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Chromosome Number: 20
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Poales
Family
:
Poaceae
Genus
:
Cymbopogon
 

Palmarosa oil grass is a tall, perennial sedge grass which grows wild in dry, open, scrub forests of central India. The flowering tops and foliage contain a sweet oil emitting rose-like aroma, rich in geraniol. It is widely used in scenting of soaps, cosmetics and tobacco blending. Its geraniol content is extensively used in perfumery industry. India is the principal producer and exporter of its oil and geraniol. It is grown in 5,000–6,000ha land in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.

Palmarosa is a branched, profusely tillering, drought hardy crop growing up to 1.75–2.0m in height. It has cylindrical terete stem bearing long (35cm × 1.8cm), linear lanceolate leaves, sheathing the stem. The root system is fibrous, shallow and establishes easily in sub-marginal shallow soils and eroded river banks. Inflorescence is given out in autumn and is made up of branched terminal compound panicles of fawn colour, bearing white hairy star-like spiked flowers. The spikelets are heterogamous. Its lower pair is oblong-elliptical in shape containing bisexual florets. Seed is very light which remains attached to the glume for a long period. It can be removed through beating; seed loses much of its viability after one year of storage.

Palmarosa grows in warm, dry, subtropical regions over sandy-loam soils. It tolerates moderate salinity. However, fertile loamy to clay loam soils with a pH of 6–8 produce luxuriant growth and high oil yield. It is sensitive to stagnating moisture, frost and low temperature, whereas shade produces lanky plant growth with poor oil content. The crop is allowed to remain in field for 16 months and three harvests of herbage are taken.

There are several improved vareities—‘IW 31245' and ‘RH 49'. These produce high herb and oil yield. Trishna has yellow clumps and long compact inflorescence, producing 40% higher oil yield. Jamrosa is a hardy, vigorously growing high tillering variety which produces higher herbage yield. Its oil is used to fractionate pure geraniol for industrial purpose although the oil as such has poor odour value due to myrcene, pipertone and b-ocimene contents.

It is cultivated through seeds. Seeds are minute, very light in weight and often inseparable from accompanying glume. About 2–2.5kg seed is sown in 100m2 nursery beds in April–May under partial shade. The beds are kept continuously moist. The seeds are mixed with 6 times sand and are beaten for 30 minutes before sowing in open furrows made 15–20cm apart. These germinate in 10 days. Since initial growth is slow, spray 0.2% urea solution to boost the growth. The seedlings (15–20cm tall) are ready for planting in 4–6 weeks.

A good land preparation is necessary. Apply 10 tonnes of farmyard manure with 12.5, 60 and 40kg of N, P and K at land preparation. Thereafter, 12.5–20kg of N is topdressed 1 month after planting, whereas 40–60kg of N is further given in 3 split doses—at flower bud stage, after first harvet in February and remaining in April. The crop can be grown under partial irrigation at suitable intervals over arid tracts. It needs 2 weeding-cum-hoeings 30 days and 70 days after planting. The crop allows intercropping during kharif when a short duration pigeonpea, sown in 2 parallel rows can be grown. The intercrop matures before palmarosa come in bloom. This combination produces a highly remunerative bonus crop without affecting its yield.

Palmarosa crop has maximum oil content at flower opening stage but the oil quality in terms of odour value is superior at early seeding stage. This coincides with high concentration of primary geraniol content in oil which gives highly sweet scented rosaceous green aroma. The first coppicing of herbage is obtained in October–November (early autumn season,) whereas second one is taken in May–June and third harvesting is done in next September–October. The crop is cut 20cm above the ground. The herbage is wilted in sun for 6hr before chopping into small pieces for steam distillation. Distillation takes 3hr to exhaust the semi-dry herb. By and large, 15–20 tonnes/ha of herbage is obtained in 3 harvests, taken during late-November, June and October. The produce gives 150–200kg of oil/ha, besides 5–8q of pigeonpea as intercrop. The oil is light yellow, contains 90% total alcohol, calculated as geraniol. 

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 36
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Arecales
Family
:
Arecaceae
Genus
:
Borassus
 

Palmyrah palm tree has been known as a source of sweetening agent since time immemorial. Every part of the palm is being used in one form or the other. A number of byproducts obtained from the palm are utilized at the industrial level. Palmyrah industry is very important in terms of productivity, employment and income-generation. The jaggery obtained from neera is sweet, delicious and superior to cane jaggery. Since every part of this palm is utilized, it is known as ‘ Kalpaka viruchum' . In India, it is mainly grown in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa and West Bengal. The total palm population is estimated at 102 million. Of which, 69 million palms are tappable with a production value of Rs 8,520 million per annum.

Palmyrah industry is earning valuable foreign exchange. The palm fibre has great export potential compared to other palm products. It is exported to 33 countries with Japan, United Kingdom, West Germany, Belgium and Poland account for over 80%. The share of Andhra Pradesh is about 60% of total export of palmyrah fibre from the country.

   
Climate and soil  
Palmyrah is a tropical crop. It withstands low rainfall, high temperature and heavy winds. It is grown on all types of soils. Sandy, sandy loam, coastal sandy, red laterite and alluvial black soils are more suitable for its cultivation. Mostly the soils which are not used for other crops are used for growing palmyrah. It is also grown as bund crop on paddy field bunds of uplands as well as garden lands. Palmyrah grown in fertile soil yields well. Jaggery prepared from palmyrah grown in calcareous soil is more sweet. Soils which have hard rock within 2m depth should not be used.
 
Varieties
A number of exotic and indigenous cultivars are being collected and maintained at different centres of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. However, so far no variety or hybrid has been released. Only local strains are being cultivated.
   
Propagation

Palmyrah palm is generally propagated by seed. No organized cultivation is practised. The seeds are thrown along the boundaries of the field. In the existing palmyrah plantations, self-sown seeds germinate and establish.

Good mother palms (30–40 years old) are ideal for seed collection. Selection of dwarf and stout trees with green compact leaves are better than long slender- stemmed trees. Seeds should be collected from the fruits which are 80–90% ripe. The fruit bunches selected for seeds are heaped for about 5–6 days which facilitates for the automatic stripping of fruits from bunches. Then allow them to ferment. This facilitates an easy removal of mesocarp. While removing the mesocarp, the fibres adhering to seed nuts should be retained. This helps absorption of water and which helps in better germination. Seeds selected from single nuts give female trees and double nuts give one each of female and male trees. The tri-nuts give 2 male and 1 female. While collecting seeds, it is better to collect 10–15% of double nuts so that the female and male ratios can be maintained. Plumpy and healthy seed nuts without termite attack should alone be selected.

The palmyrah seeds start germinating 22 days after planting. The plumule coming out initially utilizes the food material stored in the seed nut. This germinated part goes down into the earth as a tuber. When the tuber matures, the rooting starts. These roots absorb nutrients from the soil. After that, the leaves start coming out one after another. At the initial stage of this growth, care has to be taken to prevent the animal trespass. The animals may eat these young leaves which leads to the delayed growth of the palm.

Raising nursery

Soil beds of convenient lengths, i.e. 1m width and 30cm height, filled with sand can be used as nursery bed. After sowing the seed, these are covered with another 5cm moist sand. Germination percentage remains higher in this method than the conventional method.

A small tank of 3m width, 60cm height and convenient length built by brick and clay and filled with sand can also be used for raising nursery. These tanks are filled with sand up to 50cm. The seed nuts are sown at 10cm spacing and again covered with a layer of sand (5cm thick). These tanks can be covered with polythene sheets of 250 guage with mulches to retain moisture.

The seedlings raised in the nurseries are pulled out and planted in polybags. These polybags are arranged in a trench of 1m width, 2m length and 0.5m depth and covered with polythene sheets of 250 guage. This low-cost humid chamber helps in better growth.

In another method, polythene bags 12cm long and 8cm wide filled with sand can be used for planting the seedlings. Before planting, the seedlings are kept under the shade and the roots are cut with a sharp knife and dipped in 2% DAP and 2% MOP solution mixed with 25ppm NAA for 3hr. After taking the seedlings from the solution, the cut portion is dipped in Bordeaux mixture and then planted in polybags. These bags are to be arranged in the pits of 2m length, 1m width and 0.5m depth under the tree shade and covered with polythene sheets and show good rooting within 2 weeks. Watering with rose cans should be done at least twice a day removing the poly sheets and again covering. After 45 days, the polythene sheets may be removed slowly.

After removal of the polysheets, hardening should be done by keeping in sunlight. Now the seedlings are ready for planting in the main field. In this method 98% seeds germinate compared with 56–65% in conventional method. It reduces the establishment period in the main field, hence the mortality due to human as well as animal tresspass is prevented, ensuring faster growth.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Seeds can also be sown directly in the field in any season but August–September is the best season. The land selected should not be a lowlying area. Pits of 30 × 30 × 60cm size are dug 3m apart. In square system, 450 palms/ha can be planted whereas with triangular system, 3m spacing accommodates 500 palms/ha.

The pits should be filled with a mixture of compost and soil to a half depth. Seed should be placed 5cm below from the surface soil in such a way that the seed eye is downward to the soil. Then pits are filled with soil and irrigated. For protection against insects and pests Carbofuran and Furadon granules @ 50g/pit should be applied. In drylands, mulching with leaves and other dried palm material should be done to conserve moisture.

Irrigation

After sowing, the pits should be irrigated immediately. Keep the soil moist by periodical irrigations up to 1 month. Avoid stagnation of water in the planting pit to avoid rotting of seeds. Watering should be done depending upon soil texture and structure. In sandy soil, light and frequent irrigation is advised, whereas in heavy soil, irrigation at longer interval should be practised. After sowing irrigation is given on alternate days for a month. During second month it is to be irrigated twice in a week and once in a week afterwards. During third month water stagnation should be avoided to prevent rotting of seeds. In dryland, pitcher irrigation may be followed and soil moisture conservation methods like forming basins, mulching, trench formation to store water, growing legume cover crops etc. should be adopted.

Manuring and fertilization

Palmyrah palms are not generally manured. The palms around the field bund get the benefit of the manures applied to the main crop but the pure plantation of palmyrah does not have this opportunity. Hence, it is necessary to apply organic manures like cow-dung, farmyard manure, sheep and cattle penning or oil cakes. Normally cattle manure (60kg/palm/year) is applied.

There is a substantial increase in yield of neera (14%) when its palms are fed 25kg organic manure coupled with 500g sales of superphosphate.

Intercropping

If irrigation facility is available, the land can be used for growing other intercrops for 5–6 years. Groundnut, tapioca, sweet potato, horsegram, and gingelly can be grown. Growing sunhemp and ploughing it back enriches the soil fertility.

The fruit crops—pomegranate, aonla, anona, guava, and ber—can be grown without any interruption in the interspaces. Moringa as border crop and cowpea as a grain legume are good as a seasonal source of supplementary income to the growers.

Aftercare

It is necessary to form fencing to prevent trampling by the cattle. Even the individual palm can be covered with cut thorny plants to give protection. As the palm grows, it is necessary to press the leaf petiole base with leg towards the ground side which helps reduce the height of the tree. Cutting the leaf in the initial stages should be restricted to 1 or 2 and particularly no leaf should be cut during summer.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Palmyrah being dioecious in nature, there are separate male and female palms. From the male palm inflorescence, it is possible to tap only neera, whereas from the female palm inflorescence, besides neera, we can also get palmyrah fruit as well as tubers from the palmyrah seed which are largely used as a food product. Both male and female mature 10–12 years after planting. By that time tapping can be started. It is processed by cutting the tip with a sharp knife and pressing with 2 flat wooden sticks. This is normally done during January. The inflorescence in the male is processed for a week by slight cutting the tip and pressing with double plated flat sticks. On seventh day onwards, the neera comes out. In female palm, the inflorescence bracket is removed before opening and the tip portion is cut and pressed as stated above for about 6 days. The neera starts flowing from sixth day onwards.

The yield of neera depends on soil type, genetic diversity of palm and environment. On an average 10–12 litres neera can be collected daily from each palm, the highest being 18–20 litres/palm/day.

Neera on fermentation becomes toddy. The other direct products are fruit jelly at the tender stage of fruit and fruit juice at mature stage. Normally tender fruits are harvested during the summer. Fruit jelley which has got very cooling effect is also eaten to overcome the summer effect. After the summer, uncut fruit matures with a fibrous juicy yellow pulp. This juice is also being taken by people. Normally each palm gives 1 litre neera/day.

Neera, toddy, sugar, jaggery, candy, vinegar etc. are other edible products of palmyrah palm, whereas wood, leaves, fibre, roots, fruit pulp and fruit fibre are commercial products.

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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Caricaceae
Genus
:
Carica
 
Papaya produces fruits throughout the year. It requires less area for tree, comes to fruiting in a year, is easy to cultivate and provides more income/ha next to banana. It has a high nutritive and medicinal value. Papain prepared from dried latex of its immature fruits is used in meat tenderising, manufacture of chewing gum, cosmetics, for degumming natural silk and to give shrink resistance to wool. Besides, it is also used in pharmaceutical industries, textile and garment cleaning paper and adhesive manufacture, sewage disposal, etc.
   
Climate and soil  

Papaya is a tropical fruit. However, it also grows well in the mild subtropical regions of the country up to 1,000m above mean sea-level. Temperature is one of the most important climatic factors which determines the success of papaya cultivation. Night temperature below 12°–14°C for several hours during winter season affects its growth and production severely. It is very much sensitive to frost, strong winds and water stagnation.

It can grow in a wide variety of soils, provided these are well-drained and aerated. A rich, well-drained sandy loam soil is ideal for its cultivation. It grows well in deep, rich, alluvial soils on banks and deltas of big rivers of India. Papaya can also be grown in calcareous and stony soils provided with heavy dose of organic manures. Soils with high pH (8.0) and low pH (5.0) should be avoided.

 
Varieties

A large number of varieties are cultivated. As a matter of fact many of these are not real varieties since these cannot be relied upon to reproduce the parental characters in all their progenies. However, well-known varieties with certain specific plant and fruit characters are described below.

Pusa Delicious

It is a gynodioecious variety with 100% productive plants with good fruit yield and quality having excellent taste and good flavour.

Pusa Majesty

This is also gynodioecious variety with high productivity and better keeping quality of fruits. This is also one of the highest papain yielders.

Pusa Giant

This is a vigorous variety and is dioecious in nature. The plants are sturdy and tolerant to strong winds. The fruits are suitable for tooty-fruity and candies like petha.

Pusa Dwarf

It is a dwarf-statured dioecious variety with good yield. Fruits are medium-sized with oval shape and are preferred by consumers.

Pusa Nanha

An extremely dwarf variety, it is suitable for kitchen gardens, pot and roof-top cultivation. This is ideal for high-density orcharding.

Co 1

A dwarf and dioecious variety. Fruits are medium-sized with spherical shape.

Co 2

It is medium-tall, dioecious variety, having good fruit quality with high papain content. It is predominantly cultivated for papain production.

Co 3

It is a gynodioecious variety with tall, vigorous trees. The fruits are medium-sized, with high sugar content and red coloured flesh. This is preferred for dessert.

Co 4

It is a dioecious variety with medium-tall, vigorous trees. There are purple tinges on the stem, petiole and leaf. It is suitable for home-gardening.

Co 5

It is a selection from Washington variety, cultivated mainly for papain production. It yields 1,500–1,600kg/ha of dried papain.

Co 6

A selection from Pusa Majesty, it is dioecious having dwarf stature. It produces large-sized fruits. It is recommended both for papain and dessert purposes.

Coorg Honey Dew

A selection from Honey Dew, it is a gynodioecious variety having excellent fruit quality under south Indian conditions.

Pink Flesh Sweet

It is a selection with excellent-quality fruits. Fruits are medium-sized with pink flesh. The TSS is 12–14° Brix. It is a good dessert variety..

Pant 1

Its plants are dioecious providing medium-sized fruits. It is recommended for tarai area in Uttar Pradesh.

Sunrise Solo

This is a gynodioecious variety having pink flesh and good taste.

Taiwan

This is also gynodioecious variety with blood-red coloured flesh and good taste.

   
Propagation

Papaya is commercially propagated by seed. Gynodioecious varieties breed true-to-type and are preferred by commercial growers. Tissue culture or micropropa-gation are recent techniques for propagating papaya. These, however, need to be standardized.

Since papaya is commercially grown by seed, production of quality seed is most important for successful production and establishing papaya-based industries in the country.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing

About 250–300g seeds are sufficient for a hectare. The seedlings can be raised in nursery-beds 3m long, 1m wide and 10cm high as well as in pots or polythene bags. The seeds should be sown 1cm deep in rows 10cm apart and covered with fine compost or leaf-mould. Light watering should be done with watercan in the morning. The nursery-beds may be covered with polythene sheet or dry paddy straw to protect seedlings. Tender seedlings should also be protected from heavy rainfall. Dusting of insecticides to protect the seedlings against insect pests is also advised. Damping off is most serious disease. Treating seeds with 0.1% Monosan (phenyle mercury acetate), Ceresan, Agrosan or Thiram dust before sowing is the best preventive measure to check it. The nursery-beds should also be treated with 5% formaldehyde solution before sowing. If disease appears in the nursery, Bordeaux mixture (1%) or copper oxychloride (0.2%) should be sprayed.

The seedlings raised in polythene bags stand transplanting better than those raised in seed-beds. Perforated polythene bags of 20cm × 15cm size of 150–200 gauge can be used as a container. They are filled with a mixture of farmyard manure, soil and sand in equal proportion. Four to five seeds are sown in each bag. After germination only three seedlings are retained.

The seedlings may be transferred to nursery-beds or pots or polythene bags to avoid overcrowding and further check of growth of. This is also done when the field is not ready for planting. Generally 15–20cm tall seedlings become ready for planting in about two months.

Field preparation

Since papaya does not withstand waterlogging, a well-drained upland should be selected for its cultivation. Its plants are also sensitive to strong winds. In open and high-lying areas, where plants are exposed to strong winds or storm, suitable windbreaks are essential to protect them. Such windbreaks also save the trees to a great extent from damage caused by cold winds or frost.

The seedlings are planted in pits of 60cm × 60cm × 60cm size. The pits are dug about 15 days before in summer and filled with top soil along with 20kg farmyard manure, 1kg neem or karanj cake and 1kg bone-meal or fish-meal. Tall and vigorous varieties are planted at greater spacing, while medium and dwarf ones at closer spacing.

Planting

Papaya is planted during spring (February–March), monsoon (June–July) and autumn (October–November). Spring planting is done in areas where the climatic condition is mild throughout the year. Monsoon planting is preferred in the frost-prone areas, and autumn planting generally done in the regions where the rainfall is high and virus problem is acute in rainy season. Plants are protected against frost damage by covering them with a polythene-sheet.

Planting distance is determined by the integration of light interception, cultivar and economic consideration. A spacing of 1.8m × 1.8m is normally followed for most of the cultivars. A closer spacing of 1.33m × 1.33m (5,609 plants/ha) is optimum for variety Coorg Honey Dew. The spacing of 1.4m × 1.4m or 1.4m × 1.6m is best-suited for papaya Pusa Delicious under subtropical condition of Bihar. Spacing of 1.6m × 1.6m gives highest yield of fruits as well as papain in Tamil Nadu. A closer spacing of 1.2m × 1.2m for Pusa Nanha is adopted for high-density orcharding, accommodating 6,400 plants/ha.

Planting of papaya seedlings should be preferred in the evening. The seedlings from nursery-beds are lifted with a ball of earth and planted in the field. Plants raised in polythene bags are planted after removal of polythene. Three seedlings should be planted in each pit followed by light irrigation. Only one seedling may be planted with pure gynodioecious varieties. It is also important to keep some extra plants reserved in the nursery or in polythene bags for gap filling in the field.

Aftercare

Proper care should be taken to save the seedlings in the field especially against insect pests and heavy rainfall in early stage. In frost-prone areas, they should be protected with small thatches or polythene structure. Some extra seedlings reserved in the nursery may be utilized for gap filling.

Since sufficient space is available between rows, papaya-based cropping systems (sequential and intercropping) are most remunerative. Papaya + tobacco intercropping in north Bihar is ideal. It is advised not to grow crops like chilli, tomato, brinjal and lady's finger to avoid viruses as they act like hosts. No intercrop should be taken when flowering and fruiting start. A suitable crop rotation must be followed to maintain soil fertility and to avoid replant problem. Intercropping leguminous crops after non-leguminous ones, shallow-rooted crops after deep rooted ones are beneficial.

Weed control

Weeds grow luxuriantly in papaya fields and exhaust most of the applied nutrients. In the beginning, they also compete for light, air and water, resulting in poor fruiting. Deep hoeing is recommended during first year to check weed growth. Hoeing should not be done in rainy season or after fruiting since its plants are shallow-rooted. Overgrowth of weeds also causes waterlogging condition and makes the plants vulnerable to root-rot and foot-rot in rainy season. Therefore weeding should be regularly done, especially around the plants. Application of Fluchloralin or Alachlorin or Butachlorine (2.0g/ha) as pre-emergence 2 months after transplanting can control all weeds for 4 months.

