with half dose of N and K. Foliar spraying of Cycocel (100–150ppm) thrice enhances tubers yield.

Irrigation

Irrigation is applied after planting for proper establishment of the crop. In late planting (October), irrigation is given as and when required to provide adequate moisture during tuber development phase. Care should be taken to maintain proper moisture in the field to encourage better growth and tuber development.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
The crop duration is 4–6 months, depending on the cultivar. The maturity of crop is adjudged with onset of leaf fall from the standing crop. After maturity, tubers are harvested without delay as in mature tubers decay starts quickly if left in the field. The average yield is 7–15 tonnes/ha. It can be increased up to 18–20 tonnes/ha. With the maturity of tubers leaves start falling from stems, an indicator of crop maturity. If the mature tubers are left in the field, there are chances of deterioration in their quality.
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Chromosome Number: 28
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Alismatales
Family
:
Araceae
Genus
:
Colocasia
 
Colocasia or taro is most important and one of the oldest crops. Two types of Colocasia—eddoe (C. esculenta var. antiquorum) and dasheen (C. esculenta var. esculenta)—are commonly cultivated throughout India. The eddoe type is commonly called arvi and dasheen as bunda. Eddoe type is most prevalent as vegetable. Africa ranks first in area and production of Colocasia, followed by Asia. The exact area under this crop in India is not known. It has very high yield potential (30–40 tonnes/ha). Colocasia tubers are rich in starch. The leaves and petioles are also used as vegetables. This crop has great medicinal value and is included in many Ayurvedic preparations. Colocasia tubers contain more protein, minerals, phosphorus and iron compared to other tuber crops.
   
Climate and soil  
Colocasia requires moist conditions. In natural habitat, it is commonly found near water sources. This crop also survives well at high altitudes on hills if frost-free conditions remain during the cropping season. An annual rainfall of 700–1,000mm, well-distributed during growth period is required for optimum tuber yield. Well-drained and fertile sandy loam soil is ideally-suited for its cultivation. It also comes up well in fertile loamy to clay loam soil. It can stand well in heavy soils and withstand waterlogged condition. The pH of 5.5–7.0 is ideal.
 
Varieties
Colocasia has a wide variability and a large number of local cultivars are grown in different parts of India. Satamukhi, Sree Rashmi and Sree Pallavi are improved varieties. White Gauriya, Kakakachu, Panchamukhi, NDC 1, NDC 2, NDC 3, Saharshamukhi, Kadma, Muktakeshi, Nadia Local, Ahina Local Telia, Jhankhri and White Gauriya are promising varieties for eastern zone; Satamukhi and Saharshamukhi for western zone; and Satamukhi, Sree Rashmi, Sree Pallavi and C 16 for southern zone.
   
Propagation
Colocasia is propagated vegetatively mostly by small cormels weighing 20–25g. Healthy, disease and injury-free uniform sized planting material should be selected and stored in a cool place at least for 3 months before planting. One tonne planting material is enough for planting a hectare crop.
   
Cultivation  

Planting

Land preparation till a fine tilth is very essential. A spacing of 60cm × 45cm is recommended for Colocasia. Planting of cormels should be done at 45cm spacing on ridges made 60cm apart. Flat bed method can also be adopted under upland conditions having good drainage. Planting in small pits is good in flat bed planting. Mulching with leafy material reduces weed incidence, conserves moisture and increases tuber yield. The depth of planting of cormels varies between 5–10cm. Higher planting density at a distance of 45cm × 30cm is also effective but its seed requirement is 1.5–2.0 tonnes/ha. The spacing is also determined on the availability of water supply and extent of solar radiation received.

Rainy season is ideal time for planting, whereas February–March is for irrigated areas. However, recommended planting season for different states are: June and February for Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh; April–June for Kerala; February for Andhra Pradesh; May for Tamil Nadu; and April for Assam.

Manuring and fertilization

Cattle manure or compost is recommended @ 10–15 tonnes/ha. The application of 80:60:60kg/ha of N:P:K is economical dose for most parts of India. An application of 80:50:100kg/ha of N:P:K is optimum for Kerala, 80:60:80kg/ha for Andhra Pradesh, and 120:60:120kg/ha for Maharashtra. Half dose of N and K, and full dose of P should be given at the time of planting, while the remaining half dose of N and K should be applied in 2 split doses, first 7–10 days after sprouting and second a month later. Earthing-up should be done after each topdressing.