Removing unwanted male plants

It is necessary to keep 10% male plants in papaya orchards for good pollination, where dioecious varieties are cultivated. As soon as the plants flower, extra male plants should be uprooted. The hermaphrodite plants produce good-quality fruits and should not be confused with male plants while removing them from the orchard. Weaker and diseased plants should be uprooted, after ensuring 1 plant/pit. Earthing-up should be done 30cm in radius around the plants on or before the onset of monsoon to avoid waterlogging. It also helps plants to stand erect.

Manuring and fertilization

Papaya is a heavy feeder and needs heavy doses of manures and fertilizers. Apart from the basal dose of manures applied in the pits, 200–250g each of N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O are recommended for getting high yield. Application of 200g N is optimum for fruit yield but papain yield increases with increase in N up to 300g. A dose of 250g N, 250g P and 500g K/plant is recommended for papaya Coorg Honey Dew under Bangalore conditions, while 200g each of N, P and K in split doses in the first, third, fifth and seventh month is recommended for papaya Co 1 under Coimbatore conditions.

Deficiency of lime and B has often been observed in papaya orchards. Spraying of 0.5% zinc sulphate (twice) and one spray of Borax (0.1%) may be done depending upon the nutrient status of soil.

Irrigation

Optimum soil moisture is essential for growth, yield and quality of fruits. Under low moisture conditions, floral sex shifts towards female sterility, resulting in low yield. At the same time, over-irrigations may cause root-rot disease. Thus efficient water management is required in papaya cultivation. Number of irrigations depend upon soil type and weather conditions of the region. Protective irrigation is required in the first year of planting. In the second year when its plants are ladden with fruits, irrigation at fortnightly interval in winter and at 10 days interval in summer is needed from October till May.

Generally basin system of irrigation is used but care is taken to avoid water stagnation around the plant. In low rainfall area, where the water is scarce, sprinkler or drip system can be adopted.

Papaya plants are very susceptible to waterlogging. Even 24hr stagnation with water may kill the well-established plants. Therefore it is most important to select upland for papaya plantation. It may further be shaped slopy in heavy rainfall areas to make a few furrows or trenches for quick and complete drainage of water during rainy season.

Pot cultivation

Papaya can also be grown in big pots. Half cut iron drums and wooden crates can also be used for this purpose. The size of pot should not be less than 75cm × 40cm. Papaya seedlings can be raised in August–September. The polythene bags used for raising seedling should be filled with one-third part each of sand, compost and soil. The seeds should be sown 1cm deep with 5–6 seeds in each bag. It should be watered regularly with watering can. When seedlings are 10–15cm high they should be planted in pots already prepared during October–November. At least 4 plants in each pot should be planted. These are thinned down to one after removing male and other diseased or weaker plants.

Apart from the organic manures, a dose of chemical fertilizers containing N (50g), P (50g) and K (75g) should be applied as topdressing. Chemical fertilizers should be applied after flowering. The same quantity should be repeated in each month from July to October. Precaution should be taken that these fertilizers are applied at least 15cm away from the plant in a circular fashion. Water should be immediately applied after each topdressing.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The fruits should be left on tree until they fully mature. Usually fruits are harvested when they are of full size, light green with tinge of yellow at epical end. On ripening, fruits of certain varieties turn yellow while some of them remain green. When the latex ceases to be milky and become watery, the fruits are suitable for harvesting.

While picking fruits from the tree, care must be taken that they are not scratched, and are free from any blemishes, otherwise these are attacked by fungus and start decaying during marketing. The fruit yield of papaya varies widely according to variety, soil, climate and management of the orchard. On an average each plant of improved varieties bears 30–45 fruits, weighing 40–75kg in one fruiting season. On an average, yield of 60–75 tonnes/ha may be expected in a season from an orchard of papaya. 
Nutritional Value
 
Usage

Papaya is usually eaten fully ripe when the flesh is soft and succulent. Nutritionally, the papaya is a good source of calcium (30 mg/100 g), potassium (183 mg/100 g) and an excellent source of vitamin A (1093 IU/100 g) and Vitamin C (84 mg/100 g) (See Nutrition). It can also be eaten raw, sliced into thin strips and eaten as vegetable or salad.

Processed products of papaya are not very popular and these include freeze-dried candy, leather, pickle, sauce, concentrate, drink, puree and pectin.

The latex from unripe fruit and leaves contain a proteolytic enzyme papain, which can be used for tenderising meat, clearing beer, tanning leather and for making chewing gum.

In pharmaceutics, the papain is used for suppression of wound inflammation and as a laxative. It is also used in soaps, creams and lotions in the cosmetic industry.

 
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Chromosome Number: 22
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Apiales
Family
:
Apiaceae
Genus
:
Petroselinum
 
Parsley also a minor salad crop, is grown in a limited area in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and in high altitude areas of southern India. It is used as salad as well as for flavouring and garnishing. It is a rich source of iron, vitamin A and C.
   
Climate and soil  
It is a cool season, hardy crop which flourishes well both in temperate as well as tropical climates. It can also be produced under glasshouse or polyhouse. Like celery, parsley too thrives best in loamy as well as moisture retentive soils with proper drainage.
 
Varieties

There are 3 types of varieties. These are plain-leaved, double-curled and moss-curled. In Moss-curled, plants are dwarf, compact and bushy. Its leaves are dark green with exceedingly fine cuts, serrated and deeply curled. These are used for garnishing and for decorative purposes.

In Hamburgh, plants are tall, coarse with tough stem. The leaves are plain, deeply cut, resembling those of celery shoots. They are fleshy and edible.

   
Cultivation  

The field is prepared in the same manner as for celery. It is mainly propagated by seeds. The seedlings are raised in nursery beds. About 250–300g of seed is sufficient for one hectare. Seeds are sown in February, March and August–October in higher hilly regions and midhills or plains respectively. It takes 18–24 days to germinate. Soaking of seeds in hot water for 24hr along with radish slightly reduces the period required for germination. It is then sown as radish seeds germinate first these are rogued out while thinning is done. Two-month-old seedlings become ready for transplanting. These should be transplanted at a spacing of 60cm × 45cm.

Manuring and fertilization

Application of 15 tonnes of farmyard manure, 65kg N, 40kg of P and 25kg of K/ha gives better produce. Nitrogen should be applied in split doses.

Irrigation

Crop should be irrigated immediately after transplanting. Later, irrigations are given at 15–20 days intervals depending on weather and moisture level of the soil.

Interculture

Shallow and clean cultivation is recommended for parsley. Hoeing and weeding are done as and when required to keep the crop weed-free.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
The harvested leaves are sorted and tied in bundles or small bunches and packed in baskets and then sent to the market for disposal. Placing ice blocks in baskets prevents heating and decay of leaves during transit.
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Passifloraceae
Genus
:
Passiflora
 
Passion fruit, is native of Brazil. In India, it grows wild in the Nilgiris, Wynad, Kodaikanal, Shevroys, Coorg and Malabar. Recently, its cultivation has been extended to some areas in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. The juice of passion fruit with an excellent flavour, is quite delicious, nutritious and liked for its blending quality. It is extensively used in confectionery, and preparation of cakes, pies and ice-cream. A rich source of vitamin A, it also contains fair amount of sodium, magnesium, sulphur and chlorides. It is a perennial climber, cultivated in the tropics. Flowers are borne singly in the axils of leaves at the terminal region of new growth. The vine, bears hen’s egg-sized fruits in abundance. They are smooth, ovoid and purple-yellow on ripening. The rind afterwards shrinks and becomes wrinkled. The rind is bordered by white pith, and inside small, hard, black seeds are surrounded separately by a soft, slightly acid, fragrant and juicy orange-yellow pulp
   
Climate and soil  
It prefers tropical to subtropical climate and grows well up to 2,000m with a rainfall of 1,000–2,500mm annually. It can grow in light sandy loam to heavy loam soils with a pH of 6–7. Soils should be well drained.
 
Varieties
There are 2 recognized varieties—purple (P.edulis Sims) and yellow (P. edulis var. flavicarpa). Purple passion fruit is more productive. It is grown at higher elevations in south India. More prolific varieties bear larger fruits but are poor in juice content and flavour, higher in TSS, acids and carotenoid pigments. The fruits of purple variety are susceptible to collar-rot, wilt, brown leaf-spot, thrips and nematodes, while those of yellow have field tolerance. Kaveri, a hybrid of Purple × Yellow, is high-yielding, tolerant to resistant to collar-rot, wilt, brown leaf-spot and nematodes. Noel’s Special, a cultivar, is tolerant to Alternaria passiflorae. It is precocious and can bear even at one year’s age, but is self-incompatible and needs a pollinator for satisfactory fruitfulness.
   
Propagation
It is propagated by seeds, cuttings, and grafting on resistant rootstock. The tropical American species—P.alata and, P.ambigua, P. cincinata, P.guazumaefolia, P.molliformis, P.mucronata, P.nigradenia, P.nitida, P.riparia, P.seemani, P.serratifolia and P.serrato-digitata,—are good rootstocks. Seedlings or grafted plants are more vigorous than cuttings. Propagation by seed should be avoided as it induces variability. Cuttings 30–35cm long having 3 nodes obtained from selected mature vines are raised on suitable media. Rooting takes place after about a month. They can be transplanted to the main field after 3 months. Maintain a spacing of 3m from plant-to-plant and 2m from row-to-row. The best time for planting is during the monsoon.
   
Cultivation  

Training and pruning

Skilful trellising is quite important in regulating yield as it has to support a considerable weight for 5 years. Weak and faulty construction of trellis may result in sagging and loss of vines. Two-arm kniffin system is ideal. The trellis should always run across the slope or in north-south direction to facilitate even exposure to the sunlight. Once the vines reach the wire, the tips are pinched to facilitate leader formation. Two leaders are directed on either side of the wire in opposite direction which in turn develop laterals. These laterals are trained downwards hanging from the wire and form the fruiting area of the vine.

Since passion fruit vine bears fruits only on current season's growth, systematic pruning encourages new growth. Pruning should be done after harvesting the crop in April and November–December. It is done by cutting back of laterals to the nearest active bud as otherwise with increase in age of the lateral, the basal buds become dormant or sterile. Indiscriminate and drastic pruning of inactive or dormant vine may lead to a setback in growth, resulting in lower yield.

Manuring and irrigation

Application of 100, 50 and 100g N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O/ vine annually in 2 splits for purple and 110, 60 and 100g N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O/ vine/year for Kaveri is optimum. During prolonged dry spell (January–March), it should be irrigated at fortnightly intervals, otherwise the development of flowering laterals is adversely affected.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The fruits are obtained from the 10th month and full bearing reaches by 16–19 months. Although its plants flower and provide fruits throughout the year, there are 2 main periods of fruiting from August to December and March to May. About 80–85 days are required from fruit set to harvest. The ripe fruits fall down from the vine. Slightly purple coloured fruits along with a small portion of the stem should be picked up. Purple variety yields 8–10kg/vine, whereas Kaveri 16–20kg/vine, the total yield being 12–20tonnes/ha annually. The fruits should be disposed off quickly to prevent loss in weight and their appearance. Storing them in polythene bags, however, reduces this problem to some extent.

A number of processed products—nectar, squash, carbonated drink and juice concentrate—could be prepared. These products are in great demand both in domestic as well as export market. There are possibilities even for fresh fruit export which remains unexploited.

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Chromosome Number: 32
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Lamiales
Family
:
Lamiaceae
Genus
:
Pogostemon
 

Patchouli is a highly aromatic bushy under-shrub. It is cultivated for its highly fragrant leaves which contain a very sweet smelling oil of lasting stickly odour. The crop is grown in small pockets in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It has a very characteristic aroma and blends well with other essential oils. The oil is used in scenting of soaps, cosmetics, after-shave lotions, detergents and many fancy products. In very low concentration (2ppm), the oil is used to flavour foods, beverages, candy and baked products. In combination with sandal wood oil, it is used in blending of tobacco and making of incense sticks. Indonesia is major producer and exporter of its oil, whereas Malaysia, China and Brazil are also large producers.

Patchouli is an erect branched herb to under-shrub with pubescent quadri-angular stem, growing 1–1.2m tall. It bears simple, opposite, decussate pale-green leaves and prefers shady conditions. The leaves 5–10cm × 1.25cm in size, have lobed crenate-serrate margins. Since it is a short-day plant, it flowers occasionally in south India. The flowers are small, borne in axillary spikes at the end of branches. It has bi-lipped corolla tube with white purplish streaks. There are several cultures introduced into cultivation but Johore and Malaysian cultures produce superior oil. It is a good catch crop. It grows equally luxuriantly in irrigated arecanut and coconut orchards where light intensity is 25–50% lower.

Patchouli requires deep, well-drained, highly fertile soils, rich in organic matter and slightly acidic (5.5–6.2pH). The growth of plants is luxuriant in regions experiencing mild summer (24°–28°C) and high rainfall (150–300cm) under tropical and subtropical climate in foothills (up to 1,000m elevation). The crop is successfully grown at Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), part of West Bengal, Orissa and coastal Andhra Pradesh. It has a good possibility of expansion in humid orchards. Its nursery is raised in shade by planting 10–12cm long terminal shoot-cuttings at 10cm × 10cm spacing during rainy season. The nursery beds are kept continuously moist. It gives 85–90% sprouting in a fortnight. These are ready for planting in next 6–8 weeks.

The application of IBA and NAA (1,500–2,000ppm) improves percentage of sprouting. The fields are well prepared by mixing 4–5 tonnes of farmyard manure along with 20, 50 and 50kg of N, P and K at land preparation. About 20kg/ha of Furadon or 150kg/ha of Dasanit is broadcast in the field and mixed well in the soil, a few days before planting to guard against nematode infestation. The rooted cuttings are planted at 60cm × 60cm spacing. The crop is a heavy feeder of nitrogenous fertilizer. A dose of 25–40kg of N/ha is given 8 weeks after planting. Thereafter, 50–60kg of N/ha in 2 split doses is given after each harvesting annually. Foliar spraying of urea (0.2%) is good; sometimes Zn and Mn deficiency are noticed in certain soils for which 20 and 10kg each of ZnSO 4 and MnSO 4 are given.

The first crop is ready 5–6 months after planting, indicated by browning of lower leaves. The herbage tops are cut 10–25cm below the apex in morning. Usually, 1 or 2 growing branches are left unplucked to ensure better subsequent growth. Subsequent harvestings are taken after every 3 or 4 months, depending upon local environmental conditions and growth vigour. The crop is maintained for 2–3 years in the field, depending upon its productivity.

The herbage from first 3 harvestings produce better oil quality. The average yield being 8 tonnes/ha which on shade drying gives 1.6 tonnes/ha of dry foliage. The 4–6 months stored dry leaves produce more oil with superior aroma. The steam distillation of dry leaves is carried for 16–24hr at 1.4–3.5kg/cm2 pressure and periodic alternating high and low pressure gives better oil recovery. The oil yield is 3.5% on dry weight basis. The oil is dark orange to brown coloured viscous liquid, rich in patchouli alcohols and develops its characteristic odour on aging. On an average, 60kg of oil/ha is obtained in a year. All traces of moisture need to be removed from the oil by adding anhydrous sodium sulphate @ 20–30g/litre and keeping the distillate mixture for 4–5hr, after which the oil is filtered; sticking moisture can induce polymerization of oil and conseqently induces loss in quality. The oil is filled in air-tight aluminium containers up to the brim and stored in cool dry place, away from light. 

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 14
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Fabales
Family
:
Fabaceae
Genus
:
Pisum
 
Pea is an important vegetable. It is widely cultivated throughout the world. As a cool season crop, it is extensively grown in temperate zone; but restricted to cooler altitudes in the tropics and winter season in the subtropics. A rich source of proteins (25%), amino acids and sugars (12%), green peas are an all-time favourite vegetables. Garden pea is grown in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka, contributing to 67% of the total production.
   
Climate and soil  
Garden pea is widely grown in different seasons under varied agroclimatic conditions and cultivation practices. Pea requires cold and dry climate while longer cold spell increases its yield. In central India, it is sown during October–November, while in hilly areas (Simla), June–July is ideal sowing time. In Mandla, and Shahdol, (Amarkantak hills) of Madhya Pradesh, pea is sown during February– March. Besides, August planting of peas on hillocks in this area is most common. Temperature of 15–25°C is favourable for its cultivation. It can be grown on many types of soils—light sandy loam to clay soil. Pea needs well-drained soils. The fields should be prepared to get fine, firm and levelled beds for sowing. Well-drained, loose, friable and heavy soils are ideal. Pea does not thrive on acidic soils. It is very sensitive to saline and alkaline conditions. The pH of 6.0–7.5 is ideal. If it is lower than 6.0, liming improves the soil condition.
 
Varieties

The garden peas are classified into 4 groups on the basis of maturity and edible characters of green pods. Important varieties of pea are:

Arkel

It is a popular and widely cultivated variety. The plants are dwarf (50cm) with highly attractive pods borne from the 6th node. The pods are large in size, sickle-shaped, incurved towards the suture having pointed distal-end. There are 7–8 green sweet ovules/pod. The green pod yield is about 100q/ha. The crop matures in 100 days giving a seed yield (sole crop) of 15q/ha. The seeds are wrinkled, green having a 100 seed weight of 17g. Being early, it escapes the attack of powdery mildew, but under late planting, it is highly susceptible.

Bonneville

Its plants are 60–70cm tall. The pods appear from the 13th node. They are round, large possessing 8–10 green and sweet ovules. The yield of green pods is around 100q/ha. The crop matures in 135 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium-sized, 100 seed weigh 18g. The seed yield is 10q/ha. The variety suffers from the attack of powdery mildew.

Harbhajan

An extra early variety, its small pods appear from the 5th node. The first picking may be taken in 50 days with total pod yield between 30 to 40q/ha. The pods bear 3–4 ovules. It matures in 100 days, the seed yield being 6–7q/ha. The seeds are yellow, round and medium-sized (100 seeds weight 12g). It is highly susceptible to powdery mildew disease.

FC 1

This is a powdery mildew resistant variety. Medium-tall plants produce medium quality pods. There are 5–6 ovules/pod, the green pod yield being 100q/ha.

Jawahar Matar 1

Its dwarf plants attain a height of 60cm. The pods are formed from the 11th node. There are 8–10 green sweet ovules/pod. The pods are attractive, large, straight with a notch at the distal-end. The yield of green pods is around 110q/ha. The crop matures in 130–135 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green, 100 seed weight being 18g. The seed yield is about 11q/ha. This is highly susceptible to powdery mildew.

Jawahar Matar 2

This is a large pods-bearing variety. Its plants posses sickle-shaped pods from the 12th node. The pods bear 8–10 sweet ovules, the green pod yield being 100q/ha. The crop matures in 135 days. The seeds are wrinkled and green. About 100 seeds weigh 17g. The seed yield is 10q/ha. This is highly susceptible to powdery mildew.

Jawahar Matar 3

Its green pods are round and small with 3–4 ovules. The plants are 50–60cm in height. The pods are produced from the 6th node. The green pod yield is 50q/ha. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium in size, 100 seed weight is 18g. The crop matures in 90–95 days. It is susceptible to powdery mildew but may escape due to earliness.

Jawahar Matar 4

Its plants attain a height of 60cm. The pods are produced from the 8th node. The medium-sized, round and flat pods have 4–5 green and sweet ovules. The green pod yield is about 80q/ha. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium-sized, 100 seed weight being 18g. It matures in 125 days, the seed yield being 8q/ha. The variety escapes from powdery mildew due to earliness.

Jawahar Matar 5

A powdery mildew resistant garden pea, its plants are 1m tall. The medium-sized, round and green pods have 5 big-sized sweat green ovules each. The green pods yield is 110q/ha. It matures in 130–140 days. The seeds are wrinkled and yellow. The seed yield is 12q/ha.

Jawahar Peas 83

This is resistant to powdery mildew. The erect plants grow to a height of 50cm. The pods are produced from 13th node. The pods are bigger in size with 8 green sweet ovules/pod. The green pod yield is 125–130q/ha. The crop matures in 125–130 days. The seeds are wrinkled, yellow and medium-sized, 100 seed weight being 17g. The seed yield is 13–16q/ha.

JP 4 (JM 6)

The variety is resistant to powdery mildew. Medium-sized pods have 6 big, sweet, green ovules. The green pod yield is 50q/ha. In plains the yield is about 100q/ha. The pods are produced from 10th node. The crop matures in 120 days in plains while seeds cannot be harvested on hillocks due to frost. The seeds are yellow, round and small with, 100 seeds weighing 12g. The seed yield in plains is 15q/ha.

JP 19

This is a type of garden pea of which whole pods are consumed. There is no need of removing the peelings. This quality of green pods is due to lack of sclerenchymatous tissues. This character of pods enables in not only saving of yield losses due to shelling (40%) but also the burden of house wives. This is a mid-season garden pea. Its plants are dwarf and erect. The green pods are produced from 13th node in 3 months duration. The green pods are large and flat. These soft, green pods lack the stiff transparent inner membrane due to which the entire tender pods can be eaten like french beans. The green pod yield is 100–110q/ha. There are 6–7 green, sweet small ovules in pods. The seeds are round, yellow and have 16g weight per 100 seeds. The seed yield is about 9q/ha. The crop matures in 125 days. The variety possesses moderate resistance against powdery mildew disease.

Lincoln

An exotic variety, it is better-suited for hilly regions of north India. The medium-tall plants provide attractive pods having curved shape. The pods are produced from 12th node, having 8–10 sweet ovules each. The green pod yield is 100q/ha. The crop matures in 130 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green, 100 seeds weigh 17g, the seed yield being 9q/ha.

Mattar Ageta 6

Plants are dwarf, fast growing, erect, with green foliage and ready for first picking within 7 weeks after sowing. Pods are long, 12–15 in number, borne singly and in pairs containing six grains. More than 50% of the total green pods can be harvested in first picking.

Pantnagar Matar 2

The dwarf plants produce pods from the 8th node. There are 5–6 green sweet ovules/pod and the green pod yield is bout 50q/ha. The crop matures in 110 days. The seed yield is about 5q/ha. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium-sized, having 100-seed weight of 16g. This variety suffers badly due to powdery mildew attack.

Pant Uphar (IP 3)

Its plants grow 60–70cm in height. The pods are produced from the 11th node. The medium-sized pods have 6–8 sweet ovules, the pod yield being 70–80q/ha. The crop matures in 110 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium-sized 100 seeds weigh 15g. The seed yield is about 7q/ha. This variety is highly susceptible to powdery mildew.

P 88

Its plants are medium-tall with medium-sized pods appearing from the 13th node. There are 6–7 ovules/pod, and the yield being 90q/ha (green pods). The crop matures in 120 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green, 100 seeds weigh 16g. The seed yield is 8–9q/ha. This is highly susceptible to powdery mildew.

PRS 4

This variety is moderately resistant to powdery mildew. The plants are medium-tall, produce pods from the 13th node. The pods are medium in size with 6–7 ovules each. The green pod yield is 110q/ha. The crop matures in 120 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium-sized, with 100 seeds weighing 17g. The seed yield is about 11q/ha.

VL 3

Its plants are 60–70cm tall. The green pods are produced from 14th node. The pods are medium-sized with 6–7 ovules, and pod yield is 90–100q/ha. The crop matures in 120 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green and medium-sized, 100 seed weight being 18g. The seed yield is 90q/ha. This is susceptible to powdery mildew.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Viable, healthy, well-mature and pure seeds should be used for sowing. About 100kg seed is enough for a hectare. The seeds must be treated before sowing to avoid losses due to fungal diseases. Thiram (3g/kg seed), Captan (2.5g/kg seed), Bavistin (2g/kg seed) and Thiram + Bavistin (2g + 1g/kg seed) are recommended for seed treatment. However, treating seed with Thiram + Bavistin is desirable and beneficial. Thiram as a contact fungicide is effective for 5–6 days, while Bavistin being a systemic fungicide is effective for 20 days. The seeds should be mixed thoroughly with the required quantity of fungicide.

Pea seeds can be drilled by local implements or by tractor hauled seed drills. The seeds should be sown 2–3cm deep in the soil. The drilling or dibbling can be done in rows placed 30cm apart. The spacing of 10cm from plant-to-plant is ideal.

Manuring and fertilization

Pea being a leguminous crop, fixes atmospheric nitrogen through root nodules and the comparative nitrogen requirement is less. Soil must be rich in organic fertilizers or else apply 200–250 cart loads of farmyard manure at the time of land preparation. Phosphatic fertilizers enhance yield and quality of pods. The recommended dose of fertilizers is 20kg N and 40kg P/ha as a basal dose. This can be achieved by applying diammonium phosphate (1q/ha) or urea (50kg) + single superphosphate (3q/ha).

Application of small quantity of N (10kg/ha) as topdressing after picking is recommended. Water the crop after topdressing.

Soils having deficiency of K may be supplemented with muriate of potash (50kg/ha). Prolonged application of DAP causes sulphur deficiency. The application of urea + single superphosphate is the best fertilizer combination. Gypsum or pyrites may also complete the deficiency of sulphur.

Aftercare

There is a heavy weed growth in peas right from sowing till harvest. This is due to wide spacing given for hand picking of green pods as well as due to slow growth of pea during earlier stages. Usually 1–2 hand-weedings are sufficient. Weeds can also be controlled by early mechanical means but deep harrowing damages the roots. Late interculture will also damage the crop due to trumping and mechanical breakage of tender and succulent stems and branches.

The weeds can also be controlled by applying of Basalin, Stomp and Butachlor.

Pea being a legume crop if planted year after year in the same field creates problem of wilt complex and other soil borne diseases. To check this damage, pea crop may be rotated with other vegetable crops. Besides, crop rotation also helps in maintaining balance of soil nutrients.

Irrigation

Water requirement of pea is comparatively low. For proper germination, pre-sowing irrigation is a must if the soils are dry. Irrigation frequency depends on the nature of soils and winter showers. Normally 2–3 irrigations are needed for mid-season peas or late sown peas. If the soils are lighter and shallow, the number can be increased. Excess of moisture results in yellowing of crop reducing the yield. Soil moisture deficit reduces growth and also affects nodulation. Furrow irrigation is normally adopted for irrigating peas but sprinkler system of irrigation is much better. Moisture stress at flowering and subsequent pod filling stage is most undesirable affecting the yield and quality of pods.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Harvesting green pods must be done at a proper stage. The green pod pickings may be done during the morning or evening. The pea plants are very tender with soft stem and therefore pickings should be done gently. A small jerk damages the vines thereby injuring the plants. Moreover, repeated picking should not be done. Only 2 pickings in early lines and 3 in mid-season should be done.
The green pods may be handled carefully. Proper storage at low temperature and humidity may prolong the availability duration of green peas and reduce the losses due to fungal diseases by arresting the metabolic breakdown. Adequate packaging may be done in gunny bags, baskets lined with jute cloth, bamboo baskets, corrugated fibre board boxes and plastic containers.

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 16
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Rosales
Family
:
Rosaceae
Genus
:
Prunus
 
Peach is a temperate fruit rich in proteins, sugar, minerals and vitamins. Introduction of the cultivated peaches probably took place in the latter half of the 19th century. Today, it is being grown in the midhill zone of the Himalayas extending from Jammu and Kashmir to Khasi hills 1,000–2,000m above mean sea-level. Low-chilling peaches are grown in submountaineous region and Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh. It is also being grown to a limited scale in the hills of south India and in the north-eastern region of the country.
   
Climate and soil  

Peaches require humid climate with cold winter and dry summer. It is moderately winter hardy and sensitive to low temperature injury. Swelling buds are injured at –6.5°C. Sites which are free from early spring frost are more suitable as peaches bloom early in the season. The blooming period can be delayed by the application of Gibberellic acid (200ppm) before leaf fall or by application of Ethephon, to avoid the risk of spring frost. Deep valleys are not ideal sites because cold air settles in these areas, and frost and freeze injuries are very common. The land with gentle slope is ideal. However, on steep slopes peach should be planted preferably in the mid portion.

Deep sandy loam soil rich in organic matter is best for its successful cultivation. Peaches are highly susceptible to waterlogging and prefer perfect drainage. Fertile and heavy soils are hazardous as it makes heavy growth and hence results in winter injury. The pH of the soil should be between 5.8 and 6.8. Acidic and saline soils are unfit for peach cultivation.

 
Varieties

The choice of peach varieties for a particular place is governed by adaptability to local soil and climatic conditions. Important peach varieties for subtropics are:

Table 1. Peach varieties suitable for subtropics

Low hills and plains

Flordasun, Early Amber, Shan-e-Punjab, Saharanpur,Prabhat, Flordaking, Sharbati

Punjab

Pratap, Flordasun, Shan-e-Punjab, Florda Red Sun, Red (Nectarine), Khurmani, Sharbati

Prabhat

It is the earliest-maturing peach (mid-April), and fetches good income to the growers. Fruits are medium-sized, roundish with an attractive red blush. It is white-fleshed when fully ripe, the average yield being 50kg/tree.

Partap

It matures in the third week of April (one week earlier than Flordasun). The fruits are yellow with red blush. Flesh colour is also yellow with red colouration. It has better firmness and keeping quality than Parbhat and Flordasun, the average yield being 70kg/plant.

Flordasun

It matures in the last week of April. Fruits are medium to large, roundish and yellow with red blush. Flesh is yellow, juicy and sweet. With free stone, on an average it yields 75kg/tree.

Shan-e-Punjab

It matures in the first week of May. Fruits are very large, yellow with red blush, juicy, sweet, excellent in taste, and free stone. Since fruits are firm in texture, they can withstand transportation. These are suitable for canning, the average yield being 70kg/tree.

Florda Red

An excellent, mid-season table peach, it matures in the beginning of June. Fruits are large, almost red at maturity, juicy, with white flesh and free stone. Its average yield is 100kg/tree.

Khurmani

Fruits are large, attractive with red colouration, cling stone with white soft juicy flesh.

Sharbati

Fruits are large, greenish-yellow with rosy patches, very juicy with excellent taste and flavour. Fruits ripen during June–end to first week of July, the average yield being 100–120kg/tree.

Florda Prince

Its fruits ripen in the last week of April. Fruits are medium to large, round with little or no tip, red blush, with yellow ground colour, flesh melting, yellow with some red colour, semi-cling. On an average it yields 100kg/tree.

Early Grande

It ripen in the first week of May. Fruits are large with red blush surface. Flesh yellow, firm with some red colour next to pit, semi-free when fully ripe. The average yield is 95kg/tree. The fruits possess excellent shipping qualities.

   
Propagation

Peach is commercially propagated through grafting or budding. Peach seedlings are generally used as rootstock, though plum, apricot and almond seedlings can also be used. Some nurseries also use Behmi ( P. mira ) as rootstock for peach. Since wild species produce more vigorous and hardy seedlings than the cultivated varieties, wild peach seedlings are preferred in the hills. Before sowing, seeds are stratified at 4°–10°C for 10–12 weeks in the moist sand. The stratification of peach seeds can also be done under natural conditions and cold storage at 10°C or below. Pre-sowing treatment of seeds with thiourea (0.5%), GA (200ppm) or BA (100ppm) reduces the stratification period, enhances seed germination and improves the seedling growth. The stratified seeds are then sown in well-prepared beds about 5cm deep and 15cm apart at a row-to-row spacing of 20cm. Seed-beds are mulched with 6–10cm thick dry grass and light irrigation is given after sowing to avoid desiccation of seeds. Seeds start germinating in March. The seedlings become buddable in June, if they are grown in fertile soil with full care, they become graftable in the following winter.

Peaches are propagated commercially by tongue or cleft grafting and T-budding or ring budding. In hills, tongue grafting during January–February and T-budding during May–June are performed. However, in plains grafting is performed during November–January and budding during April–June and September.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

The planting is carried out in winter season. Before planting, the site of orchard should be properly cleared of bushes and weeds. The area should be ploughed or dug and arrangement of drainage be made in advance of planting. In hilly areas, contour planting system should be adopted if the slope is steep, otherwise terraces should be made. In plains, square system of planting is common. Pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size at a distance of 4.5m in hills, are dug during September–October. The pits should be refilled with fertile top soil mixed with 40kg of well-rotten farmyard manure. And 10 litres solution of Chlorpyriphos (1ml/litre) to each pit to avoid any damage from insects.

In high-density plantation, the distance can be reduced to 3m × 3m. In Tatura trellis and Meadow system, peach is planted at a distance of 5m × 1m (2,000 plants/ha) and 2m × 1m (5,000 plants/ha) respectively.

Training and pruning

Of the conventional training systems, modified leader and open centre are usually adopted to train peach trees. If sunlight exposure is a limiting factor (hills), 

vase or open centre system of training is generally used. In this system, at the time of planting, stem is cut to a height of 60–80cm from the ground level and only 3–4 branches are allowed to develop on it. In the following dormant season, these 3–4 branches arising in opposite directions with wide angled crotches are headed back. The unwanted branches are thinned out. In the second year, 5–7 secondary limbs on the main scaffolds are selected and headed back. On secondary scaffold, diseased, weak and dry shoots are thinned out and 2 or 3 secondary laterals are selected at this stage. All the side branches which grow towards the ground, centre of the tree or vertically straight should be thinned out. The main stem is kept clear up to 45cm above the ground.

Peaches require heavy and regular pruning because fruiting occurs laterally only on previous season's growth which bears only once in its life time. The pruning of peach has two important components—thinning out and heading back of the shoots. Pruning should be done so as to produce 25–50cm of growth annually under temperate condition, which is sufficient for maintaining optimum productivity. During early bearing, the selected shoots should be lightly pruned by removing 20–30% linear growth after corrective pruning of the tree. After 7–8 years of bearing, the corrective pruning should be followed by removal of linear extension growth to the extent of 70–80%. The remaining 50% of selected shoots should be headed back by removing 20–30% linear growth. In general, fruiting shoots should be lightly pruned and alternate ones severely headed back to get sufficient yield and following year's growth respectively. In subsequent years, the pruning severities in these two branches are changed which maintains the trees in growing and fruiting condition.

In July Elberta peach, pruning should be done to retain 40 fruiting shoots and each shoot is headed back to 15 nodes. Where heavy pruning is required, three-fourths heading back + 40% thinning out is recommended. Mid-winter is best time of pruning.

Manuring and fertilization

The peach has a relatively high requirement for N and K. Whole quantity of farmyard manure along with P and K is given during December–January. Half of N should be given in spring before flowering and the remaining half a month later if irrigation facilities are available. Under rainfed conditions, N fertilizers should be applied in one lot 15 days before budbreak. The manures and nitrogenous fertilizer should always be applied by broadcasting evenly in the tree basins which should be sufficiently large and should encompass the entire canopy of the tree. It should be thoroughly mixed in soil by gentle raking. Phosphatic and potassic fertilizers should be applied in trenches of 20–25cm width and 10–15cm deep made beneath the tree canopy at a distance of 1–2m from the main trunk. The trees should be irrigated lightly immediately after the application of manures and fertilizers.

Peach is very susceptible to Fe deficiency which can be controlled by foliar application of 0.5–1.0% ferrous sulphate or by soil application of 50–250g chelated Fe (Fe-EDDTA) at 20–30 spots around the tree in small holes. Trunk injection of 1% ferrous sulphate or ferric citrate is also beneficial in extreme cases.

Aftercare

Peach July Elberta in high hills, and Redhaven, Sunhaven, Kanto 5 and Shimizu Hakuto are prolific bearing. Their fruit size remains small as a result of excessive cropping. Therefore, application of Ethephon (300ppm) with Tween 20 at petal fall in July Elberta is recommended for optimum fruit thinning. However, in Redhaven peach Ethephon (600pm) 20–30 days after fruit set when the fruitlets are 20–25cm in diameter, should be used for thinning. Hand-thinning at 5–7.5cm fruit spacing at pit-hardening stage is equally effective.

Simazine and Atrazine (2.9kg/ha), Turbacil (0.8kg/ha) as pre-emergent and Paraquat (4.0 litres/ha) and Glyphosate (4.32kg/ha) as post-emergent herbicides are quite effective to control weeds without any phytotoxic effect. In nursery, Oxyflurofen (0.5kg/ha) and Diuron (2kg/ha) are good to control weeds.

Irrigation

To get optimum-sized and quality peaches, irrigation is very much essential. There should be sufficient moisture in soil before the emergence of leaves and flowers. Frequent irrigations are needed during the fruit development. Lack of irrigation, particularly during dry and hot summer result in fruit drop, reduced fruit size and quality. In hills, at least two irrigations should be given during the fruit development period. Irrigation should be stopped a few days before harvesting and at the time of dormancy, when the plants should become sufficiently hardened to withstand cool weather. Due to scarcity of water in hills, drip irrigation is recommended.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

To get premium price and reduce the losses during packaging and transporting, peaches should be harvested at optimum stage of maturity. A large number of maturity indices—days to maturity, calendar date, fruit size, firmness, sense of touch, pit discoloration, freeness of pit, taste, ground colour, sugar, acidity, starch, sugar : acid ratio—have been assessed on different cultivars. The days from full bloom to maturity vary in different cultivars—Alexander, 86 days; July Elberta, 101 days; Babcock, 122 days and Elberta, 127 days. All peach fruits do not mature simultaneously. Therefore, these may be harvested in 3–4 pickings at 4 days interval. For distant markets, they should be harvested when they attain good colour but are still hard and ripe, whereas for local consumption tree ripe peaches are harvested by twisting with hand. The peak harvesting period for different peach cultivars in hills is mid-May (Shan-e-Punjab)–mid-July (July Elberta and Shimizu Hakuto).

The peach comes into bearing after 2 years of planting in the field. The plants bear for about 20 years. The yielding capacity increases with the age of the plant. The average yield of fully-grown trees of different varieties varies from 50 to 125kg in hills. In conventional plantations, 7–10 tonnes/ha and in Tatura Trellis about 23 tonnes/ha yield can be obtained.

Peaches ripen very fast as the harvesting season coincides with the prevailing high seasonal temperature. Ripening process declines to half with each reduction of 5.6°C from 21.1°–4.4°C. The fruits ripen in 3 days at 21.1°C, while in 6 days at 15.5°C. Peaches ripen with good flavour and aroma at temperature above 15.0°C, with undesirable flavour at 10°C and breakdown internally instead of ripening at 4.4°C.

The harvested fruits must be disposed off as expeditiously as possible. Peaches are graded to fetch better price in the market. Size grading is essential for uniformity and packing in standard cartons or boxes.

Peaches are generally packed in wooden boxes. But nowadays universal CFB cartons are also used. These cartons are lighter in weight and consume about one-third wood and are easy to handle. Fruits in these cartons fetch better price as there is lesser bruising damage. These cartons need protection from direct rains.

Peaches have a shorter storage life than most other temperate fruits. The recommended cold storage conditions are 0°–0.3°C and 85–90% relative humidity. In these conditions, free stone peaches and nectarines can be kept for 2 weeks and clingstone for 4 weeks. Precooled peaches can be stored for 28–36 days. Peaches are freezed in cold storage at –0.9°C. In controlled atmosphere storage containing 5% CO 2 + 1–2% O 2 at 0°C, peaches can be stored up to 42 days.

   
Physiological Disorders

Sunscald causes severe damage to the exposed trunk and main scaffold branches. Shading of branches considerably reduces the incidence. Painting of exposed surface with lime paste and shading by wrapping straw or hay around the trunk and thicker branches is quite effective in mitigating the problem.

Splitting of fruits generally occurs at dorsal and ventral sides mostly at the time of pit hardening stage. Sometimes gum exudes from the fruit making it unfit for consumption. Splitting and gumming are accentuated during heavy rains after a long dry spell. The exact cause of this problem is still to be determined.
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Rosales
Family
:
Rosaceae
Genus
:
Pyrus
 
Pear is next only to apple in importance, acreage, production and varietal diversity among temperate fruits in India. It is grown under temperate and subtropical conditions because of its wider climatic and soil adaptability. It is primarily grown in hills at 1,700–2,400m above mean sea-level in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. Low-chilling pears have adapted very well in the subtropical regions.
   
Climate and soil  

Pear can be grown in a wide range of climatic conditions, as it can tolerate as low as –26°C temperature when dormant and as high as 45°C during growing period. A large number of pear cultivars require about 1,200hr below 7°C during winter to complete their chilling requirement to flower and fruit satisfactorily. However, Bartlett needs about 1,500hr compared with other temperate pears. Pear variety Patharnakh needs only 150hr of chilling and can also withstand high temperature and hot winds during summer. The medium chilling requiring pear LeConte, Keiffer, Pineapple, Hood and Gola perform well in areas experiencing mild winter. Spring frosts are detrimental to pear production and temperature at –3.3°C or below kills the open blossom. Therefore, lowlands should be avoided for its planting. The hail-prone areas are also unsuitable as hailstorms affect both plants and fruits.

Pear grows best in deep, well-drained, fertile, medium-textured and relatively more clay soil. It is more tolerant to wet soils but less tolerant to drought than apple. Pears even do well on poorly aerated heavy soil with high watertable which is heavy in texture for most of deciduous fruits. A soil depth of about 180cm is ideal for proper root growth and fruit production. Plants growing on deeper soils give about twice the yield than those in shallow soils. A neutral pH range of 6.0–7.5 is desirable because Fe deficiency appears on highly alkaline soils. The highly fertile soils rich in N are not very suitable for pear growing as the incidence of pear psylla and fire blight is more in these soils.
 
Varieties

Pear varieties belong to 3 groups—European, Asian and hybrids. The varieties recommended for different states are listed below.  

Early

Mid-season

Late

Early China Laxton's , Superb,Fertility (P),Seckel.

Bartlett,Starking Delicious,Max-Red Bartlett,Dr Jule's Guyot.

Conference (P) * , Comice,Hardy, Winter Nellis, Clapp's Favourite, Flemish Beauty (P).

(Table 1. Pear varieties for high hills)

* Please also refer to chapter on Temperate Fruits for Subtropical Region.

Himachal Pradesh

High hills: The pears are classified as early, mid-season and late-ripening. They are:

Mid, low hills and valley areas: Pears grown in these areas are: Patharnakh (Sand Pear), Keiffer (P) and China Pear.

Jammu and Kashmir

Early

Mid-season

Late

China pear, Beurre-de-Amanlis

Citron-do-Carme, Clapp's Favourite, Doyenne Bussoch Genta Drauard Fertility China Sand Pear, William Bartlett

Hardy, Viear of Winkfield

(Table 2. Pear varieties for temperate areas)

Uttar Pradesh

The varieties grown are:

High hills: Max-Red Bartlett, William Bartlett, Conference, Hardy, Winter Nelis, Clapp's Favourite, Flemish Beauty and Comice.