Aftercare

It is essential to keep the field clean and weed-free. Hand-weeding should be done along with earthing-up. Generally 2 earthing-up operations are required, first 7–8 days after sprouting and the second a month later. The topdressing of fertilizer is done along with earthing-up. Desuckering is done at the time of second earthing-up. Only 3 suckers/plant should be retained.

Irrigation

Irrigation throughout the growing season increases yield of corms and cormels. About 5–8 irrigations are required for maximum yield of cormels under summer condition for Bihar and 8–10 for Andhra Pradesh. The kharif crop is grown under rainfed conditions, but protective irrigation should be given if the rainfall is not regular.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The crop matures 120–150 days after planting. This is indicated by drying up of leaves. Harvesting is done by digging out the corms and cormels. The mother corms and cormels are separated before marketing. It yields 30–40 tonnes/ha depending on variety and type grown. The dasheen Colocasia has higher yield potential compared with eddoe type. In dasheen taro, mother corms are marketed while cormels are marketed in eddoe type.

Damage to tubers should be avoided while harvesting. The damaged tubers should be separated from the marketing lot and consumed within 2–3 days. The tubers selected for marketing purpose should be spread on ground under shade for a day and the soil adhering to the tubers should be removed before packing. Tubers should not be packed in air tight conainers. Packing in jute bags or baskets prevents rotting during storage.

   
Physiological Disorders
Water stagnation in the field results in tubers that become very hard to cook. This occurs both in dasheen as well as eddoe varieties. To maintain the cooking quality of tubers, proper drainage should be maintained in the field.
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Chromosome Number: 22
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Apiales
Family
:
Apiaceae
Genus
:
Coriandrum
 
Coriander is used as common flavouring substance. The stems, leaves and fruits have a pleasant aroma. The whole young plant is used in preparing chutney. Its leaves are used for flavouring curries, sauces and soups. Dry fruits are extensively used in preparation of curry powder, pickling spices, sauces and seasonings. In medicines, its seeds are used as a carminative, refrigerant and diuretic. In India, coriander is cultivated in Andhra Pradehs, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
   
Climate and soil  

Coriander is a tropical crop, it require frost-free climate particularly at the time of flowering and seed formation. Dry and moderately cool weather during seed formation increases yield as well as quality of the produce.

In irrigated conditions, loamy soil is best suited for its cultivation, whereas in unirrigated ones black or heavy soil is better than loamy. Saline, alkaline and sandy soils are not suitable for its cultivation.

 
Varieties

RCr 41

Its plants are tall, errect with small-sized grains. It is highly resistant to stem gall and wilt but moderately tolerant to powdery mildew. It matures in 130–140 days with an average yield of 9.2 q/ha.

RCr 20

Its plants are bushy and spreading with medium height. It produces oval, large-sized grains. It is moderately tolerant to powdery mildew, wilt as well as stem gall. It matures in 100–110 days with an average yield of 10q/ha.

RCr 435

Its plants are bushy with quick early growth and medium-sized grains. It matures in 110–130 days with an average yiled of 10.5 q/ha.

RCr 436

Its plants are bushy with quick, early growth and bold grains. It matures in 90–100 days with an average yield of 11.09 g/ha under limited moisture conditions.

RCr 446

Its plants are leafy and erect with higher number of grains. Seeds are medium-sized. It matures in 110–130 days with an average yield of 12 q/ha.

GC 1

Its plants are erect with medium-sized, round, yellow coloured grains. It is moderately tolerant to wilt and powdery mildew. It matures in 112 days with an average yield of 11q/ha.

GC 2

Its plants are of semi-spreading habit with dense, dark green foliage and medium-sized grains. It is moderately tolerant to wilt and powdery mildew. It matures in 110 days with an average yield of 14.5 q/ha.

Sindhu

Its plants are dwarf with medium-bold, oval, straw-coloured grains. It is tolerant to wilt and powdery mildew, and resistant to aphids. It matures in 102 days with an average yield of 10.5 q/ha.