Lower hills and plains: Patharnakh, Gola and LeConte.

   
Propagation

The rootstock commonly used for propagation are pear, Kainth and Shiara  seedlings and clonally propagated Quince. In Punjab, root suckers of wild pear are also employed as rootstock. In some areas in plains of north India, own-rooted cuttings of Patharnakh are also used for propagation.

Seed propagation

For raising rootstock, seeds of pear, Kainth and Shiara are extracted from fully mature fruits. The seeds need stratification (chilling treatment) for proper germination. The stratification can be completed by sowing seeds in open nursery in November or placing them in alternate layers with the moist sand and/or vermiculite at optimum low temperature (5°–7°C) for the required duration during October–November. The seeds are kept in the stratifying medium till the uppermost layer of seeds pushes the sand upward and protrudes the radical. The germinating seeds are sown in the beds or directly in the nursery rows immediately at a distance of 10–15cm in rows 15cm apart

Own-rooted cuttings

Dormant cuttings from meritorious pear trees are prepared from juvenile shoots during December. These cuttings are treated with IBA 100ppm for 24hr and are placed in moist sand for callusing. The callused cuttings are then planted in the nursery rows. Kainth cuttings are also prepared and treated in the same manner to raise clonal rootstock. These are later budded/grafted.

Raising rootstock from root suckers

The root suckers of healthy pear trees are separated during October–December with good root system. These suckers are tongue grafted and planted in the nursery at 15–20cm distance 30cm apart, leaving 60cm space after 2 rows. The root suckers which do not have good root system are planted in nursery rows after heading back to 2–3 buds without grafting. New sprouts come during February–March which become budable during August–September.

Clonal rootstock

‘Quince A' is most commonly used clonal rootstock producing trees 50–60% of the standard size. However, this rootstock has poor compatibility with most of the commercial cultivars. Incompatibility can be overcome by double grafting with Old Home or Hardy varieties. Mound layering is generally done to propagate this rootstock clonally.

Budding and grafting

Pear plants are commonly propagated by T-budding during April–September or tongue grafting done during December–January.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

It is necessary to prepare the land by carrying out preliminary operations before planting the trees. The nature of these operations depends upon the condition of the land. If the land is already under use for raising crops and receiving adequate quantities of manure, it is suitable for planting trees. However, it should be cleared of all the old stems and roots of previously-growing trees and shrubs and be levelled properly giving a gentle slope for water drainage. A planting plan is prepared adopting a particular layout system before actual planting. The layout system depends on plant density to be adopted and topography of land. Generally, square or rectangular system is followed.

In hilly areas, contour system is followed on a rolling land. In this system, first row is drawn at the highest elevation and all the trees in a row come at the same elevation. The distance between rows depends on the slope, being closer on the steeper slope. The planting distance depends upon soil fertility, cultivar, rootstock, training system and climate of the region. In hilly areas, the trees on seedling rootstock are planted at a distance of 5m but for clonal rootstocks distance can be reduced to 3m. In plains, the planting distance of 6m and 8m is recommended for pear Baggugosha and Patharnakh respectively. The planting of trees can be done anytime from December to mid-February in plains. However in hills, late fall or early spring are the common planting periods. In regions where winter is mild and soil has enough moisture, late fall planting is desirable but in the contradictory conditions early spring planting is the best. A pit of 1m × 1m × 1m size is dug at such places and filled with a mixture of soil and well-rotten farmyard manure or compost and 30g Aldrin or BHC dust. Irrigation is given after filling pits to settle down the mixture. At the time of planting, a small hole is dug just big enough to accommodate all the roots. Very long roots can be shortened and plant should remain straight in its position when roots are being covered with soil firmly.

Training and pruning

Proper training and pruning of pear trees is essential for the development of strong framework, to maintain vigour and growth, spread the fruiting area uniformly, secure fruits of good size and quality, encourage regular bearing and to provide convenience of pruning, spraying and harvesting.

Pear trees are usually trained according to ‘Modified Central Leader' method. In this method, 4 or 5 well-spaced limbs are developed during initial 3–4 years and then the leader is headed off. In first year, plants are headed back at 90cm low-headed trees and at 125cm for high-headed trees at the time of planting. The lowest branch is allowed to develop at a height of 60cm from the ground level. Four or five primary scaffold branches arising at wider angle, well-spaced, 10–15cm apart and spirally arranged around the tree trunk are selected. Two to three secondary branches are selected on the primary scaffold during second dormant pruning. During subsequent years, training consists of thinning out unwanted branches and cutting others to desirable side limbs. The leader should be removed to keep a well-placed, outward growing lateral in the fourth year of training.

In pruning bearing trees, a certain amount of thinning out and heading back of outward growing laterals are considered adequate. A balance is required to be maintained between fruit production and vegetative growth. Pruning intensity varies with the bearing habit of a cultivar and vigour of a tree. Pear bears fruits on spurs on 2-year-old wood and a spur continues to bear for more than 6 years. The limbs with spurs over 6–8 years old need to be removed in a phased manner. The branches and new shoots are headed back to induce new growth and old fruiting branches and spurs are thinned out to maintain the vigour of the retained ones. Vigorous growth is more susceptible to fire blight. Therefore, in areas of heavy blight infection pruning should be carried out in such a way that the trees make a thrifty growth. Light pruning reduces cork spot and increases yield of desirable fruit size.

In hills, dormant season, when the danger of heavy snowfall is over, is the best time of pruning. Early pruning may result in severe cold injury.

Manuring and fertilization

In hills, the recommended dose for 10-year-old plants is 60–100kg farmyard manure, 700g N, 350g P 2 O 5 and 700g K 2 O. The farmyard manure, P and K are applied before snowfall in December. Half of N is added 3 weeks before flowering and the rest half just after fruit set.

The deficiency of Zn and Fe on young foliage can easily be controlled by spraying 0.4–0.5% zinc sulphate and ferrous sulphate respectively during April.

Aftercare

Immediately after planting, the basins should be prepared around the plants. The level of the soil near the trunk should be kept slightly higher than the level of the basin to avoid direct contact of water with the trunk. Irrigation should be given immediately after planting. Second irrigation is applied after 2–3 days. Subsequent irrigations should be given as and when required. The young plants are staked after planting to keep their stem straight. The trunks of these plants are also whitewashed to avoid sun-burn. The surplus shoots from the plants which are not required for primary framework should be removed. The sprouts on the rootstock and root suckers should also be removed.

Green Gram, mash, toria and sunflower can be grown in kharif, while wheat, peas, gram and senji in rabi season may be intercropped in young orchards. Additional dose of fertilizers should be given to intercrops. Peach can also be planted as fillers in pear plantations.

Weeds can be controlled either mechanically by weeding and hoeing or with the use of herbicides. Hexuron 80wp (Diuron) @ 4kg/ha as pre-emergence in the first fortnight of March and Glycel 41sl (Glyphosate) or Grammaxone 24wsc (Paraquat) @ 3 litres/ha as post-emergence when weeds are 15–20cm in height dissolved in 200 litres of water are very effective to control wide-spectrum weeds.

Most of the pear cultivars grown in hills are partially self-fruitful and compatible pollinizers and must be interplanted in pear orchards. The pollinizer cultivars should have sufficiently overlapping bloom period and bear fruits of commercial value. In general, planting of every fourth tree in every fourth row as pollinizer is adequate. In addition, 2–3 bee colonies/ha are sufficient for obtaining higher yield.

Irrigation

In heavier soils, moisture supply representing 50% or more of the maximum available moisture in the upper 1 m is essential for maximum growth of fruit, shoot and trunk. Lighter soils or those with a gravel substratum need more frequent and heavier application of irrigation. A loam soil should be wet 1.5–1.8m deep. In hills, pear cultivation is mostly done under rainfed conditions but at many places irrigation facility may be available which is an additional advantage. Besides rainfall, 75–100cm irrigation may be applied annually in some regions.

Both excessive and scanty moisture affects colour, composition and keeping quality of fruits. After harvesting in July–August, the trees should be irrigated at 20 days intervals or so up to the end of October. Afterwards no irrigation is required up to January except when the manures and fertilizers are added in December.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Fully mature fruits are harvested for fresh consumption, while still firm and green for canning and distant markets. For local consumption, fruits are picked at slightly later stage, because fruits hanging on trees make a considerable gain in size, weight and overall quality. However, delayed picking reduces storage life and on canning such fruits develop unattractive chalky colour, turbid syrup and insipid flavour. Pear fruits are picked individually by giving a gentle twist rather than direct pull. Harvesting should be done in 2–3 pickings at 3–4 days interval rather than single picking. A well-managed orchard of pear Bartlett yields 30–35 tonnes/ha.

Most pear cultivars ripen and develop best dessert quality at 15.6°–21°C and 80–85% relative humidity. High ripening temperatures (above 26°C) may impair flavour and texture of the fruits as they become mealy and fail to ripen.

Pears after harvesting are cooled to a core temperature of –0.6° to –1.6°C to remove field heat and arrest ripening. Pre-cooling is not necessary if fruits are to be consumed within a few weeks of harvesting. Hydro-cooling reduces the incidence of shriveling and brown core without affecting weight loss or incidence of rot.

Grading of fruits is very important for better returns. Bartlett pears are graded as extra large, large, medium and small having 8, 7, 6.5 and 5cm respectively. These grades are also known as extra class, class I, class II and class III. The mis-shapen, damaged, blemished and scared fruits should be excluded while grading.

The wooden, plastic or cardboard boxes are generally used for packing pears. The fruits should be packed in layers. The bottom and top of the containers are properly cushioned with newspaper or dry grass for avoiding compaction and bruises to fruits. The fruits can also be wrapped individually in 10 micron HDPE bags before packing which maintains freshness and improves fruit quality compared with unwrapped fruits. Labelling of boxes indicating grade, cultivar and name of the orchard should be pasted, printed or stamped on the container. Pears can be stored for 120–245 days at –1°C and 85% relative humidity.

   
Physiological Disorders
Premature ripening begins with pink colouration near the blossom end. Consequently core breakdown (brown heart) and softening occur in affected fruits which do not ripen properly. This disorder is caused by abnormally cool growing season preceding harvest. Night temperature lower than 7.1°C and day temperature lower than 21°C for a few days are sufficient to cause premature ripening. As soon as the initial symptoms appear, the fruits should be harvested and handled normally.
Nutritional Value
 
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Pecan is one of the most important nut fruits of the world, ranking fifth in production. Its kernels have high nutritional and calorific value, i.e. 11–12% protein, 70% fat and good amount of phosphoric acid. In India, pecan was introduced in 1935 at the Government Progeny-cum-Demonstration Orchard, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. Pecans are now well-acclimatized in Solan, Mandi and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh, hills of Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Nilgiri hills. The total area is however very limited.
   
Climate and soil  

Pecan grows in warm temperate climate. The extremes of both temperate and subtropical climates are undesirable. It requires 240–280 days growing season with a mean temperature above 26.7°C, heat units (above 10°C) amounting to 5,000 degree days during 7 months of nut-growing season, mean temperature for 3 coldest months between 7.2°C and 12.8°C with at least 400hr of chilling temperature at or below 7.2°C, medium to low rainfall and high levels of solar radiation during the growing season.

Pecan can be grown in varied types of soil. But sandy-loam, fertile soil, rich in organic matter, deep, well-aerated and well-drained soils with a pH of 6.4 is ideal. Although it can be grown in soils having pH of 5–8, in alkaline soils Zn deficiency is severe. Soil should have proper aeration since restricted soil aeration induces partial stomatal closure, decreases leaf number, leaf area and trunk and dry weight of root.

 
Varieties

Nut size, shell thickness and cracking qualities are important for selecting a cultivar. However, high-density orcharding nowadays envisages that the cultivar should be precocious, prolific-bearer, responding to pruning and orchard management practices. Pecan cultivars grown in the country along with other promising cultivars are given here:

Mahan

It is an early-maturing, vigorous, prolific-bearer and protogynous cultivar. Its nuts are large, nut size (20 nuts/kg), oblong, cylindrical, base flattened with apex moderately pointed, shoulders uneven, shell brown, conspicuous by dark stripes at the apex; kernel 57% of nut, kernel loosely filled, easily separable from the shell. It matures during October-end.

Nellis

Nuts oblong, cylindrical, tapering towards the end, shell light brown, presence of dark stripes at the base; kernel 49.4% of nut, amber coloured, moderately filled, and easily separable from the shell. It is a regular-bearer, maturing during second to third week of October.

Burkett

It is a protogynous cultivar. Nuts are more or less round, base flat to slightly pointed, apex slightly pointed, shoulders even, shell greyish in colour, finely dotted, black striped at the apex; kernel 57% of the nut, dark brown to chrome-yellow, well-filled, not easily separable from the shell and nut size (23 nuts/kg). It is a regular-bear, prone to fruit drop maturing in the second week of October.

Western Schley

A protandrous cultivar, nut size (26 nuts/kg). The nuts are oblong, cylindrical, base and apex evenly pointed, shoulders even; shell dark brown, dark stripe more significantly at the apex than in other varieties; kernel 58% of the nut, light brown, moderately filled, less easily separable from the nut; bearing regular; matures during second to third week of October.

Stuart

A protogynous cultivar, its trees give uniform yield of high quality nuts. It is resistant to scab disease. Nut size is large (23 nuts/kg), kernel 44–50% of nut. It is slow to come into bearing. It should be planted with a protandrous cultivar like Desirable.

Western

Nuts medium-sized, thin-shelled, kernel. 54–59% of nuts, kernel quality good. Being precocious, it is very prolific and self-pollinated and is recommended for high-density planting. It is unsuitable for humid areas due to susceptibility to scab.

Desirable

A protandrous cultivar, its nuts are larger than Stuart. Kernel 52% good in-shell trade product. Tree comes into bearing early, very prolific, regular-bearer and resistant to scab. It is recommended for high-density planting.

Mohawk

It is a protogynous cultivar, tree being vigorous with intermediate growth habit between erect and spreading, moderately precocious. Nut clusters of average size, mature early. Nuts large (16–23 nuts/kg) and attractive; kernel (55–60%), high quality.

Cheyenne

A protandrous, cultivar of mid-season maturity. Profuse, small lateral branching and dwarf type growth, it is ideally-suited for high-density planting. Very precocious and a highly prolific-bearer, the nuts are excellent for shelling, nut size being 25–32 nuts/kg. Kernel (57–61%), slight wrinkling of kernel surface.

Chicksaw

A protogynous cultivar, its nuts mature early (late-September to early-October). Tree is vigorous with dense, small leaves and profuse lateral branching. Very precocious and prolific-bearer, it is suitable for high-density plantings. Nut size is 25–32 nuts/kg, kernel (52–58%).

Wichita

It is a protogynous cultivar, tree being precocious and prolific-bearer. Nuts medium-sized; 20–30/kg. Kernel 60%. Neat purplish-black stripes and splotches on attractive clear brown shell. Foliage good and early; heavy and consistent yields. Needs detailed training to reduce narrow crotch angles. It is well-suited for small tree culture.

   
Propagation

Pecan is propagated both through seed and vegetative means. Rootstock plants are raised through seed and budded/grafted with the desired cultivars. In India, till recently seedling plantations of pecan have been raised to a great extent because of the very low success in vegetative propagation.

Pecan seeds obtained from high performance trees are used for raising plants. Before sowing, seeds are stratified in alternate layers of moist sand at 3°C for 12–16 weeks followed by sowing in the nursery beds. The stratification may also be substituted by incubation at 35°C for 4 weeks. While in nursery beds, these are protected against removal or damage by birds and rats. In India, its rootstocks are raised from seeds of pecan Burkett and Nellis or from the nuts from seedling trees.

For vegetative propagation, cuttings, stooling, budding and grafting have been tried with varying degree of success, patch and annular budding during summer and tongue grafting during winter being most successful.

In patch budding, 2–3 years old seedlings are used as rootstock. The patch of bark, removed from the rootstock at a height of 40–50cm from the ground level is replaced with a similar patch of bark containing bud from the cultivar to be budded. Care should be taken that the patch fits well at the top and the bottom of patch on rootstock. It should be done in May.

In case of annular budding, a ring of bark about 3.5cm wide and 20cm above the ground level is removed from 2–3 years old rootstock by giving 2 transverse cuts and a vertical cut through the width of ring. Care should be taken not to damage the rootstock. A similar ring of bark containing the dormant bud of the scion variety in its centre opposite the vertical cut of ring is removed and inserted over the ringed portion of the stock. It should be ensured that bark fits well at the top and bottom. June-end is right time for it.

Tongue grafting

It is also done on 2–3 years old rootstock. A tongue cut of 3–3.5cm length is given both on the scion (at base) and rootstock (at top) with one single stroke of the knife. Scion and rootstock each should have a girth of 3.5–4.5cm. On each of these surfaces, a reverse cut is made. The stock and scion are inserted into each other with the tongue interlocking to make the cambium layers coincide with each other. The union is tied with polythene sheet. From the successful grafts, polythene strips should be removed at later stages of their growth. The operation should be performed during early-March.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Pecan trees are generally planted in square system at 8–10m spacing. For planting, pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size are dug and filled properly with a mixture of top soil, 30–50kg well-rotten farmyard manure, 500g single superphosphate and 30–50g of Chlorpyriphos dust. The filled pits are irrigated to settle the soil. This operation is done in October/November. The planting should be done in December–January. Since nursery trees may have rootstocks 3–5 years old budded with cultivar tops of 1–2 years, more than 75cm high, it should be ensured that the plants are extracted with minimum damage to the roots. Transplant the trees in orchard soon after their removal from the nursery to avoid root drying. While placing the plants in the holes dug in the pits, ensure that the roots are spread properly on all the sides. Soil is then properly secured all round the tree, basin prepared and irrigation is given.

Training and pruning

The plants are generally trained in central leader system. The lowest branch should be kept at a height of 1m from the ground level and other subsequent branches should be spaced spirally at a distance of 30–35cm from one above the another. Once the framework is established, very little pruning is done in matured trees. Since pecan is a terminal-bearer, it requires only light to moderate pruning. Heavy pruning results in extremely vigorous growth with no production, so only dried and broken branches are removed and overcrowded branches are thinned.

Manuring and fertilization

Since trees have a deep and well-spread root system, they respond very slowly to fertilizers. The effects of nutrients applied in one year are reflected in growth and yield of the trees after 2–3 years. Thus leaf analysis is not helpful in determining the nutritional condition of the tree. The yield does not decrease even at leaf N levels lower than the established threshold levels. The filling of nuts is negatively correlated with their number on a tree. The nutrients should not only be available for nut set but throughout the period of their development as well.

It has been recommended that the pecan trees should be applied 100kg farmyard manure every year in December. In addition, apply 500g NPK mixture (15:15:15)/year age of the tree and 8kg mixture to the full bearing trees of 16 years age and above. The fertilizer should be applied in early spring. Pecan trees are very much prone to Zn and Mn deficiency which can be prevented with the foliar application of zinc sulphate and manganese sulphate each @ 0.5%.

Aftercare

The tree basins are mulched with dry grass. The practice can be followed even in later years in mature trees. This conserves soil moisture, controls weeds and adds organic matter on decomposition. But care should be taken to protect the trees from rats which are a big menace for pecan plantations. Thus the area should be kept weed-free. It should also be baited against rats. Keep the basins free by cultivating regularly. Pre-emergence and contact herbicides are generally used to control weeds. Diuron and simazine (2–5kg/ha) are widely used to control grasses and broad-leaved weeds. Paraquat at 1kg/ha can be used as contact herbicide.

Some cover crops can be grown during summer and winter seasons, especially on hill slopes to check soil erosion and leaching of nutrients. Summer crops—soybean, velvet, bean, cowpea and clover—can be taken in young orchards before they come into bearing. Leguminous cover crops are more beneficial as they also add nitrogen to the soil. Apart from a single crop, a combination of vetch and peas, vetch and rye or oats, and peas and oats is ideal. Since pecan is planted at a greater spacing and comes into bearing late, it is advisable to grow intercrops till it starts bearing. Tomato, peas, cauliflower, pulses, beans and strawberry can be grown as intercrops in the inter-row spaces. Besides the seasonal crops, filler trees such as peach can also be grown as an intercrop in the orchard. While growing intercrops, care should be taken that the pecan trees are not damaged or neglected.

Irrigation

Pecan trees require higher water than other nut trees. Their growth and productivity improve with irrigation. Irrigation improves kernel yield, nut weight and diameter, oil content and appearance. Irrigation is even required before shuck opening as late-season irrigation reduces sticktights and viviparous nuts. Pecan trees can be irrigated through flooding, basin, furrow, sprinkler and drip irrigation methods.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Pecan should be harvested at proper maturity when the shucks split open and are separated from the nuts. In India, most of the cultivars are ready for harvesting in October. Early harvesting should be avoided because at this stage shucks do not dehisce and separate easily from the shell in immature fruits. The development of nut colour is also hampered. Early harvesting can impair the nut quality. Late harvesting makes the nuts more prone to bird damage. Thus nuts should be harvested at proper maturity in October. The harvesting is facilitated with the help of bamboo poles. The nuts are collected on the large sheets spread under the canopy of the trees or on the properly cleaned surface of soil. The nuts after separating from the shucks are dried under the sun and stored in a dry place. A fully grown tree bears about 20–25kg nuts.
   