Sadhna

Its plants are semi-erect with bold, oval, straw–coloured grains. The variety is tolerant to white fly and mites. It matures in 100 days with an average yield of 10.3 q/ha.

Swathi

Its plants are semi-erect with medium-bold (16.8 g/1000 grains), oval, brownish-yellow grains. It is tolerant to whitefly, grain moulds and wilt. It yields 8.89 q/ha.

Co 1

Its plants are small-statured with globular, small–sized, dusty brown grains. It matures in 100–120 days with an average yield of 4.0 q/ha.

Co 2

Its plants are erect with oblong, medium-sized dull yellowish-brown grains. It matures in 90–110 days with an average grain yield of 5.2 q/ha and green yield of 100 q/ha.

Co 3

Its plants are dwarf with medium-bold, oblong, brownish-yellow grains. It is tolerant to wilt, powdery mildew and grain mould. It matures in 86–104 days with an average yield of 6.5 q/ha.

CS 287

Its plants are early-maturing with medium-sized, oblong, straw grains. It is tolerant to wilt and grain mould. It matures in 78–97 days with an average yield of 6.0 q/ha.

RD 44 (Rajendra Swathi)

Its plants are medium-sized with fine, round, aromatic grains. It is resistant to stem gall and moderately resistant to wilt, aphids and weevil. It matures in 100 days with an average yield of 13 q/ha.

DH 5

Its plants are medium-tall, bushy with round attractive grains of medium-size. It matures in 120–130 days with an average yield of 18–20 q/ha under good management.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing

Last week of October is optimum sowing time of coriander. Delayed sowing reduces the plant growth and increases the incidence of diseases and pests. A seed rate of 12–15 kg/ha is sufficient under irrigated conditions, whereas 25–30 kg/ha is required for unirrigated conditions. Sowing should be done 30cm apart in lines with a plant-to-plant distance of 10cm, whereas in heavy soils or fertile soils 40cm spacing between rows is recommended.

Manuring and fertilization

Add farmyard manure @ 10–20 tonnes/ha while preparing the field. Apply 20kg N, 30kg P and 20kg k/ha at the time of sowing in irrigated as well as in unirrigated crop. In irrigated coriander, an additional dose of 40kg N/ha should be applied in 2 equal splits 30 days and 75 day after sowing.

Weed control

Thinning, first hoeing and weeding should be done 30 days after sowing as initial growth of coriander is slow. Second hoeing and weeding in irrigated coriander may be done between 50 and 60 days of sowing depending upon the regrowth of weeds. Pre-plant Fluchloralin @ 0.75kg/ha, pre-emergent Oxyfluorfen @ 0.15kg/ha or Pendamithalin @ 1.0kg/ha are effective herbicides.

Irrigation

Depending upon the climatic conditions, moisture retaining capacity of soil and variety used, 4–5 irrigations 30–35, 60–70, 80–90, 100–105 and 110–150 days after sowing respectively are to be done.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Its seeds should be harvested when 50% seeds turn yellow. Leaf plucking (50%), 75 days after sowing helps generate extra income. The harvested material should be dried in shade to retain seed colour and quality. If it is not possible then material should be kept in bundles upside down to avoid direct sun rays on seeds which reduces their quality. After drying, seeds are separated by light beating with sticks and winnowing. An yield of 12–25 q/ha under irrigated condition and 7–8 q/ha under unirrigated condition can be easily obtained. Clean and dried seeds filled in bags are stored in damp-free aerated stores.
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 22
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Fabales
Family
:
Fabaceae
Genus
:
Vigna
 
Cowpea also known as southern pea and black-eye pea, is one of the most important vegetables. It is cultivated for its long, green or purplish pods to be cooked as vegetable or for dry seeds used as pulse. Its foliage is also used as fodder or green manure. Cultivated cowpea belongs to 3 groups—common cowpea, producing 20–30cm long pods with small seeds; catjang bean, producing 7–13cm long pods with 5–6mm kidney-shaped seeds and asparagus bean or yard long bean producing 30–90cm long, fleshy pods with elongated kidney-shaped, 8–12mm long seeds. In India, cowpea has been known since the Vedic period and it is grown almost throughout the country.
   
Climate and soil  
Cowpea can be grown almost in any type of soil but well-drained loam or slightly heavy soils are better. Saline or alkaline soils are not good. It is a warm season crop and can be grown in all tropical and subtropical areas. It can tolerate drought to some extent but cannot tolerate waterlogging. The germination is better at 12°–15°C temperature and the crop thrives best between 21°–35°C temperature. Frost is harmful to this crop. Partial shade can be tolerated. The varieties show varying response to temperature and day length.
 
Varieties

The criteria in the development of cowpea varieties for vegetable purpose have been primarily the pod yield and its quality. However, some varieties are dual purpose and are suitable for green pods as well as dry seed production.
Arka Garima
This is a pole type variety having 2.5–3m tall plants. It is more suitable for rainy season. During summer there is poor seed formation.
Cowpea 263
Its pods are 20cm long, flat and tender. The first harvest is available in 45–50 days. It is suitable for rainy as well as summer season. It is less susceptible to mosaic virus and yields much better than Pusa Dofasali in both the seasons.
Narendra Lobia 1
The plants become 40–45cm long with large green leaves. Green pods are 28–30cm long with purple terminal end. Each pod contains 10–12 seeds which are bold with black hilum. It takes 45–48 days to give first pod harvest and 75–80 days for seed maturity. Being photo-insensitive, it is also suitable for rainy as well as summer season.
Pusa Barsati
It is suited for rainy season cultivation. It is an early-maturing variety giving first picking in 45 days. The pods are light green, 25–28cm long, containing large green seeds.
Pusa Dofasali
The plants are dwarf and bushy yielding first harvest in 50 days. The pods are light green, erect, about 18cm long with creamy-white seeds having red coloured hilum. It is photo-insensitive and can be grown in rainy as well as summer season.
Pusa Komal
The plants are dwarf and bushy and the first green pods are available in about 60 days. Pods are light green, cylindrical, about 20–22cm long with creamy-white seeds. It is resistant to bacterial blight and is suitable for rainy as well as spring-summer sowing.
Pusa Phalguni
Its plants are dwarf and bushy yielding first picking in 60 days. The pods are dark green, erect, about 12.5cm long with cylindrical white seeds. It is more suited for spring sowing.
Pusa Rituraj
The plants are bushy and prolific-bearer. The pods are about 22–24cm long, thin with brown seeds when dry. Being highly photo-thermo insensitive, it can be grown during rainy as well as summer season. It takes 40–50 days to yield first harvest. It is a dual purpose variety since its pods as well as seeds are suitable for cooking.
Philippines Early
It has trailing growth habit. The first green pod harvest is available after 55–60 days of sowing. The pods are about 29cm long, creamy-white, fibreless, containing about 17 seeds/pod. This variety is more popular in Madhya Pradesh.
Yard Long Bean
This is commonly grown in home gardens particularly in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Its pods are about 50cm long. The plants are pole type having 2–3m height. It is a late-maturing variety.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing
In most of the areas, cowpea is grown during the rainy and summer seasons. Sowing in June–July is common for rainy season crop, but it could be extended to August for early-maturing bush varieties. Similarly, sowing in February–March is common for summer crop, particularly in northern plains, which could be extended up to mid-April. In areas having mild climate it is also grown during winter season. In hills, it is sown during April–July.
A seed rate of 12–15kg/ha is enough for rainy season crop, while 20–25kg/ha is required during summer. In mixed sowing with other crops, the seed rates may be reduced to half. Keep a spacing of 45–60cm from row-to-row during rainy season and 30cm during summer season. The plant-to-plant distance may be kept 10–15cm. Sowing may be done by seed drill. Adequate moisture in the soil is essential before sowing.
Manuring and fertilization
Depending upon availability, 15–20 tonnes/ha of farmyard manure may be incorporated in the soil at the time of field preparation. Being a nodule forming crop, cowpea does not require heavy nitrogen fertilization. Thus, only 20–25kg/ha N along with 50–70kg/ha of P2O5 and K2O may be applied as basal dose before sowing. The doses of P and K may be based on the soil test values to economize on fertilization.
Seed inoculation with Rhizobium culture is beneficial. In zinc-deficient areas zinc sulphate @ 10–15kg/ha may be applied in the soil.
Irrigation
Cowpea requires lighter but frequent irrigations. It is sensitive to waterlogging. During rainy season no irrigation may be required but in absence of timely rains supplemental irrigations may be needed. Similarly, in early sowing in pre-monsoon period 1 or 2 irrigations may be essential. The summer crop needs irrigation after every 8–12 days depending on soil and weather conditions. In sandy loam soil irrigation at 75% available moisture is optimum.
Aftercare
Effective weed management in first 25–30 days of the crop period is essential. At least 2 weedings and hoeings are needed to check the weeds. Fluchloralin @ 1kg/ha as preplant incorporation in the field or Alachlor or Nitrofen @ 2.0kg/ha each as pre-emergence spray are effective in controlling the weeds.
The pole type varieties need support, since the plants have twining growth habit. Such varieties are often restricted to kitchen gardening. However, in eastern Uttar Pradesh, they are also grown as mixed crop with jowar. The bush type cowpea can also be intercropped with maize. Cowpea is suitable to fit in several cropping sequences consisting of cereals and vegetables. Spraying of maleic hydrazide (50–200ppm) before flowering improves pod set and yield.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The pods are harvested when adequately developed and remain tender. Picking of pods 15 days after pod setting is ideal for vegetable purpose compared with other picking stages. The pods at this stage are longer, less fibrous, with more protein content and are more succulent. The harvesting starts from 45–50 days in the early cultivars which may continue up to 100 days in flushes. In all, 3–4 pickings are done in bush type and 5–6 pickings in pole type.
Depending on the season and variety, grain crop matures in 75–125 days. Generally for grain purpose, the pods are allowed to full maturity on plants and then the crop is harvested and threshed after proper drying. If on a smaller scale, the mature pods are picked up at intervals. On an average cowpea provides 50–80q/ha of green pods, the dry seed yield being 12–15q/ha.
For remunerative price it is better to remove the insect and disease damaged pods before marketing. Similarly fibrous and over mature pods should also be sorted out. For seed purpose, the harvested pods are dried for a few days before threshing. The threshed seeds are also dried sufficiently before storage in a cool and dry place. 