Physiological Disorders

Leaf scorch comprises more than one type of scorch, based on appearance and cause. Necrotic (dead) areas develop on basal edges of the leaflets. As the diseases advances defoliation starts. It is most frequently associated with very wet or very dry soil. Such a soil condition causes nutrient imbalance within the plant. In summer on early fall, poor filling of nuts, causing a complete crop failure takes place. It can be controlled by providing moderate shading to small trees to reduce transpiration, moderate summer cultivation, mowing or grazing of sod orchards reduce water loss through grass and weeds. Irrigation is helpful under extremely dry condition. Thinning of over-crowded trees is also helpful.

Rosette is a physiological disorder caused by the lack of Zn. There is bronzing and crinkling of leaflets. Rosette of leaves develops. In severe cases, it causes twigs, and eventually branches, to die back. Growth and development of the trees are greatly retarded and the trees do not produce nuts. It can be corrected with the foliar or soil application of zinc sulphate (0.5%). Its application to the soil should be done @ 900–1,000g/mature tree in sandy soil, while in sandy loam and heavier soils, 2,250–4,500g is enough.

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 48
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Lamiales
Family
:
Lamiaceae
Genus
:
Mentha
 
Peppermint is an allied mint crop with relatively long-stalked opposite lanceolate leaves. The plants are 50–80cm tall, bearing globular flowering spikes. It bears purplish blossom in terminal spikes. The common black Mitcham variety (introduced) is vigorous growing hardy plant and prefers cool sub-temperate climate. Since growth and yield of peppermint is not very high in tarai tract of Uttar Pradesh, it is not grown here in large areas. It is cultivated on a small scale in Punjab and parts of Himachal Pradesh. The cultivation practices are similar to those of Japanese mint. It has lower oil content (0.25%), the average oil yield being 80kg/ha from a fertile land having well-managed plantation. The oil has 50–50% menthol, sweet in taste and of superior odour. It is mainly used in pharmaceutical preparations.It fetches much higher price than oil of Japanese mint.
   
 
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 16
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Gentianales
Family
:
Apocynaceae
Genus
:
Catharanthus
 

Periwinkle or sadabahar is a tropical, perennial herb. It has long been cultivated as a pot herb in India because of its pink or white flowers, produced almost throughout the year. Being pantropic in distribution, it is found growing all over the country but its commercial cultivation is done in 3,000ha area in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and to a small extent in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It is a unique medicinal plant. Its leaves contain VLB alkaloids with anti-neoplastic properties used in curing blood cancer, whereas roots are rich in ajmalicine, raubacine and reserpine used in controlling high blood pressure. There is a good demand for both these group of alkaloids in world trade.

Periwinkle is an erect, branched, herb growing around 1m tall. The plants bear oblong-obovate, shortly stalked, opposite leaves. Flowers are borne in axil in pairs with long cylindrical corolla tube. The flowers are pink or white. Fruit is a follicle, 2.5cm long and 2.5–3mm broad containing up to 30 black seeds. The fruits split along the length at maturity. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids.

It grows in diverse soil and climatic conditions in tropical and subtropical regions with supplemental irrigation. However, it prefers deep, sandy-loam, well-drained soils up to 8.5 pH. Saline-alkaline land or waterlogged conditions are not suitable. The crop prefers warm, dry conditions all round the year and remains for 200 days in field (260 days in north India). Where rainfall is high and well-distributed, it can be grown as a rainfed crop. Its growth is restricted during cold weather in winter due to low temperature.

At present, an open-pollinated, composite variety is grown all over the country. But Nirmal is preferred in die-back and root-rot prone areas. In south India, it is cultivated in submarginal lands, improved through green manuring or farmyard manure (15 tonnes/ha) at land preparation. It can be grown under Eucalyptus plantation, where seedlings should only be transplanted as its leaf leachate reduces seed germination. It is a good trap crop for root-knot nematodes and when grown along borders of the field around vegetables, it can reduce nematode damage to a very large extent.

Usually, composite seed is available only for raising crop. Periwinkle variety Nirmal, resistant to wilt and die-back, should be preferred.

The seeds are very small and light. They lose their viability 1 year after storage. Pre-soaked seeds treated with Captan (2g/kg) give good germination. The seed rate of 2.5kg/ha is enough for direct sowing in rows at 45cm spacing during rainy season. For nursery, 500g seed produces enough seedlings to plant one hectare land. The directly sown seed fields are given a light irrigation if it does not rain in next 2 days. In nursery, seeds germinate 10 days after sowing. The 60 days-old seedlings (12–15cm tall) are ready for planting. The direct sown crop is thinned at 60–75 days age maintaining a distance of 30cm in the rows. A plant population of 75,000 plants/ha is optimum. The crop is given 20:40:40kg N, P and K/ha together with 25kg of 10% BHC basally and 60kg of N is further drilled in rows in 3 splits at thinning, and 90 days and 120 days after planting respectively. Rainfed crop is topdressed by 40kg N/ha only. On an average, 5 irrigations are given at monthly intervals. It is a drought hardy crop and can survive for long under lack of adequate irrigation. However, adequate soil moisture induces branching, high vegetative growth and higher root yield. The alkaloid synthesis is high under partial drought conditions. The crop is given two weeding-cum-hoeings 35 days and 70 days after planting. Use of Fluchoraline (0.75kg/ha) as pre-plant or Alachor (1.0kg/ha) as pre-emergent application controls weeds.

The foliage are picked up (twice) at 120 and 150 days after planting. The third picking is obtained at uprooting of plants for root crop 200 days after planting. The root growth is high between 150 and 200 days when root alkaloids are maximum. At picking, a few lower leaves are left over the plants to allow continued growth, whereas root is uprooted at maturity after giving a light irrigation.

The foliage contain 0.003–0.004% VLB alkaloid. The crop is dried in shade for 7–10 days, frequently turning it all over to avoid mould formation. The foliage, stem and roots lose 80, 70 and 60% of moisture respectively during drying. Root is cut into 15–20cm pieces before drying. The dry roots are wrapped in gunny bags and stored in a cool, dry, ventilated godown up to 1–2 years. On an average, a leaf yield of 14q/ha together with 4q/ha of roots and basal stems are obtained from irrigated crop. Rainfed crop produces 1 tonne/ha of foliage and 2–2.5q/ha of root and basal stems.

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 90
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Ebenales
Family
:
Ebenaceae
Genus
:
Diospyros
 

P ersimmon ( Diospyros kaki ) is considered as the national fruit of Japan. In India, persimmon was introduced by the European settlers somewhere in 1921. At present it is being grown on a limited scale in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh and parts of eastern India. No organized cultivation of this fruit has yet been undertaken in India but with the diversification in fruit culture, its cultivation is gaining importance and more areas are being opened for its cultivation.

There are several problems which have limited the commercial cultivation of persimmon. While there is limited but loyal public buying persimmon, there are those who have tried the fruit for the first time and found it hard, astringent and puckery. Also, the growers have planted small acreages of numerous cultivars, which are not suited for marketing. The growers also face the problem of poor setting or heavy dropping of young fruits due to inadequate cultural knowledge resulting in poor returns. The growers or consumers also do not have sufficient knowledge regarding the fruit maturity, i.e. when to harvest and consume the fruit. If the above difficulties could be overcome, growing demand for this fruit undoubtedly could be fulfilled.

   
Climate and soil  

Persimmon can be grown in a wide range of subtropical and warm temperate climate. It is a monoecious tree and grows up to a height of about 15m. The trees are deciduous and enter a rest period and complete their dormancy in the middle of February in India. Temperature 8°–11°C for 888 hr is enough to complete dormancy. The trees, when dormant, can tolerate fairly low minimum temperature with some cultivars surviving temperature as low as –15°C. However, freezing damage may occur in some seasons with alternating warm-cold cycles. Non-astringent cultivars require warmer conditions for fruit maturation than the astringent types. The best fruit quality in the non-astringent cultivars is produced in the regions where an average temperature during autumn season is between 16° and 22°C and the amount of sunshine recorded during the growing season exceeds 1,400hr.

During the maturation period, temperature is the most important factor for obtaining quality fruits. If non-astringent cultivars are grown under cooler conditions, the fruits may not loose their astringency completely by the time they reach maturity, fail to mature properly and have low sugar content. The percentage of reducing sugars decreases at high temperature and increases at lower one. Fruit production in the warmer area has better colour and sweetness. In general, non-astringent varieties are more suitable for warmer areas and astringent varieties for cooler areas. The main sugars present in the flesh of mature fruit are fructose and glucose, the total amount being more than 90% of the total sugars. At the harvest, a minimum Brix between 14° and 16°C is required.

Although persimmon can grow on a wide range of soil types, it performs best on well-drained, lighter soils, which have a good subsoil containing some clay. Yield is reduced on heavy alluvial soils due to increased fruit drop. The soil pH for optimum growth is 6.0–6.8.

 
Varieties

The Japanese persimmon has at least 1,000 varieties which show wide variations in size, shape and colour. These are broadly classified into 2 major groups—non-astringent and astringent. Both the groups have been divided into 2 sub-groups, based on their response to pollination—(PVNA), Astringent and pollination constant (PCNA). Non-astringent and pollination constant (PCNA), non-astringent and pollination variant (PVNA), Astringent and pollination constant (PCA) and Astringent and pollination variant (PVA) varieties. Non-astringent varieties are consumed fresh but astringent varieties are edible only after removal of tannin-based astringency or as dried fruits. Astringency can also be removed by various chemical treatments. In pollination variant, non-astringent types, the soluble tannins disappear after pollination if enough seeds (usually 4–5) are formed. However, if only one or two seeds are formed, some parts of the fruit remain astringent. In pollination constant, non-astringent types, fruit is edible when the flesh is firm but mature, regardless of whether or no pollination has occurred.

Non-astringent cultivars

Not all the Oriental persimmons are astringent when firm. Cultivars which have dark coloured flesh are usually sweet and non-astringent, and may be eaten before they become soft. Most of the persimmon cultivars have originated in Japan. Breeding and selection from within seedling populations have also occurred in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. Over 40 non-astringent cultivars or selections are now being evaluated in various countries. Only one non-astringent cultivar, Fuyu, is grown in subtropical climate. This has reddish, flesh flattended, sweet and mellow and does not attain the size of Hachiya. Several strains of Fuyu exist which show differences in fruit shape and size and tree growth characteristics. Other non-astringent cultivars of persimmon grown in different parts of the world are Izu, Maekawa Jiro, Ichikikei Jiro, Jiro, Matsumoto Wase Fuyu, Hana Fuyu, Suruga, Fuyu Hana and 20th century.

In Japan, most popular non-astringent cultivars grown are Fuyu and Jiro covering about 50% of the area. In Italy, Fuyu, Suruga, O Gosho, Hana Fuyu, Jiro and Kawabata are most promising non-astringent cultivars. In Florida, most important non-astringent cultivars are Ichikikei Jiro, Fuyu and Jiro. In California, most promising cultivars are Fuyu, Hana Fuyu, and Twenteeth Century.

Astringent cultivars

Hachiya is astringent cultivar grown in India. This is a leading commercial cultivar of California. It is usually seedless but may also contain one or two seeds. The fruits are oblong, conic, apex rounded, terminating in a black point; skin glossy, deep orange-red; flesh deep yellow, astringent until soft, rich and sweet when ripe. The fruits ripen as well off the tree as on the tree. In Australia, the most popular astringent cultivars grown are Nightingale and Flat Seedless. Triumph is the most important astringent cultivar grown in Israel. Fruits of this cultivar are treated with carbon dioxide at maturity to remove astringency. The most promising astringent cultivars grown in Florida are Giombo, Tanenashi, Eurella and Sheng. In Italy, most promising astringent cultivars are Hiratanenashi, Aizumishirazu, Amankaki, Kakitipo. The most important astringent cultivar of persimmon in Japan is Hiratanenashi. In Himachal Pradesh, the important varieties grown are Fuyu, Jiro, Hachiya and Hyakuma.

   
Propagation

Propagation is done by grafting the scion on seedling rootstocks, using the whip-graft for smaller diameter stocks and the cleft and veneer grafting on the larger stock. It is better to replant with young stock rather than top-work old trees. In India, Diospyros lotus is used as the rootstock. The fruits of D. lotus ripen during late-October. On ripening, the fruits become soft and should be pulped and fermented for about a week. After all the flesh is fermented from the seed, the seeds are washed thoroughly and the floaters are discarded. Improved germination of D. kaki, D. lotus and D. virginiana seeds has been reported after stratification for 60–90 days. In Australia, seed germination of D. kalvi has been reported to be high when extracted from soft but non-decomposed fruit, and planted immediately and no stratification is necessary. The best seed germination is obtained at 28°C. The seeds at this temperature take about 2–3 weeks to germinate. Young seedlings usually take a year to be of a suitable size for grafting.

Scion cultivars can either be grafted or budded with a success rate of 80%. Veneer grafting is generally more successful than budding and should be carried out in September with the start of sap movement. Tongue grafting is also done with a success rate of 60–65%. Green grafting in summer has also been successful in New Zealand. Timing of vegetative propagation varies with location and climate. T-budding is suitable, provided the buds are taken from mature wood. Budding may be carried out in spring or early-autumn.

Three rootstock species have been used for propagation of Japanese persimmon. These are D. kaki, D. lotus and D. virginiana . There appear to be some incompatiablity problems between D. lotus and some pollination constant non-astringent cultivars, such as Fuyu. The D. lotus also appears more susceptible to crown gall. The D. virginiana is used as rootstock for Japanese persimmon in Israel and USA. It is particularly well adapted to damp heavy soils and very cold hardy conditions. However, D. virginiana often suckers badly and trees on this rootstocks are not always uniform in size and vigour. It is also highly susceptible to cephalosporium wilt. For these reasons, D. kaki is preferred to D. lotus and D. Virginiana as rootstock for persimmon. In Japan, Saijo produces very uniform seedlings and is extensively used as rootstock.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

In India, winter planting during January–February is recommended when trees are dormant. Planting after bud break generally results in poor survival. The trees are transplanted at a distance 5.5–6.0m. The pits of 1m × 1m × 1m are dug. Well-rotten farmyard manure is mixed while filling the pits in the same manner used for other deciduous trees. At the time of planting, the bud union should be kept 75 mm above the ground level. A stake should be provided to keep the plants straight. The young plants should be protected from frost by providing shelter such as thatching of dry grass.

The planting density for persimmon depends on cultivar, rootstock and soil type. Dwarfing cultivars (Ichkikei Jiro) can be closely planted at 5m × 2.5m (800 trees/ha), semi-dwarf cultivars Fuyu at 5m × 3m (660 trees/ha) and vigorous cultivars at 6m × 4.5m (370 trees/ha).

Training and pruning

The trees should be trained to form a low head. To acheive this, the plants are headed back at 60 cm from the ground at the time of planting to develop a frame- work of strong branches. Cultivars differ markedly in vigour and growth habit. Some cultivars are dwarf and highly precocious, whereas others are vigorous, upright and late producers. The dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars are best trained to a modified central leader system. The more vigorous, upright, narrow crotch angle types should be trained to a vase or palmette system. The pruning is done during winter when the trees are dormant in January. Since flowers of D. kaki are borne on current season's wood, heavy pruning reduces crop setting by forcing excessive vegetative growth. Summer pruning of mature trees may thicken laterals and increase fruit size and colour. With more vigorous and less precocious cultivars, techniques such as cincturing and limb spreading may be beneficial to achieve higher and earlier fruit production. In case of grown-up trees, practically no pruning is done except for removing weak, interfering, discarded or insect damaged shoots and branches.

Manuring and fertilization

Persimmon does not require high fertilizer doses. However, relatively high amount of K and rather low amount of P are required. A large amount of K is transferred to the fruit during its growth; and if K supply is low, fruit growth is reduced. On the other hand, excessively high K content leads to rough skin and lower fruit quality. Rates of fertilizers need to be adjusted according to cultivar, crop load and leaf nutrient levels. Young trees up to 3 years of age require an application of complete fertilizer (11:4:14) before bud-break and 3–4 lighter follow-up applications of urea at monthly intervals at the peak growing period. Once trees begin cropping, an application of complete fertilizer is applied 4–6 weeks before harvesting. Leaf nutrient levels and sampling procedures for persimmons have also been established. In Japan, leaf samples of persimmon are collected about 2 months prior to harvest. The youngest fully-expanded leaves are selected from non-fruiting laterals. Leaf nutrient concentrations for the non-astringent cultivar, Fuyu, are presented in Table 1.

 

Leaf nutrient

Concentration

Nitrogen

2.22–3.15%

Phosphorus

0.12–0.16%

Potassium

1.47–3.86%

Calcium

1.01-2.78%

Magnesium

0.22–0.77%

Manganese

70–1,844 ppm

Boron

15–52 ppm

(Table 1. Nutrient concentration in leaf tissue of Fuyu)

Magnesium deficiency causes leaf tissues between veins to become gradually pale and change to yellow, and leaf drop ensues. In order to prevent Mg deficiency (soil having a strong acidic reaction), Ca should be added; foliar sprays of 2–3% MgSO 4 are also very effective. As a consequence of Mn deficiency, leaves show abnormal patterns, assume yellow colour and drop early. Foliar spray of MnSO 4 (0.3–0.5%) with addition of Ca is very effective.

Many cultivars are susceptible to fruit drop and calyx cavity if N levels are too high when fruits are sizing. Nitrogen levels should be reduced if these problems are evident.

Aftercare

After planting, young plants need a continuous care for their survival. The plants need staking to keep them in a straight position which helps in selecting the well-spaced laterals in the coming growing season. Watering at 7–10 days interval is essential. The plant basins are kept free of weeds. During hot summers, when the evapotranspiration rate is high, the plants require mulching with dry grass/dry leaves. Mulching needs to be done in the first week of March. During pre-bearing stage, more emphasis is required to be given on training, since the pruning requirements of the tree are very low compared to other deciduous fruits. No growth on scion or below the graft union should be encouraged.

Irrigation

Irrigation is considered essential for the successful production of persimmon. Dry periods during fruit growth reduce the size, quality and number of fruits carried to maturity. The early summer period is most important in determining the yield and quality of fruits. High levels of soil moisture are required for better leaf growth and flowering. Moisture deficiency during early summer may increase fruit drop.

The maximum water use by the plant is in mid-summer due to high evaporation. The irrigation is very essential during dry summers to maintain uniform soil moisture.

The water requirements of plants start decreasing during fruit maturity, although good soil water status is still necessary. Moisture stress during this period can cause premature leaf drop, reduction in sugar levels in maturing fruits and increasing susceptibility to sunburn. Line cracking of fruits may also develop due to water stress at this stage. Irrigation on a regular schedule should be applied to maintain uniform levels of moisture in the soil.

Persimmon like other deciduous plants sheds its leaves during winter and enters in dormancy period. Creation of water stress to achieve dormancy is not necessary. Once the harvesting is over, irrigation can be reduced. Before the trees enter into dormancy, one irrigation is essential to keep trees healthy during dormancy period. The young plants at the time of planting require watering at 8–10 days intervals.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Persimmon fruits are harvested when they have attained yellow to reddish colour but are still firm. The fruits are clipped from the tree which shears leaving the calyx attached to the fruit together with a short stem. More care is needed to avoid bruising. Persimmon fruits mature in mid-September, although the period of maturity varies among the different varieties. If fruits are harvested too early, they develop poor colour, sweetness and flavour. Fruits after harvesting should be wrapped individually in paper and packed in a single layer crate. Persimmons soften at room temperature. Ripe persimmons are delicious. Flesh is sweet and jelly like. As persimmons are delicate, it is essential to minimize handling as much as possible. Brix level at maturity in different varieties varies between 14° and 17°C.

The persimmon trees start bearing 4–5 years after planting. However, dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars start bearing 2–3 years after planting. Mature trees of Fuyu are capable of producing 50 kg fruit/plant. Jiro cultivar has recorded over 80 kg/plant, whereas in the Hachiya, the yield is over 100 kg/plant. The decrease in astringency during growth and maturation of astringent cultivars and disappearance of astringency from non-astringent varieties are most striking. This reflects in the tannin content of fruits. Various methods have been suggested to remove the astringency from the astringent cultivars, however, most of these result in partial softening of fruits. Treatment of the fruit with carbon dioxide has been the most successfully developed technique till date. Dipping of fruits in 500 ppm Ethephon solution for 2 minutes helps in removing the astringency in cultivar Hachiya and the fruits are ready for consumption within 2–3 days of storage. The persimmons are also allowed to sweeten naturally after harvesting from the plants at room temperature, although they can be held in firm condition for 2–3 months at 30°–32°C and 85–90% relative humidity. Average freezing point of flesh is 28.2°C.

Persimmons are graded by size and quality. During grading and packing, handling should be kept minimum to avoid bruising. The most popular packages for persimmons are single layer trays commonly used for stone fruits.

So far, there is no specific market in India. The fruits are marketed to the local markets from where they are sent to distant markets. Fruits to be shipped should be well shaped, plump, smooth, highly coloured with unbroken skin and with stem cap attahced. The fruits should be displayed in a single layer at the sales counter, nested in a wrapping paper to avoid bruising.