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 14
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Cucurbitaceae
Genus
:
Cucumis
 
Cucumber is cultivated for fresh consumption or as pickling cucumber for preservation, marinated with vinegar, salt, dill or other spices. India is considered to be the home of cucumber. It is an important salad crop cultivated both in north and south and lower as well as higher hills in India. Fruits varying in shape, size and colour contain 0.4% protein, 2.5% carbohydrates, 1.5mg iron, and 2mg of vitamin C in 100g of fresh weight. Fruits are good for people suffering from constipation, jaundice and indigestion.
   
Climate and soil  

Cucumber is a thermophilic and frost susceptible crop. It is essentially a warm-season crop grown mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Similarly, its cultivation in river-bed during winter months in India is a kind of ingenious system of vegetable forcing practised with minimum risk of growing in low temperature. It is very susceptible to frost. Generally long period of warm preferably dry weather and abundant sunshine are required. Excess humid conditions promote foliar diseases and pests like fruit fly. Cucumber prefers slightly low temperature compared to melons and hence it is grown extensively in subtropical regions.
Light intensity and time of day influence anthesis more than temperature in cucumber, but temperature has greater influence on anther dehiscence and pollen fertility. Stigma remains receptive for a very short duration. The optimum temperature favouring anthesis and dehiscence is 13°–18°C. Nevertheless, for optimum vegetative growth and yield, the temperature requirement is 18°–24°C.
A well-drained loamy soil is preferred by cucumber. Lighter soils which warm quickly in spring are usually utilized for early crop. It is necessary that soils should be fertile and well provided with organic matter. Cucumber prefers a pH of 5.5–6.8. It cannot tolerate high salt concentration. Soil temperature is a determining factor for quick germination and early maturity. The temperature of 18°–20°C is optimum. Besides, soil moisture is important for rapid growth. It should be at least 10–15% above the permanent wilting point. Deep soil supports the vine for a longer period. The long tap root system of cucumber is adapted for the growth of plants in river beds.