   
Physiological Disorders

Persimmon fruits are harvested when they have attained yellow to reddish colour but are still firm. The fruits are clipped from the tree which shears leaving the calyx attached to the fruit together with a short stem. More care is needed to avoid bruising. Persimmon fruits mature in mid-September, although the period of maturity varies among the different varieties. If fruits are harvested too early, they develop poor colour, sweetness and flavour. Fruits after harvesting should be wrapped individually in paper and packed in a single layer crate. Persimmons soften at room temperature. Ripe persimmons are delicious. Flesh is sweet and jelly like. As persimmons are delicate, it is essential to minimize handling as much as possible. Brix level at maturity in different varieties varies between 14° and 17°C.

The persimmon trees start bearing 4–5 years after planting. However, dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars start bearing 2–3 years after planting. Mature trees of Fuyu are capable of producing 50 kg fruit/plant. Jiro cultivar has recorded over 80 kg/plant, whereas in the Hachiya, the yield is over 100 kg/plant. The decrease in astringency during growth and maturation of astringent cultivars and disappearance of astringency from non-astringent varieties are most striking. This reflects in the tannin content of fruits. Various methods have been suggested to remove the astringency from the astringent cultivars, however, most of these result in partial softening of fruits. Treatment of the fruit with carbon dioxide has been the most successfully developed technique till date. Dipping of fruits in 500 ppm Ethephon solution for 2 minutes helps in removing the astringency in cultivar Hachiya and the fruits are ready for consumption within 2–3 days of storage. The persimmons are also allowed to sweeten naturally after harvesting from the plants at room temperature, although they can be held in firm condition for 2–3 months at 30°–32°C and 85–90% relative humidity. Average freezing point of flesh is 28.2°C.

Persimmons are graded by size and quality. During grading and packing, handling should be kept minimum to avoid bruising. The most popular packages for persimmons are single layer trays commonly used for stone fruits.

So far, there is no specific market in India. The fruits are marketed to the local markets from where they are sent to distant markets. Fruits to be shipped should be well shaped, plump, smooth, highly coloured with unbroken skin and with stem cap attahced. The fruits should be displayed in a single layer at the sales counter, nested in a wrapping paper to avoid bruising.

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Malvales
Family
:
Tiliaceae
Genus
:
Grewia
 
Phalsa, a subtropical fruit, is native to India. It is commercially grown in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bihar. Its cultivation is favoured around big cities where fruits find a ready and quick sale. It has a poor keeping quality. It is also grown as an intercrop with mango, aonla, bael and ber. Phalsa is bushy plant which can grow into a tree if left unpruned. It is very hardy, and tolerant to drought. It bears many small berry-like fruits of deep reddish-brown colour. Ripe fruits are sub-acidic in taste and a rich source of vitamins (A and C) and minerals (phosphorus and iron). Its medicinal qualities are known since vedic times. The fruits are somewhat astringent and have a cooling effect. They help cure inflammation, heart and blood disorders, fever and constipation.
   
Climate and soil  

Phalsa being a hardy plant, can withstand drought and can be grown under adverse climatic conditions. It requires distinct winter and summer for better yield and fruit quality. The plants can tolerate even a temperature of 45°C and freezing temperature for a few days. High temperature helps in ripening of fruits. Rains at the time of flowering affect fruit set and crop yield.

Phalsa can be grown on a wide variety of soils even on moderately sodic soils. It grows well in well-drained, loamy soils. The plant is sensitive to water-logging which makes it chlorotic.Iron chlorosis is a common problem in calcareous soils.

 
Varieties

There is no improved variety of phalsa. Some local selections—Local and Sharbati—are popular. Two distinct types Tall and Dwarf have been recognized. Dwarf type is commonly grown. It is quite productive.

Propagation

Phalsa is commercially raised through seeds since there is no variability. Propagation by cuttings (hard wood) and layers is also possible with the help of growth-regulators (IBA 2,500–3,000ppm.). Freshly extracted seeds can be stored up to 3 months at ordinary storage and up to 6 months under cold storage. Seeds can be better stored in polythene bags than glass jars.

The seeds are sown in well-prepared nursery beds, 6cm apart and in rows 30cm apart. July–August is ideal time for sowing. Seeds germinate in 2 weeks. The seedlings are ready for transplanting in January–February.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Phalsa plants can be planted at a distance of 2.5–3.0m from plant-to-plant and 3–4m from row-to-row. Phalsa is well-suited for close planting. The yield may be increased by increasing the plant density. The plants can be planted at 2m × 2m apart in a square system, accommodating 250 plants/ha. Pits of 60cm × 60cm × 60cm size are filled with top soil and farmyard manure(10kg/pit). Plants can be planted in January–February or in July–August. February is ideal time for planting if season is good for lifting the plants with bare roots.

Training and pruning

Phalsa plant is allowed to develop as a bush hence no initial training is practised. Pruning is an essential annual operation for obtaining better quality fruits. Both severe (cutting closure to ground level) and very light pruning affect the crop yield. The desirable height of pruning varies from 50–100cm from the ground level. In north India, plants shed their leaves slowly after the middle of winter (December–January) and they should be pruned at this stage.In south India, plants are allowed to grow taller and light pruning is done. Pruned phalsa canes can be utilized for making of baskets to transport fruits and vegetables and as stakes for support of vegetables or fruit plants.

Manuring and fertilization

Being a hardy crop, phalsa is hardly fertilized. The fruits are borne on new growth hence application of fertilizer definitely encourages vegetative growth. In Punjab, application of 1kg N/ plant is ideal, whereas for Haryana, 15kg farmyard manure if applied after pruning followed by 25kg N/ plant after sprouting is optimum for high yield. In Rajasthan, application of N, P, K, at 100, 40 and 25kg/ha respectively give higher yield. In Uttar Pradesh, 50:25:25g N, P and K/plant is better for yield and fruit quality. Of the micronutrents, Zn and Fe are beneficial for juice content and berry size. Spraying of ZnSo 4 (0.5%) and FeSo 4 (0.4%) can be done at prebloom and post-bloom stages.

Irrigation

Phalsa is a drought resistant tolerant crop but irrigation is essential for high yield of quality fruits. First irrigation is needed in February after application of fertilizers. Irrigation during summer (March–April) at 2–3 weeks interval is desirable.

Aftercare

Phalsa plants do not require any staking normally. Some growers practise green manuring with moong or cowpea in early years of plantation.One ploughing after pruning of plant is necessary to control weeds.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Phalsa fruits begin to ripe in hot summer during March–April in south and May-end in north India. Fruits are small-sized and ripen over a period of about a month. Therefore a number of pickings are required at 2–3 days intervals which are very expensive. Preharvest application of Ethephon or Etherel (500ppm) when few fruits start to change their colour reduces the number of pickings from 7 to 3 and improves fruit quality in terms of total soluble solids, vitamin C content and colour development due to an increase in anthocyanin pigment.

Fruits should be picked at right stage of maturity. Phalsa fruits become fully mature 55 days after fruit set. Maturity is judged by colour. The ground colour which is green in the beginning should be turning red. Fruits should neither be under-ripe nor over-ripe. It should be firm at the time of ripening. Fruits for storage and transport should be harvested at colour turning stage, whereas for local market they should be harvested at red ripe stage. Fruits are individually picked by hand and collected in bamboo/pigeonpea/plant baskets cushioned with polythene sheet or newspaper cuttings. On an average a mature plant provides 2–4kg of fruits.

Phalsa is the most perishable fruit. Therefore it must be constantly protected during handling. No management programme can improve the quality of phalsa after it is harvested, but careful management can prevent loss of quality. Physical injuries—bruising,skin punctures and cuts caused by rough handling—can be avoided. Injured areas on fruits may serve as points of entry for rot-causing organisms. At normal field temperature, physiological activity is so high that fruit begins to destroy itself soon after harvesting. Therefore, prompt cooling of fruits is essential if the potential shelf-life of phalsa is to be realised.Grading is not practised in phalsa. It can be graded according to size (large and small) and colour(turning stage and red ripe stage). Fruits (2–4kg) should be packed in bamboo or mulbery baskets cushioned with gunny cloth or paper cuttings for distant markets. Hard board corrugated boxes can also be used for packing.

Pre-packaging of fruits can be done for local sale. For this fruits can be prepacked in leaf cup and covered with perforated polythene bag for local sale. Handling of fruits during transit from market to home is easier and also causes less damage as compared with conventional prepacking in green leaf.

Storage life of fruits depends upon the stage of harvest. Fruits harvested at turning stage can be stored for 2–3 days at room temperature and about 7 days in cold store at 7°C. Fruits harvested at red ripe stage can be stored only for a day, hence, they are marketed immediately in local markets. Fruits can be processed into quality  beverages—ready-to-serve, nectar, squash and syrup.

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Chromosome Number: 50
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Poales
Family
:
Bromeliaceae
Genus
:
Ananas
 

Pineapple is an important fruit crop in India. Originated in Brazil, it has spread to other tropical parts of the world. A good source of vitamins A and B, pineapple is fairly rich in vitamins C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. It is also a source of bromelin, a digestive enzyme.

The cultivation of pineapple is confined to high rainfall and humid coastal regions in the peninsular India and hilly areas of north-eastern region of the country. It can also be grown commercially in the interior plains with medium rainfall and supplementary protective irrigations. At present pineapple is grown commercially in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa, and on a small scale in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

   
Climate and soil  

The pineapple is a crop of humid tropics. The fruit grows well near the sea coast as well as in the interior, so long as the temperatures are not extreme. The optimum temperature for successful cultivation is 22°–32°C. Leaves and roots grow best at 32°C and 29°C respectively. Their growth ceases below 20°C and above 36°C. A high temperature at night is deleterious and a difference of at least 4°C between day and night temperature is desirable. It can be grown up to 1,100m above mean sea-level, if the area is frost-free. Although optimum annual rainfall for its commercial cultivation is 100–150cm, it grows remarkably well under a wide range of rainfall. In areas where the rainfall is less, supplementary protective irrigations are necessary during dry season.

The plants come up well in any type of soil except on very heavy clay soil. Sandy loam soils are ideal. The soil should be 45–60cm in depth without hard pan or stones. Low-lying areas with high watertable should be avoided. The plants prefer a soil pH of 5.0–6.0.

 
Varieties

Kew

It is a leading commercial variety valued particularly for canning. Its fruits are big-sized (1.5–2.5kg), oblong and tapering slightly towards the crown. The fruit with broad and shallow eyes becomes yellow when fully ripe. The flesh is light yellow, almost fibreless and very juicy. The leaves often have a short sector of small margin of spines just behind the tip, and irregularly on the base near its attachment to the stem.

Giant Kew

Cultivated in certain regions of West Bengal, it is synonymous to Kew except the size of plant and fruit which are larger than Kew as the name signifies.

Charlotte Rothchild

It is partially cultivated in Kerala and Goa. The fruit is similar in taste and other characters to that of Kew.

Queen

Widely grown in Tripura, and partly in Assam and Meghalaya, its fruits are rich yellow in colour, weighing 0.9–1.3kg each. The flesh is deep golden-yellow, less juicy than Kew, crisp textured with a pleasant aroma and flavour. Eyes are small and deep, requiring a thicker cut when removing the skin. The leaves are brownish-red, shorter and very spiny.

Mauritious

A mid-season variety of the Queen group, it is grown in some parts of Kerala. Medium in size, its fruits are deep yellow and red. Yellow fruits are oblong, fibrous and medium sweet compared with red ones. This is ideal for table purposes.

Jaldhup and Lakhat

These are 2 indigenous types grown in Assam, both being named after the place of their production. Both are under Queen group with fruits smaller than Queen. Lakhat is markedly sour in taste, whereas Jaldhup has its sweetness well- blended with acidity. The fruits of Jaldhup again have a characteristic alcoholic flavour of their own and can be easily distinguished from other fruits of the Queen group on the basis of this character alone.

   
Propagation

The performance of the plant depends on vigour, growth rate, time taken for bearing, fruit size and quality of planting material. Besides type and size of plant material also results in variation in the performance of plants. If planting material of different types and sizes is used, it results in poor rate of plant establishment, uneven growth of the plants, uneven flowering and harvesting stretched over a long time. Uniform cultural operations cannot be taken up. Ultimately plant-wise operations are to be followed resulting in increased cost of production. In a mixed planting, a few plants flower while others become ready for harvesting, posing problems for getting good uniform ratoon crops also. Therefore, it is always advisable to use uniform-sized material of monotype. Hence, selection of right type and size of planting material is essential for commercial plantings.

In suckers and slips, larger planting material results in more vigorous plants. Of the types and sizes of propagules tried, slips and suckers weighing about 350 and 450g respectively are ideal for higher yield with better produce. For Coorg (Karnataka) and Jorhat (Assam) suckers and slips weighing 501–750g and 301–400g are ideal planting material. Suckers weighing 501–1000g is the best material for Thrissur (Kerala). In case of non-availability of slips, suckers weighing about 500g are ideal. If sufficient suckers are not available, slips weighing about 350g are best.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Time of planting is dictated by the season in which the first plant crop is required. Planting time is very important for natural flowering period, which differs from region-to-region. By the time of natural flowering, if the plant does not attain the optimum physiological maturity, either it escapes flowering the next season or if flowering is induced in the same season, the plant, bear very small fruits. Hence, the ideal time of planting is 12–15 months before the peak flowering season under natural conditions, which varies from December to March in different regions. Time of planting also varies from place-to-place depending upon the time of onset of the monsoon and the intensity of its precipitation. In Assam, planting should be done during August–October, while in Kerala and Karnataka, the best time of planting is April–June. Delaying in planting as late as September, delays crop at least by 7–9 months. The peak flowering under these conditions comes during January–March. The ideal time for planting in north West Bengal is October–November and June–July for other parts.

System of planting varies according to land and rainfall. There are 4 planting systems—flat-bed, furrow, contour and trench.

Plant density of pineapple depends on growth of the plant and system of planting. Adoption of low-planting densities has been the major constraint in India, contributing to high cost of production. The plant density of 63,400 plants/ha (22.5cm × 60cm × 75cm) is ideal for subtropical and mild humid conditions, whereas for hot and humid conditions a plant density of 53,300 plants/ha spaced at 25cm from plant-to-plant within a row, 60cm from row-to-row and 90cm from trench-to-trench (25cm × 60cm × 90cm) provides high yield. In rainfed, high fertile and hilly areas in north-eastern states, a plant density of 43,500 plants/ha spaced at 30cm × 60cm × 90cm is recommended. The yield of 70–105 tonnes/ha may be obtained under high-density planting, the increase in yield/unit area being 45–85 tonnes/ha. Adoption of high-density planting does not have much adverse effect on fruit size, quality and canning recovery. Less weed infestation, protection of fruits from sun-burn, increased production of propagules (suckers and slips)/unit area and non-lodging of plants are added advantages of high-density planting.

Manuring and fertilization

Pineapple is a shallow feeder with high N and K requirement. Since these nutrients are prone to heavy losses in soils, practices relating to time of application and form of fertilizer determine their efficient use.

Application of 12g N/plant for Kew pineapple is ideal to obtain high yield at Bangalore, Chethalli (Karnataka) and Thrissur (Kerala). A dose of N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O at 12, 4 and 12g/plant/year respectively is optimum under Jorhat conditions. No response to P application has been observed. However, in the ratoon crop 4g P 2 O 5 /plant increases fruit weight and yield. Plants receiving 12 g K 2 O/plant/crop give higher yield without any adverse effect on fruit quality both under irrigated and rainfed conditions. For medium-fertile soils in West Bengal, N (12–16g), P 2 O 5 , (2–4g) and K 2 O (10–12g)/plant are optimum.

It is thus advisable to apply N and K 2 O each @ 12g/plant. There is no need for P application. However, if the soils are poor in P, 4g P 2 O 5 /plant can be applied. The N should be applied in 6 split doses. The first dose of N can be given 2 months after planting and the last one 12 months after planting. The K should be given in 2 split doses. Entire P and half of K can be given at the time of planting and the remaining K 6 months after planting. Application of fertilizer under rainfed conditions should be done when moisture is available.

Interculture

Earthing up: This is an essential operation in pineapple cultivation aimed at good anchorage to the plants. It involves pushing the soil into the trench from the ridge where trench planting is a common practice. As its roots are very shallow, the plants are eventually lodged especially under flat-bed planting in heavy rainfall areas. Lodging of plants at the time of fruit development results in lopsided growth, uneven development and ripening of fruits. It is more important in ratoon crop as the base of ratoon plants shifts up, crop after crop. High-density planting minimizes its necessity as the plants prop each other preventing lodging.

Weed control: Weeds could be effectively and economically controlled by application of Diuron (3 kg/ha) or a combination of Bromacil + Diuron @ 2kg/ha each as pre-emergent spray and repeated with half of the dose, 5 months after first application. The quantity of each herbicide should be mixed in 1,000 litres of water for a hectare of crop.

Mulching: It is essential to conserve soil moisture. Though mulching is not a common practice in India, use of dry leaves or straw is in practice in south India. Mulching with black polythene and saw-dust results in better growth of plants than white polythene and paddy-straw.

Removal of suckers, slips and crowns: Suckers start growing with the emergence of inflorescence, whereas slips grow with the developing fruits. The fruit weight increases with increasing number of suckers/plant, while the increased number of slips delay fruit maturity. Crown size has no bearing on the fruit weight or quality. Hence desuckering can be delayed as much as possible, while the slips are recommended to be removed as soon as they attain the size required for planting. Removal of crown is not required as it mars the appeal of the fruit and also makes handling difficult. Partial pinching of crown consisting of the removal of the innermost whorl of leaflets along with growing tips 45 days after fruit set is ideal to get fruits of better size and shape.

Irrigation

Although pineapple is cultivated mostly under rainfed conditions, supplementary irrigation can help produce good-sized fruits in areas having optimum rainfall. Irrigation can also help establish an off-season planting to maintain its year-round production. In scanty rainfall and during hot weather irrigating pineapple once in 20–25 days is advisable.

Use of growth regulators

Application of NAA and NAA-based compounds—Planofix and Celemone @10–20ppm -induces flowering in pineapple. However, variability in induction of flowering from season-to-season and low effectiveness of this plant growth regulator during unfavourable weather are the main factors which have made NAA less dependable. Flowering in pineapple Kew could be induced with the application of Ethephon or ethrel (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) (100ppm). The concentration of Ethephon could be reduced to 25ppm by combining it with 2% urea and 0.04% sodium carbonate. The concentration may further be reduced to 10ppm in combination with urea (2%) and sodium carbonate (0.04%). However, the latter treatment is effective only during January–May. The application of 50ml solution/plant containing calcium carbide (20g/litre) or Ethrel (0.25ml/litre) causes flower induction. Flower induction should be done when the plants attain at least 35–40 functional leaves, so that the plants produce fruits of normal size.

Application of NAA (200–300ppm) 2–3 months after fruit set increases 15–20% fruit size. To get the year-round availability of pineapple, it should be planted at regular intervals round the year. Using suckers and slips of different sizes and crowns as planting material and applying flower-inducing chemicals also provide its availability round the year.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Pineapple plants flower 10–12 months after planting and fruits become ready 15–18 months after planting. Irregular flowering results in the harvesting spread over a long period. Under natural conditions, pineapple comes to harvest during May–August. Fruits which mature in winter are acidic. There is a scope of altering fruit size and maturation with the use of chemicals or plant growth regulators.

With a slight colour change at the base of developing fruits, it could be harvested for canning purpose. But for table purpose, the fruits could be retained till they develop golden yellow colour. The fruits with the crown, can be kept without damage for 10–15 days after harvesting.

Ratooning in high-density planting reveals that the average fruit weight in the first and second ratoon is 88% and 79% respectively of the plant crop. The plant stand is also reduced resulting in the reduction of fruit yield by 49.3 and

46.2% in first and second ratoon crops respectively. Prolonged ratooning results in the reduction of flowering plants, consumer appeal of the fruit, fruit size and number of fruits suitable for canning, but in the increase of fasciated fruits. It is also not possible to prevent the reduction of fruit yield in ratoon crop by increasing the irrigation or by higher doses of nitrogenous fertilizers.

   
Physiological Disorders

Ordinarily pineapple fruit bears a single crown but in some cases a fruit bears more than one, even up to 25 crowns. Consequently, the top of the fruits become flat and broad, and become unfit for canning. Such fruits also taste insipid since they are more corky. It is supposed to be heritable character, found mostly in Cayenne group to which Kew belongs.

In fruit and crown fasciation, fruits become totally useless. Sometimes fruits are highly flattened and twisted with innumerable crowns. Fruit and crown fasciation is associated with high vigour of the plants. Such plants take longer time to flower than the normal ones. High fertility of soil and warm weather, where the conditions are highly congenial for vigorous vegetative growth may favour the fasciation. The incidence of fasciation increases with advancing ratoons.

The collar of slips is typified by the presence of a large number of slips arising from the stem close to the base of the fruit or even directly from the fruit itself. The excessive slip growth is at the expense of the fruit, resulting in small, tampered fruits, often with knobs at the base. High nitrogen fertilization and rainfall along with relatively low temperature are congenial for this abnormality.

Nutritional Value
 
Usage

Food

 

Fresh: Field ripe fruits are best for eating fresh, and it is only necessary to remove the crown, rind, eyes and core. The flesh of fruits is cut up in various ways and eaten fresh, as dessert, in salads, compotes or cooked in pies, cakes, puddings, as a garnish on ham, made into sauces or preserves. Southeast Asians use the pineapple in curries and various meat and seafood dishes.