 
Varieties

Cucumber varieties grown in India vary from small pickling type to very large and thick ones grown in Rajasthan, Gujarat and north-eastern states. Most commonly grown varieties are Japanese Long Green, Straight Eight, Pusa Sanyog (all of them mostly restricted to the temperate region of the country), Poinsett, Poona Khira and Balam Khira. Recently, Himangi and Sheetal varieties have been recommended. Besides, a large number of local strains are grown in different states. Important varieties cultivated are:
Himangi
It is a recently recommended variety.
Japanese Long Green
A temperate cultivar, it is suited for cultivation in hills and lower hills. Its extra early fruits mature in 45 days. Fruits are 30–40cm long, with light green and crisp flesh.
Poinsett
Fruits are dark green and 20–25cm long. It is resistant to downy mildew, powdery mildew, anthracnose and angular leaf-spot.
Poona Khira
Fruits are small-sized and pale-green. It is popular in Maharashtra and border districts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Pusa Sanyog
It is an early and high-yielding hybrid. Fruits are 28–30cm long, cylindrical and dark green with yellow stripes and crisp flesh. Fruits mature in 50 days. It performs well in temperate regions only.
Sheetal
This variety is recommended for commercial cultivation in Konkan region.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing
In southern and central India, it is sown in October–November. In plains of north-eastern India, sowing time is from November to March when weather is comparatively dry. In Maharashtra, it should be sown in January–February (summer crop) and June–July (rainy season crop). In hills, its sowing time is April–May.
In northern India, seeds can be sown in alkathene bags (15cm × 10cm) of 100–200 gauge and germinated under protected cover to avoid low temperature injury. The seedlings should be transplanted at 2-leaf stage. An early raising of seedlings has a great future in cucumber whose growing season is restricted in northern plains due to its thermo-sensitivity (sensitive to low temperature of January–February and high temperature of April–May).
Generally soaking of seeds in water or 0.1% Bavistin for a few hours before sowing enhances their germination. Even invigoration of seed germination of even 4-year-old seeds is achieved by soaking them for 12hr in 3% KH2PO4 solution.
In India, furrow, bed and pit (deep and shallow and mounds) sowing methods are followed. In furrow sowing, furrows are made at 1.0–1.5m apart. Usually sowing is done on the top of the sides of furrows and vines are allowed to trail on the ground especially in summer season. This is very useful in summer season for an efficient and economic use of water. The hills should be made at a distance of 0.5–0.75m. A small quantity of BHC is added into the soil at the place where seeds are sown. About 5–6 seeds are sown in a pit and finally two vines are retained. About 2.5–3.5kg seed is enough for sowing one hectare crop.
Manuring and fertilization
Cucumber responds well to manuring and fertilization. The application of N, P and K not only increases the total yield but also improves the vegetative growth, flowering, fruit weight and dry-matter content.
Generally well-rotten farmyard manure @ 15–20 tonnes/ha is applied at the time of land preparation. The recommended nutrients for different states in India are given in Table 1.
Aftercare
For a successful crop, intense interculture is not required. During early stage, the crop should be kept weed-free. At the time of topdressing with nitrogenous fertilizers, weeding and earthing-up are done. When vine starts spreading weeding between rows or ridges becomes unnecessary since vine growth can smoother the weeds. At later stages pull out big weeds manually without disturbing the vines.
Pruning improves yield and fruit quality. Pruning all secondary shoots up to 5 nodes and afterwards pruning to a single stem plus 100cm × 60cm spacing gives highest yield. Generally its vines are allowed to trail on the ground in garden land and on sand in riverbeds. Vines are generally not trained when cucumber is grown commercially. However, staking of plants particularly in rainy season, is helpful in checking the rotting of fruits.
Intercropping is not followed in cucumber. However in riverbeds, it is always grown with muskmelon, watermelon or gourds.
Irrigation
The frequency of irrigation is very important for spring-summer crop, while in rainy season, irrigation may not be necessary at all, if rainfall is well-distributed from July to September. Generally, sprouted seeds are sown in spring-season and adequate moisture has to be maintained at the time of emergence. Usually pits, ridges or beds are light irrigated a day or 2 prior to sowing. The next irrigation is given 4–5 days after planting. Crust formation of the soil should be avoided. Irrigation once in 5–6 days is necessary depending upon soil temperature and location. Over irrigation as well as water-stress conditions are harmful to cucumber. Under water-stress conditions, weight of root decreases and stressed plants leach a large amount of amino acids and sugars from roots into surrounding media during recovery. Pitcher irrigation is also an efficient means of irrigating cucumber. With some modifications, the pitcher system of irrigation saves 40% water, reducing soil salinity compared to the conventional method of irrigation.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Fruits of cucumber attain edible maturity within a week from anthesis of female flowers, though variation for edible maturity exists among its varieties. Picking of fruits at right edible stage depends upon individual varieties and marketing requirement. In salad or slicing cucumber, dark green skin colour should not turn brownish-yellow or russeting. White spine colour is also a useful indication for their edible maturity. Further, over mature fruits show carpel separation in transverse section of the fruits. For commercial purpose, cucumbers are harvested at immature condition 5–7 days after pollination, depending upon the cultivar. If cucumber vines are trained vertically their fruits reach harvestable size a day or two early. The cucumber should be picked at 2 days intervals. However, their seeds mature 25–30 days after pollination. For seed purpose, pale-yellow and golden-yellow (mature fruit colour) cucumbers should be harvested in white and black spine varieties respectively. Its yield varies according to system of cultivation, cultivar, season and other factors. Generally cucumber yields about 80–120q/ha. Cucumber is packed in baskets and transported to markets. The river-bed farmers sell their produce to transport contractors and mandi agents who advance funds to them for cultivation.
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 14
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Apiales
Family
:
Apiaceae
Genus
:
Cuminum
 