In Africa, young, tender shoots are eaten in salads. The terminal bud or "cabbage" and the inflorescences are eaten raw or cooked. Young shoots, called "hijos de pina" are sold on vegetable markets in Guatemala.

Pineapple juice is taken as a diuretic and to expedite labour, also as a gargle in cases of sore throat and as an antidote for seasickness.

Processed: In the Philippines, the fermented pulp is made into a popular sweetmeat called nata de pina. The pineapple does not lend itself well to freezing, as it tends to develop off flavours.

Canned pineapple is consumed throughout the world. The highest grade is the skinned, cored fruit sliced crosswise and packed in syrup. Undersize or overripe fruits are cut into "spears", chunks or cubes.

Crushed pineapple, juice, nectar, concentrate, marmalade and other preserves are commercially prepared from the flesh remaining attached to the skin after the cutting and trimming of the central cylinder. There is a growing demand for pineapple juice as a beverage. All residual parts cores, skin and fruit ends are crushed and given a first pressing for juice to be canned as such or prepared as syrup used to fill the cans of fruit, or is utilised in confectionery and beverages, or converted into powdered pineapple extract which has various roles in the food industry. A second pressing yields "skin juice" which can be made into vinegar or mixed with molasses for fermentation and distillation of alcohol.

 

Non-food

 

Industrial: Bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme, is derived from pineapple juice. It is used to tenderise meat and chill-proof beer. Bromelain is also used in industry for stabilising latex paint and tanning leather.

Fibre: Pineapple leaves yield a strong, white, silky fiber which was extracted by Filipinos before 1591. The 'Perolera' is an ideal cultivar for fiber extraction because its leaves are long, wide and rigid. The fibre is used as thread, coarse textiles resembling grass cloth, for stringing jewellery, fine casting nets and as fabric made into clothing. Pina cloth made from pineapple fibres are highly priced in the Philippines .

Folk Medicine: The flesh of very young (toxic) fruits is deliberately ingested to achieve abortion; also to expel intestinal worms; and as a drastic treatment for venereal diseases. In Africa the dried, powdered root is a remedy for oedema. The crushed rind is applied on fractures and the rind decoction with rosemary is applied on hemorrhoids. Indians in Panama use the leaf juice as a purgative, emmenagogue (to induce menstruation) and vermifuge.

 
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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Piperales
Family
:
Piperaceae
Genus
:
Piper
 

Pipali or long pepper is a herbaceous, trailing dioecious plant of humid tropics. It is distributed along water courses and over shola lands in Assam, Kerala and Karnataka. The unripe fruits (female spikes) and to a smaller extent, root and thick basal stems constitute commercial produce. These are traded all over south-east Asia for their use as a stimulant, appetizer and general tonic, also included as a food aromatic. In Ayurveda and Unani medicines, it is given in bronchital asthama, insomnia, jaundice and viral hepatitis. Eaten with ginger and honey, it is given in rheumatism and as a nervine tonic. When added to food, it improves bioavailability of nutrients and body resistance. It is cultivated commerically in Akola-Amravati tract of Maharashtra, whereas small and scattered cultivation is done in foothills of Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Orissa besides humid tracts of south Gujarat, Kerala and Karnataka.

Pipali is an erect, twinning, perennial under-shrub, with slender branches trailing or twinning over support. It has thick, jointed and branched rootstock, bearing, numerous, simple, alternate, succulent broadly ovate dark green, shining leaves. The vines produce flowers almost throughout the year. The inflorescence is a spike of diocious nature. The female spikes have short and thick stalk 1.5–2.5cm long and 0.5–0.7cm thick, whereas male spikes are elongate and withers early. The unripe female spikes are collected, dried in sun and traded commercially.

Usually, pipali is grown in homesteads and backyards and remains in field for 5–6 years. It is economical to maintain its crop for 3 years in a commercial plantation. It can easily grow under coconut and arecanut (irrigated) orchards. A variety Visham, producing an average of 20 branches and 120 spikes/bush, is high-yielding in humid tract.

Its crop is raised from 3–5 noded rooted stem-cuttings planted in nursery beds during early rainy season in Assam and Kerala (April–May). It prefers rich, fertile, well-drained, acidic organic soils going up to 1,000m elevation. It demands long, humid conditions in high rainfall areas (160–200cm) and prefers partial shady locations. The soil of nursery bed is well worked out. Add Aldrin (10%) to protect its roots from mealy bug. Irrigation is given on alternate days if there is no rain. The planted stems establish rooting in a fortnight and rooted plants are ready for field planting in next 2 months. The fields are given 20 tonnes of well-rotten farmyard manure at land preparation and raised beds preferably of 3m × 2.5m are laid out and pits made between 40cm × 40cm to 60cm × 60cm spacing for planting. The pits are filled with farmyard manure. The rooted plants are firmly fixed in soil during monsoon rains, leaving a small water channel in field to drain off excess of rain water. Gaps are filled by fresh planting from nursery stocks.

The crop demands heavy nitrogenous fertilizers. Besides organic manure and mulch are applied to the crop twice during second and third year. A dose of N, P and K of 80, 60 and 30kg/ha produces optimum yield. Weeding and hoeing are given regularly in early summer season. After manuring, earthing-up of vines is done. Weekly irrigation is recommended during dry summer; moisture stress reduces intensity of fruiting considerably. Some farmers use sprinkler irrigation with advantage. The vines come in bearing 6 months after planting (January onwards). The spikes are ready for picking after 2 months. These are gathered when full grown, firm in texture, black to tan-green in colour but are still unripe. Three to four pickings are taken in a season. If spikes are left over the plants, it loses pungency. These are dried in the open sun for several days until it has lost four-fifth of its weight due to loss of moisture. The dry produce breaks easily.

An irrigated crop produces 400kg of dry spikes in the first year and up to 1–1.3 tonnes/ha the third year, whereas rainfed crop has shorter flush of fruiting, producing 150kg in the first and 1 tonne/ha in the third year. The plants are dug out after third year. The roots and thick basal stems are separated, cut into 2–5cm pieces and dried. These are called pipalamool in trade. The spikes contain volatile oil, resin, piperine and piperlonguminine alkaloids, whereas roots and basal stems contain piperine, piperlonguminine and dihydrostigmasterol in small quantity. The dry spikes can be stored in moisture-proof containers for a few years. India is currently importing a large quantity of pipali and pipalamool from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia, where the produce is obtained from alien species and has low pungency.

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 16
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Rosales
Family
:
Rosaceae
Genus
:
Prunus
 
Plum is an important temperate fruit which is used both as fresh and in preserved form. Of the stone fruits, it ranks next to the peaches in economic importance. Two types of plum—European (P. domestica) and Japanese (P. salicina) were introduced during 1870 in Himachal Pradesh. After evaluation, only Japanese plum has been recommended for commercial cultivation in the temperate regions of the north-western Himalayas. Now it is predominantly grown in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and hills of Uttar Pradesh, and also to some extent in Nilgiri hills of south India.
   
Climate and soil  

Plum requires varying types of climates. It is grown from subtropical plains to the temperate high hills. European plums thrive best at 1,300–2,000m above mean sea-level. They require about 1,000–1,200hr below 7°C during winter to break rest period, whereas Japanese plums require 700–1,000hr chilling, which is met in midhill areas located at an elevation of 1,000–16,000m. Plums bloom early in the season thus they are prone to frost injury. The areas with frost-free spring, having good air drainage and adequate sunshine in summer are most-suited for plum cultivation. Northern slopes are generally preferred because bloom is delayed which helps the trees to escape spring frost injury. A gentle slope is preferable rather than an enclosed plain area to ensure adequate air and water drainage. For good growth and fruit production, plum requires 90–110cm well-distributed rainfall throughout the year. Prolonged drought during fruit growth and development and excessive rains during fruit maturity hamper fruit quality.

Soil depth, drainage and pH determine the suitability of soil types. Although plum can grow on a wide range of soils, deep, fertile and well-drained, loamy soil with a pH of 5.5–6.5 is most suitable. The soil should be free from hard pan, waterlogging and excessive salts. Very heavy and light soils are not suitable.

 
Varieties
There are about 280 varieties of plum available in the country, a few of them being grown commercially. Most of the varieties grown in India belong to Japanese group. However, in dry temperate zone of Himachal Pradesh, prunes are also grown.

Most of the commercial varieties of plum grown in India belong to Salicina (Japanese) group. Their fruits have a superb taste and are suitable as fresh fruit while others for processing. Important plum cultivars for plains requiring low chilling period are:

Satluj Purple

Its fruits are quite large, bright crimson with thick flesh, possessing excellent shipping quality. They ripen in the second week of May, their average yield being 30kg/tree. Since this variety is self-incompatible, it should be planted with variety Kala Amritsari.

Kala Amritsari

It is most popular cultivar grown in Punjab, its fruits are medium-sized, round and dark brown at maturity. Flesh is yellow, moderately juicy and excellent for jam-making. Self-fruitful, its yield improves if pollinated with Titron. The fruits ripen during mid-May, the average yield being 40–50kg/tree.

Titron

It is a self-fruitful variety. Its yield improves if ‘Alucha Early Round' is planted as pollinizer. Fruits are medium-sized with deep purple colour and thin skin. Since its flesh is yellow, it is excellent for jam-making. The fruits ripen in second week of May, the average yield is 25–30kg/tree.

Jamuni Meeruti

Fruits are small-sized, dull yellow, thin skinned with soft melting flesh. They ripen during April-end and yield about 28 kg/tree.

Kataru Chak

This is partially self-fruitful variety but its yield improves if pollinated with ‘Kala Amritsari'. Fruits are large, purplish with creamy flesh. They are good for jam and squash-making.

Alu Bokhara

It is a self-unfruitful variety and should be planted in rows alternating with those of ‘Howe'. Fruits are large, yellow coloured occasionally tinted with red. Pulp is juicy and sweet.

Howe

Fruits are large, round, sweet and juicy. They become red at maturity. They ripen in second fortnight of May, the average yield being 30–35kg/tree. Using Alu Bokhara as pollinizer is helpful.

Alpha

Fruits are round and small. They develop red colour at maturity and ripen in second week of June, the average yield being 25kg/tree.

Late Yellow

Fruits are round, medium-sized, sweet and juicy. They become lemon-yellow at maturity and ripen in the first fortnight of May, the average yield being 25kg/tree.

Alucha Black

Fruits are small-sized, dark purple. They ripen late in the season. Since trees are self-incompatible, they may be planted with that of Titron.

Peshawari Kala

This is somewhat shy-bearing variety but its fruits have a good-keeping quality. Fruits are black with relatively thick skin.

Damson Plum

Fruits are medium-sized, round with thick skin, yellow and juicy. They ripen in first week of June, the average yield being 40kg/tree.

   
Propagation

Vegetative propagation by grafting and budding is commonly used for commercial multiplication of nursery plants, since they do not come true-to-type from seeds. Plum is raised on seedling rootstocks of wild apricot and Myrobalan B plum clonal rootstock. In Punjab for heavy and wet soils, cuttings of Kabul Green Guage and for sandy loam soil peach seedlings are recommended as rootstock. Though a large number of promising clonal rootstocks have been developed in horticulturally-advanced countries, non-availability and lack of commercial mass propagation techniques of raising clonal rootstocks of plum are the major constraints in
India.

Seeds of wild apricot called ‘ Zardalu ' are used for raising seedling rootstock. Seeds are collected from fully ripe fruits. After drying they are treated with Bavistin @ 3g/kg and stored at 3.3°–7.2°C at 20% relative humidity. To break dormancy, seeds are stratified in moist sand for 45–50 days in 30–45cm deep pits dug in cool and shady place during January. The water-soaked seeds are put in 3–4cm thick alternate layers of sand and kept moist during stratification. In areas experiencing severe winter, seeds are sown directly in nursery beds during December-end or first week of January. The stratification of seeds results in quick and uniform germination.

The stratified seeds are sown in nursery beds 6–10cm deep in rows 25–30cm apart with a distance of 10–15cm from seed-to-seed. After sowing, beds are covered with 10cm thick hay mulch to protect the seedlings from direct sun, heavy rains and spring frost. Light irrigation is given after sowing to avoid desiccation of stratified seeds. As seedlings become 5cm tall, hay mulch is removed. Irrigating and weeding regularly is essential. Single stem should be allowed to grow and remaining side shoots are pruned off. In one year, about 90% seedlings become graftable.

Myrobalan B is recommended as a clonal rootstock for raising plum plants. It is multiplied through mound layering (stooling). The rooted layers of the clone are planted in well-prepared stoolbeds in December at a distance of 30cm in rows and 60cm apart. Numerous suckers which come out from layers are covered by 2–3 soil mounding before monsoon. The suckers are ringed near the base during rainy season and treated with 750ppm IBA for quick and better root initiation. The rooted layers are separated in December and lined out in nursery beds for further grafting.

Myrobalan B can also be multiplied through hardwood cuttings treated with 2,500ppm IBA for 10 seconds and planted in open field during January–February. This gives about 97% success in rooting of cuttings.

Seedlings as well as clonal rootstocks which attain 0.8–1.2cm thickness are grafted in February. The scion should be collected from bearing, disease-free trees of known pedigree during dormancy. Generally, 1-year-old shoots having only vegetative buds and smooth growth are preferred.

Tongue grafting in February is most commonly used and ideal method of propagation. Chip budding during mid-February also gives good success with smooth scion-stock union. T-budding during July–August is also recommended but the plant growth is poor. It takes 2 years to attain standard-sized plants.

In Punjab, own-rooted plants of Kala Amritsari are generally used for planting.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Planting distance varies with variety, vigour of rootstock, soil fertility and climatic conditions. Before planting of an orchard proper layout is essential, which varies with the slope of the land. In flat and valley areas, planting is done in square system, while in slopy land contour or terrace system is recommended. A spacing of 6m from row-to-row and plant-to-plant is recommended for all the varieties. Pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size are dug and filled about a month before planting. While digging, the top soil and sub-soil should be kept separately. Pits should be filled first with sub-soil well mixed with 30kg fully-rotten farmyard manure and filled with top soil mixed with 10–15kg farmyard manure, 500g superphosphate and 50g Aldrin dust. Planting should be done during December–January. While planting, graft-union should be kept 15–20cm above the ground level to avoid collar-rot and scion rooting.

Training and pruning

Plum plants are generally trained according to their growth habit and vigour of the rootstock. Training is done to give a proper shape and to develop a strong framework of branches. Plum trees are trained to open centre system. The top of plant is headed back to 60cm to stimulate the growth of lateral branches at the time of planting. During first summer, 3–5 scaffold branches around the main stem are selected. Lowest scaffold branches should be about 30cm above the ground level and the other scaffolds should be 15cm apart in spiral order. Only wide-angled branches should be selected and remaining branches are pinched off.

In the first dormant pruning, the central leader is headed back and scaffold branches are allowed to grow whose one-third growth is removed. Other weak and unwanted branches on the main stem are also pruned off. In the second dormant pruning 2–3 well-spaced secondary branches are selected on each primary scaffold whose one-third to one-fourth portion is pruned off. Remaining weak, unwanted and inter-crossing branches are removed. Third year training consists of heading back and thinning out of unwanted, diseased and interfering branches. It is completed during fourth year. During this period only light pruning with heading back of branches is done.

Bearing trees are pruned to maintain a balance between vegetative and reproductive growth. Pruning during prebearing period is usually kept light and corrective. Light heading back and removal of water sprouts, dead, diseased, and interfering branches are practised. Heavy heading back of the shoots should be avoided as it encourages development of long upright water sprouts. Plum generally bears on spurs but some fruits are produced laterally on 1-year-old shoots. The life span of plum spurs is 5–6 years. Pruning is necessary for spur renewal and 75–80% removal of new growth in each season. Plum requires 25–30cm of annual extension growth for proper fruiting. Therefore, 25–30% thinning along with one-third to half heading back of shoots is recommended for Santa Rosa plum in Himachal Pradesh.

Manuring and fertilization

Plum requires adequate amount of nutrients for better growth and quality fruits. Application of manures and fertilizers depends upon soil fertility, type of soil, topography, age of tree, cultural practices and crop load. The requirement of fertilizers varies from region-to-region. Analysis of soil and leaf is generally necessary to decide the schedule for fertilizers and manures.

The N, P, K is applied in the form of calcium ammonium nitrate, superphosphate and muriate of potash respectively. The farmyard manure along with full dose of P and K should be applied during December and January. Half dose of N is applied in spring before flowering and remaining half N a month later. Under rainfed condition, N is applied in single dose, about 15 days before bud-break. For N requirement, about four-fifths N should be applied in the soil and one-fifth N through foliar application to get better response. The N, P and K fertilizers should be broadcast on the soil surface about 30cm away from the tree trunk and then mixed with soil.

Deficiency of B in plum results in misshapen fruits. Corky spots develop on the fruit as a result of which it cracks. Terminal buds fail to develop, leaves become dark green and boat like, die back of shoots occurs under severe deficiency. Spraying of 0.1% boric acid (0.1%) in June is recommended to control B deficiency.

Aftercare

Clean basin + permanent sod in the orchard is most common practice of floor management in plum. The basins are kept clean by hand-weeding or applying weedicides and mulch, while the rest of the orchard floor is kept under permanent sod. Mulching of tree basins is done with 10–15cm thick hay in March. Besides controlling weeds, it also helps conserve soil moisture. Black alkathene mulch is beneficial. Application of Atrazin or Diuron @ 4.0kg/ha in April as pre-emergence and Gramoxone @ 2 litres/ha or Glyphosate @ 800ml/ha as post-emergence are recommended.

In plum, heavy bearing is a problem. As a result, fruits remain small in size with poor quality. Therefore, thinning judiciously is very essential. Foliar spraying of 200ppm Ethephon and 100ppm Carbaryl at full bloom is recommended for blossom thinning.

Spraying of 500ppm Ethephon about a week earlier of harvesting improves fruit colour, whereas spraying of 50ppm Triacontanol after pit-hardening stage improves fruit size.

Irrigation

Plum requires adequate amount of water throughout the growing season. In India, most of the plum orchards are on slopy land growing under rainfed conditions. Though the annual rainfall is very high, its distribution is not uniform throughout the growing season. Generally, drought conditions prevail during the fruit growth and development, therefore, irrigation is essential during this period. The peak water requirement period in plum is May to June, which coincides with the rapid fruit development period. Irrigation at 50% of field capacity, at 12 days interval in May and 8–9 day in June is recommended for higher yield of quality fruits. About 6 irrigations in a season are sufficient for plum orchards in midhills. In water scarcity areas, mulching can conserve moisture.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Since plum is a climacteric fruit, it does not attain fully ripe, edible quality on tree. Plum fruits should, therefore, be picked at proper stage. Picking of immature fruits results in poor quality plums lacking flavour and taste. They shrivel during transportation and storage. Various maturity indices—days from full bloom, firmness, TSS, change of ground colour from green to yellow or red depending on cultivar—used to judge proper maturity of plums.

Generally 2 pickings are recommended for plums, since all the fruits do not mature evenly on trees, at one stage. Fruits are picked without pedicel in such a way that bruising and stem punctures are avoided. After picking they are put softly in picking baskets lined with gunny cloth and transported to grading and packing house.

Fully grown plum trees yield 60–70kg fruits. Harvesting time varies from variety-to-variety in different states. These are available in the market from second week of May (Titron) to third week of July (Jamuni).

Plums are graded according to their fruit size in 3 grades . Fruits are packed in layers in the wooden boxes of 37cm × 16.5cm × 16.5cm size. Firstly boxes are lined with paper and then fruits are packed in layers with each layer lined with paper to protect the fruits from bruising during transportation.

Although plums are highly perishable, they can be stored for 2–4 weeks at 0°C with 85–90% relative humidity. Dipping plums in 4% calcium chloride for 2 minutes increases their storability without any reduction in loss of flesh firmness for 12 days at room temperature. 

   
Physiological Disorders

Internal breakdown

Disintegration of arils in matured pomegranates known as an internal breakdown or blackening of arils, is a serious malady. This disorder cannot be identified externally, whereas the arils become soft, light creamy-brown to dark blackish-brown and unfit for consumption. It is increasing rapidly in the pomegranate-growing pockets in western Maharashtra.

The incidence of internal breakdown occurs 90 days after anthesis. Its intensity increases if the fruits are left on the tree for 140 days onwards. It is evident in evergreen and deciduous cultivars. The incidence is more in ambe bahar . It increases with increase in weight of fruits from 150–200g (26.60%) to more than 350g (60%). No insect or organism is associated with this malady. The TSS, acidity, ascorbic acid, reducing sugars, calcium, phosphorus and enzyme catalase are reduced, whereas non-reducing sugars, starch, tannins, nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, boron and enzyme polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase increase in the affected arils compared with the healthy ones.

The exact causes are not known and remedial measures are difficult to advocate. Therefore pomegranates should be harvested at 120–135 days after fruit set.