Cumin is an important spice mainly cultivated for fla-vouring vegetables, pickles, soups etc. The mean violatile oil of indigenous collections varies from 2.5–3.5%. The seeds are extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines prescribed for stomach pain and dyspesia. The seeds also contain 17.7% protein, 23.8% fat, 35.5% carbohydrate and 7.7% minerals. In India, it is mainly cultivated in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
   
Climate and soil  
Moderately cool and dry climate is best for cumin cultivation. Cumin crop is not suitable in the areas with high humidity and frequent rains, particularly after flowering period, as it increases the incidence of disease like blight and powdery mildew. The best soil for cumin crop is well-drained, loamy soil. It can also be cultivated on medium heavy as well as moderately saline soils with gooddrainage. The field in which cumin crop has not been taken up at least during last 3 years should be selected.
 
Varieties

RZ 19

Its plants are erect with pink flowers and bold pubescent grains. It is more tolerant to wilt as well as blight. It matures in 120–140 days with an average yield of 5.6 q/ha.

RZ 209

Its plants are erect with pink flowers and bold, grey, pubescent grains, resistant to wilt and blight diseases, it matures in 140–150 days with an average yield of 6.5 q/ha.

GC 1

Its plants are erect with pink flowers and bold, linear, oblong, ash brown colour grains. It is tolerant to wilt disease. It matures in 105–110 days with an average yield of 7.0 q/ha.

GC 2

It was developed by Gujarat Agricultural University through pure line selection and released in 1991. The plants are bushy with good branching habit having attractive brownish-grey coloured grains. The variety is moderately tolerant to wilt, blight and powdery mildew. It matures in 100 days and gives an average yield of 7.0 q/ha.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing

Fennel should be sown during second and third week of November. It can be successfully sown up to 6th December. A seed rate of 12–15kg/ha is sufficient. It is sown by broadcasting and line sowing. The seeds are sown 10cm deep.

Manuring and fertilization

Add 10–15 tonnes of farmyard manure/ha. No additional manuring is required if in the preceding kharif crop 10–15 tonnes of farmyard or compost/ha has been applied. A dose of 20kg P 2 O 5 /ha should be applied at the time of sowing, 30 kg N/ha may be applied as top P 2 O 5 dressing either in single dose 30 days after sowing or in 2 equal splits.

Weed control

The cumin crop faces severe weed competition at all stages of growth because of its slow growth and short stature. For proper aeration and control of weeds at least twice hoeing and weeding are necessary, 30 and 60 days after sowing. Thinning should also be done during first hoeing and weeding to remove the excess plants. Application of pre-emergent Terbutryn or Oxcadiazone @ 0.5–1.0kg/ha or pre-plant Fluchloralin or pre-emergent Penimethalin @ 1.0kg/ha is very effective to control weeds. Jeeri ( Plantago pumila ) a serious weed, can be effectively controlled by Fluchloralin. At the time of weedicide application, sufficient moisture should be present in the soil.

Irrigation

Cumin requires less irrigation compared to other spices. First light irrigation is given immediately after sowing to wet the surface soil. At this time, flow of water in beds must be slow so that seeds are not distrubed. At the time of germination, second irrigation should be applied 8–10 days after first irrigation. Depending upon the soil type and climatic conditions the subsequent irrigations may be given at 15–25 intervals. Last heavy irrigation must be given at the time of seed formation. Avoid irrigation at the time of active seed filling because it increases the incidence of powdery mildew, blight and aphid infestation.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Before harvesting wilt affected plants are uprooted. Harvesting is done by cutting the plants with sickle. The plants are stacked on clean threshing floor or tarpolin for drying in sun. After drying, seeds are separated by light beating with sticks or rubbing the plants between the places of lint free gunny bags or tarpolin pieces followed by winnowing.

Cumin provides an yield of 5 q/ha, but with proper management and use of improved varieties a seed yield of 7–8 q/ha can be obtained.

Dried and clean seeds are filled in bags and stored in damp-free aerated stores. On commercial scale, seeds are cleaned with the help of vacuum gravity separator or distoner, spiral gravity separator. To get good prices and easy marketing the produce should be categorized in different grades and stored properly. 

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Rutaceae
Genus
:
Murraya
 
Curry leaf is an important perennial tree vegetable. Its leaves are used mainly to improve the taste and flavour of foods. Leaves are slightly pungent and retain their flavour even after drying. Ground curry leaf with mature coconut kernel and spices form
   
Climate and soil  
Curry leaf can be cultivated in a wide range of soils. Red sandy loam soil is ideal for its cultivation. It can tolerate temperature up to 37°C. But below 16°C, its growth is affected
 
Varieties
There are 2 improved varieties of curry leaf—DWD 1 and DWD 2. Both of these have a good aroma. They have an oil content of 5.22% and 4.09% respectively. They are mainly cultivated in Karnataka. DWD 1 is sensitive to winter season. During winter its growth is poor, whereas DWD 2 is winter insensitive. It gives higher yield than DWD 1. ‘Senkaampu’ is a local cultivar grown in many parts of Tamil Nadu.
   
Propagation
Curry leaf is mainly propagated through seeds. For raising seedlings, well-ripe fruits are collected from high-yielding plants. The seeds are sown either in nursery or polybags filled with a mixture of 1:1:1 sand, soil and farmyard manure. Seeds germinate in 3 weeks. One-year-old seedlings are planted in the main field. It can also be propagated by root suckers. There are a number of root suckers near its plants. They are separated from the main plant during rainy season and planted immediately in the main field.
   
Cultivation  

Planting
Planting in the main field is done during the monsoon season. The main field is ploughed thoroughly. Pits of 30cm × 30cm size are dug at a spacing of 4m × 4m. Farmyard manure @ 10kg/pit is applied.
Manuring and fertilization
Usually curry leaf plant is not given inorganic fertilizers. But for higher yields, its plant may be given 10kg farmyard manure and NPK @ 60:80:40g/plant/year. The fertilizers may be applied at the onset of the monsoon.
Aftercare
The pit should be irrigated if there is no rain. The plant should be irrigated at 3-day intervals, if there are no rains. The field should be kept weed free. The plants should be trained and pruned to maintain a height of 1m. Their terminal buds are removed to encourage lateral branching. A minimum of 5–6 branches are kept per plant.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Curry leaves are picked 15 months after planting. Commercial harvest can be started from 3-year-old plants. With good management, normal yield can be obtained up to the age of 20–25 years. The leaves can be harvested at two-and-a-half to three months intervals, the average yield being 20–25 tonnes/ha.
 
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