Fruit cracking

Fruit cracking, a serious problem, is more intense under dry conditions of the arid zone. The fully-grown, mature cracked fruits though sweet, loose their keeping quality and become unfit for marketing. They are also liable to rot qualitatively. The cracked fruits show reduction in their fruit weight, grain weight and volume of juice. It is due to deficiency of calcium, boron and potash. Fully developed pomegranates crack due to moisture imbalance, as they are very sensitive to variation in soil moisture and also to day and night atmospheric moisture deficit. Prolonged drought causes hardening of peel. If this is followed by heavy irrigation or rains, the pulp grows and the peel cracks. Cracking of fruits is also due to rise in air temperature during fruit growth and development. It may be a varietal character (3.57% in Kazaki to 76.67% in Suni Bedana) since rind thickness and texture are related to their proneness to cracking. The percentage of cracked fruits is also related to season. It amounts to 63 in spring crop (January–June), 34 in winter crop (October–March) and 9.5 in rainy season crop (July–December) in Jodhpuri pomegranates.

There are some cultivars/strains–PS 75 K 3, Appuli, Shirvan, Burachni, Apsherconskil, Krasnyl, Sur-Anar, Kyrmyz-Kabukh and Francis–which are tolerant/resistant to cracking. Cracking can be managed through maintaining soil moisture and not allowing wide variation in soil moisture depletion, cultivating tolerant types, applying copious and regular irrigation during fruiting season using Pinolene (5%) as vapour guard and GA 3 (15ppm) and applying boron (0.2%) reduces cracking of fruits and improve fruit colour. 

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 22
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Cucurbitaceae
Genus
:
Trichosanthes
 

Pointed gourd or parwal is widely cultivated in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, it is grown in small pockets of hilly tracts. Recently, it has been introduced in and around Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Parwal, a semi-perennial creeper, remains dormant during winter. Fruits are globose, oblong, smooth, 5–12cm long and 2–6cm in breadth, striped, stripes are light green on young fruits and seeds are globose. Several cultivated parwal varieties differ in their size, shape and markings on fruits. The two more important forms are one with large, oblong, deep green fruits, with longitudinal and somewhat obscure white bands and the other with shorter, thicker, pale green fruits without markings. These are further classified into 4 groups depending on fruit size.

   
Climate and soil  

It requires humid and hot climate since it is susceptible to frost and cold. It can withstand water stress but not waterlogging. Parwal thrives well in high rainfall areas of Assam and West Bengal, but without waterlogging. In north Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh, areas usually flooded by overflowing rivers in the rainy season, are covered by its summer crop. In West Bengal, it is commonly grown in river-beds as well as in plains. In plains parwal cultivation is very intensive and more remunerative too.

It grows best in well-drained sandy loams. It can also thrive well in the uplands of alluvial light soils (alfisols) with addition of organic matter or by raising and incorporation of green manure. Heavy soils are not suitable for its cultivation. It remains dormant in winter and grows vigorously during spring.

 
Varieties

Improved varieties and hybrids of pointed gourd are:

Ches Elite Line

Fruits are very attractive, dark green, large-sized, striped with tapering ends, early-maturing, weighing 60–80g each and can be successfully stored for 4–6 days under normal room temperature. Its yield is 250–300q/ha. It is adapted to uplands of Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. This selection performs well in Sambalpur region of Orissa, Midnapore area of West Bengal and also in parts of Assam. It is resistant to fruit fly infestation.

Ches Hybrid 1

It is the first parwal hybrid developed in the country. Its solid, green striped fruits weigh 30–35g each, the total yield being 280–320q/ha. It is resistant to fruit fly.

Ches Hybrids 2

It is a high-yielding hybrid, producing dark green, striped fruits with an average fruit weight of 25–30g, average yield being 300–400q/ha.

Chhota Hilli

Fruits medium, long (5.71cm × 3.37cm), oval to spindle-shaped, swollen in the middle, greenish with prominent white stripes, blunt end and bulged at the stalk.

Dandali

Fruits are medium-sized (6.84cm × 3.89cm), egg-shaped, light green, stock end dispersed, striped slightly and grooved towards distal end.

Faizabad Parwal 1

It produces very attractive, round, green fruits, the average yield being 150–170q/ha. It is recommended for commercial cultivation in Uttar Pradesh and adjoining parts of Bihar.

Faizabad Parwal 3

Its fruits are spindle-shaped, green and less striped. They are excellent for culinary purpose. With an average yield of 125–150q/ha, it is suitable for cultivation in eastern and western Uttar Pradesh.

Faizabad Parwal 4

A high-yielding variety, it is recommended for reclaimed sodic soils. The fruits are light green, spindle-shaped with tapering ends. It is recommended for bower system of cultivation.

Hilli

Its fruits are oblong (9.65cm × 3.08cm), greenish, white striped and tapering towards distal end with dispersed neck.

Rajendra Parwal 1

This variety is highly suitable for diara land cultivation. Its fruits are big-sized striped and green in colour. The average yield is 140–150q/ha.

Rajendra Parwal 2

This variety is highly suitable for diara cultivation. Fruits are big, dark green with whitish stripes. It is suitable for cultivation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, average yield being 150–170q/ha.

Shankolia

Fruits are medium-long (7.56cm × 2.94cm), resembling to those of shankh or shell. They taper towards ends, are greenish with white stripes, slightly beaked towards distal end and bulged towards stalk.

Swarna Alaukik

A high-yielding variety, it produces light green fruits with blunt ends. The fruits are 5–8cm long, solid, thin skinned and good for vegetable as well as for preparation of sweets. Its average yield is 230–280q/ha on vertical staking. It is recommended for uplands and plateau regions of Bihar, diara lands of Gangetic belts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and plains of Orissa and West Bengal. It has also been introduced in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

Swarna Rekha

A vigorously growing, high-yielding variety. Fruits are greenish-white, striped, 8–10cm long and tapering on both sides. Average yield is 200–230q/ha on vertical bower system. Recommended for commercial cultivation in plains of Orissa, plateau region of Bihar, diara lands and plains of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

   
Propagation

It is vegetatively propagated through vine-cuttings and root suckers. The plants raised from the seeds are weak, with small leaves, taking about a year to fruit. Moreover the sex of the plants produced from seeds cannot be assured. Mostly cuttings from mature vines are taken in October, when fruiting is almost over, to ensure the sex and variety to be planted.

Collect 1m long vine and make it into a coil. Treat the nodal portion of the coil with rooting hormone. Insert the treated portion of the coil in polythene bags filled with a potting mixture in such a way that 2–3 nodes are outside the bag. Apply water with rose can sparingly and put them in shade or plastic house. Sproutings can be seen after 10 days onwards. These can be transplanted in the mainfield after 3 months. This method can ensure cent per cent rooting, producing a large number of plants of one variety in one place. They can easily be transported to the main field or distant places.

Mature roots of 3–4 year old plants are cut into pieces with 3 nodes each. Dip them in the solution prepared with copper sulphate and plant them in the main field. Regular watering is required till it produces new sprouts.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

In bower system, 8,000 cuttings are required to raise one hectare crop with a spacing of 1.0m × 1.5m, whereas in flat system, 4,500–5,000 cuttings are required spaced at 1.0m × 2.0m. Nearly 3,500–4,000 cuttings are required to raise a healthy crop in one hectare under riverbed cultivation. February–March is ideal planting time in uplands and mid–November in diara lands.

Lunda or lachhi method: In this system, mature vines 1.0–1.5m long having 8–10 nodes/ cutting are taken and folded into a figure of ‘8' commonly known as lunda or lachhi. This should be placed flat in the pit and pressed 3–5cm deep in the middle into the soil. To enhance sprouting, fresh cowdung may be applied over the central part of the pit.

Moist lump method: The vine 60–90cm long is encircled over a lump of moist soil leaving both ends of 15cm free. Such soil lumps are buried 10cm deep into well-prepared pits leaving the ends of vine above the soil. The under soil part produces roots and exposed ends give sprouts.

Straight vine method: The vine cuttings are planted end-to-end horizontally 15cm deep into the furrows. These furrows spaced 2m apart are opened and filled with a mixture of farmyard manure.

Ring method: The vine cutting is coiled into a spiral or ring shape and planted directly on the mounds, covering half to two-thirds of ring under the soil. The exposed portion produces new sprouts.

Rooted cutting method: The cuttings from mature vines are planted in the nursery, where they are allowed to strike roots. These cuttings are then planted in February–March in eastern Uttar Pradesh and shifted to riverbeds in November.

Root suckers: We can ensure cent percent sprouting through root suckers. Propagation by this method is easier and faster. But the availability of roots is a major problem.

At the time of planting, we must ensure the number of male plants required for planting the area. Minimum of 10% male plants in the field are essential to ensure the availability of enough pollen-grains required for fertilization and fruit setting. For every 15 female plants one male plant is must to get highest fruit yield. Female plants relatively near to male plants set more fruits than those away from it.

Manuring and fertilization

Apply farmyard manure in light soils (alfisols). The field should be thoroughly ploughed. Prepare rings 1m apart. Manurial requirement for major parwal growing states is given in Table 1.

State

Quantity of fertilizer (kg/ha)

N

P

K

Bihar

60

40

00

Uttar Pradesh

90

60

40

Orissa

150

60

80

(Table 1. Fertilizer requirement of parwal)

Half the quantity of N and full of P and K should be applied at the time of planting in small basins. Remaining half of N should be applied 60 days after planting.

Pruning

Pruning of parwal vines helps increase the fruit yield. Therefore, its vines should be pruned before winter as the crop passes through dormant phase in winters. Pruning can be carried by leaving one feet long vine in the basin.

Training

Training of vine on vertical staking or on bower system facilitates effective pollination, increasing fruit set and yield. Over 200% increased fruit yield is obtained by growing parwal on 1m high bamboo pandal than trailing over the ground.

Interculture

Frequent intercultural operations in parwal crop are highly beneficial for fruit yield. Hoeing is beneficial after each irrigation. Hoeing around root zone is essential for respiration activity of the roots and to conserve moisture. Therefore, minimum of 2 hoeings in each month are essential for good fruiting. Hoeing followed by mulching is also good for healthy vine growth. Rice straw mulch @ 15 tonnes/ha give 88 and 81% more fruit yield and more number of fruits than the control.

Irrigation

Irrigation at 20 days intervals is essential during winter and 10 days intervals in summer. Irrigation water @ 111cm is optimum for good growth and yield.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Its fruits in flushes are available from February to October. Vine starts bearing fruits 5 months after planting. Picking of fruits at weekly interval gives more yield. Harvesting of fruits should be done 15–18 days after fruit set. Delay in harvesting leads to development of hard seeds. Its yield varies from place-to-place depending on soil and climatic conditions. The fruit yield increases subsequently. It declines fourth year onwards.
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Chromosome Number: 16
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Myrtales
Family
:
Punicaceae
Genus
:
Punica
 
Pomegranate is a favourite table fruit in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. A native to Iran (Persia), it is found from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, but is cultivated commercially only in Maharashtra. Small-scale plantations are also seen in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. In India, it is considered as a crop of the arid and semi-arid regions because it withstands different soil and climatic stresses.
   
Climate and soil  

Pomegranate grows well under semi-arid conditions. It thrives best under hot dry summer and cold winter provided irrigation facilities are available. The tree requires hot and dry climate during fruit development and ripening. It cannot produce sweet fruits unless the temperature is high for a sufficiently long period. Humid climate lowers the quality of fruits and increases incidence of fungal diseases. The pomegranate tree is deciduous in areas of low winter temperature and an evergreen or partially deciduous in tropical and subtropical conditions. It can tolerate frost to a considerable extent in dormant stage, but is injured at temperature below –11°C. Orchards can be established up to an altitude of 500m.

Pomegranate can be grown on a wide range of soils. It prefers a well-drained, sandy-loam to deep loamy, or alluvial soils. It can also be grown on light soils. Quality and colour development in light soils is good but poor in heavy soils. It tolerates salinity up to 9.00 ec/mm and sodicity 6.78 esp.

 
Varieties

Wild pomegranate is too acidic and of little value except as souring agent ( anardana ). The double-flowered pomegranates (which do not bear fruits) are grown in parks and ornamental gardens for their beautiful red flowers.

The types under cultivation in the country are of seedling origin from the varieties introduced from neighbouring countries. Most of them are known by the names of the new places where they were introduced, adapted and cultivated. These cannot be considered as distinct varieties. Varietal improvement in pomegranate has been attempted both by selection of promising types from the indigenous ones and through controlled hybridization. Exotic introductions including Russian cultivars under the climatic conditions of Deccan plateau give sparse flowering, poor fruit set of highly acidic fruits with hard seeds, but very attractive red coloured arils perhaps due to lack of sufficient chilling requirement.

Alandi, Karadi and Muskati in Maharashtra; Madhugiri and Bassein Seedless in Karnataka; Dholka in Gujarat; Jodhpuri Red, Jodhpuri White and Jalore Seedless in Rajasthan; Chawla, Nabha and Country Large Red in Haryana; and Velludu in Tamil Nadu are traditionally identified popular cultivars. These are seedling types, originated from locally-grown pomegranates which yield medium quality fruits. Of the types introduced at Kodur (Andhra Pradesh), Paper Shelled, Muskati Red and Spanish Ruby are recommended for cultivation under south Indian conditions.

Recently, Ganesh from Alandi; G 137 from Ganesh; Jyothi and IIHR Selection from Bassein Seedless, Yercaud 1 and Co 1 are some promising types from locally-available material. Different types of pomegranate grown in India are given below .

Ganesh (GBI)

A selection from Alandi, it was released for commercial cultivation in 1936 and renamed as Ganesh in 1970. Its fruits are medium-sized, with yellow, smooth surface and red tinge. The seeds are soft with pinkish aril. The juice tastes sweet. Ganesh has revolutionized the cultivation of pomegranate in Maharashtra.

G 137

This is a clonal selection from Ganesh. Tree has spreading habit, fruit surface smooth, yellow with red tinge. Fruits are large-sized with deep pink and bold aril, sweet in taste, soft seeds and prolific-bearer. This is a distinct improvement over Ganesh in colour and size of aril and TSS.

P 23

It is a seedling selection from a traditional Muskat seedling population grown in and around Kolhar region of Ahmednagar district. Fruit surface smooth, yellow with red tinge and bears heavily. Fruit size is large, fleshy, aril pinkish-white, sweet in taste, seeds moderately hard. It is distinct improvement over Ganesh in aril size and TSS.

P 26

A seedling selection of Muskat. It is superior to Ganesh in yield and fruit weight. Its fruits are large-sized, rind yellowish-green with red tinge; fleshy, aril pinkish-white with moderately hard seeds and sweet juice.

Mridula

A seedling selection from an open-pollinated progeny raised from the F1 proeny of a cross Ganesh × Gul-e-Shah Red. Its fruits are medium-sized, rind smooth, dark red in colour. It has blood-red arils with very soft seeds, juicy and sweet in taste. It is significantly superior cultivar to other commercially grown pomegranates.

Jyoti

This is a selection from mixed seedling population of Bassein Seedless and Dholka pomegranate. The fruits are medium to large-sized, having attractive, yellowish-red, more fleshy and pink aril. Fruits are very sweet, soft-seeded and taste good. It yields moderately.

Ruby

It is a hybrid from a 3-way cross between Ganesh × Kabul × Yercaud and Gulsha Rose Pink which has soft and red arils with good flavour. The plants are dwarf, prolific-bearer, providing uniformly red fruits.

IIHR Selection

A soft-seeded selection with a mean fruit weight of 255g. It provides quality fruits with a heavy bearing capacity. It is a selection from the open-pollinated seedlings.

Yercaud 1

Its fruits are medium-sized, with easily peelable rind. The seeds are soft with attractive, deep purple aril.

Co 1

It is also a high-yielding selection. Its fruits are medium-sized with attractive rind, soft seeds, higher pulp content and sweet taste.

   
Propagation

Pomegranate is difficult-to-root by cuttings. The cuttings lack root-promoting cofactors, i.e. low sugar content, phenolic compounds and C:N ratio. Pre-conditioning of shoots during June–July by girdling and etiolation increases the level of root-promoting cofactors considerably. The maturity of wood used in making cuttings plays an important role in rooting. The wood younger than 6 months and older than 18 months is unsuitable for cuttings. Hard wood lateral shoots which usually flower and fruit are unsuitable for propagation. One-season-old cuttings respond more favourably. Semi-hard wood cuttings give high sprouting but fail to root and establish. Cuttings may also be taken from suckers which arise from the base of the plant. They should be mature, 20–30cm long and 6–12mm thick. Rainy season is the ideal time to get maximum success. Cuttings made from new growth or soft-wood treated with 0.5% potassium salt of IBA for 30 seconds generally root better, producing high-quality roots.

In hard wood cuttings, low rate of survival and unbalanced root : shoot ratio are the problems. The use of IAA and IBA is superior to NAA in stimulating rooting in different types of cuttings. There is highest (80–90%) survival rate under mist, especially after IBA treatment of 3,000ppm. Cuttings treated with IBA (50ppm) and 15.9% moisture level in the media give 90% rooting. Use of 2 N H 2 SO 4 for pre-treatment for 2 min. and then applying IBA (2,500ppm) (quick dip) promotes profuse root system and better survival rate.

It is also propagated by air-layering or gootee. Air-layering during rainy season and November–December results in better success with profuse rooting. Treating with IBA (10,000ppm) in Lanolin paste results in more number of roots/layer.

Mound-layering can be carried out throughout the year. Satisfactory techniques have been worked out for top-working by side and veneer-grafting in July.

The MS basal medium supplemented with NAA (4ppm), kinetin (2ppm) and coconut water (15%) is good for callus induction for explants (root, stem, shoot tip and leaf segments) in pomegranate Kandhari.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

The plants may be planted by square system since all the cultural operations can be performed more conveniently. Planting distance should be maintained depending upon soil type and climate. A spacing of 4–5m on marginal and very light soils is recommended. In subtropical regions, planting may be done in spring (February–March) provided irrigation facilities are available. However, July-August is ideal time of planting in tropics.

Pits of 60cm × 60cm × 60cm size are dug about a month prior to planting and kept open under the sun for a fortnight. About 50g of 5% BHC or Carbaryl dust is dusted on the bottom and sides of the pits as a precaution against termites. The pits are filled with the top soil mixed with 20kg farmyard manure and 1kg superphosphate. After filling the pit, watering is done to allow soil to settle down. Cuttings/air-layers are then planted and staked. Water them immediately after planting and repeat whenever necessary.

In temperate regions, high-density planting is advocated. A spacing of 5–6m in northern India and even in plains in Deccan plateau is optimum. Since pomegranate is normally cultivated on light to medium soils in Deccan plateau, it responds well to pruning. The spacing has been brought down to 4.5m which is optimum. The high-density plantation—5m × 2m (1,000 plants/ha), 5m × 3m (666 plants/ha), 5m × 4m (500 plants/ha) and 5m × 5m (400 plants/ha)— gives 2–2.5 times more yield than the normal planting distance (5m × 5m) in Deccan plateau. There is not much difference in size of fruit and TSS : acid ratio. Therefore pomegranate should be planted at a close distance to obtain higher yields. Depending on the growth of the orchard trees, alternate plants could be removed after 6–7 years, maintaining a spacing of 5m × 4m. However, farmers adopt a spacing of 2.5m × 4.5m. Closer spacing increases disease and pest incidence.

Training

Pomegranate plants can be trained on a single-stem or in multi-stem system. The single-stem training has its own disadvantages. The plants have a tendency to produce ground suckers, making the plant bushy. As such it is rather difficult to train the plant to a single stem. The crop is highly susceptible to stem-borer and shoot-hole borer. Moreover, this system is hazardous. Thus single-stem training is uneconomical for commercial cultivation. Therefore multi-stem training is more prevalent in the country. Allowing too many stems also comes in the way of intercultural operation. The varying of stem number of 3–4 does not affect the yield significantly in early years of bearing and a multi-stem training with 4–5 stems/hill is beneficial.

Pruning

Pomegranate plants do not require pruning except removal of ground suckers, water shoots cross branches, dead and diseased twigs and giving a shape to the tree. Pomegranate fruits are borne terminally on short spurs, arising from matured shoots, which have the capacity to bear fruits for 3–4 years. With advance in age they decline. A little thinning and pruning of old spurs to encourage growth of new ones is required. Some useful tips on pomegranate pruning are:

•  Fruitful and differentiated buds are located at the distal portion of the branches.

•  Pruning of terminal portion of a branch lowers down the total flower production.

•  Pruning does not affect sex ratio and fruit quality.

•  Pruning affects significantly total fruits, marketable and unmarketable fruits. Fruit size and yield of higher grade fruits are more with high intensity pruning.

•  Pruning minimizes the bending of branches and staking.

Manuring and fertilization

Pomegranate is a hardy fruit plant, growing successfully in low fertile soils. Its productivity is greatly increased by the application of manures and fertilizers. Both macro and micronutrients affect its growth, development and productivity. Application of 10kg farmyard manure and 75g ammonium sulphate to 5-year-old tree annually is adequate, whereas application of 50kg farmyard manure and 3.5kg oil cake or 1kg sulphate of ammonia prior to flowering is ideal for healthy growth and fruiting. The basal dose of farmyard manure @ 25–40 cart-loads/ha besides the recommended doses of NPK should be applied to non-bearing trees in 3 split doses coinciding with growth flushes during January, June and September. From fourth year, the fruiting can be taken. Then apply N in 2 split doses starting at the time of first irrigation after bahar treatment and next at 3 weeks interval, whereas full dose of P and K should be applied at one time. These should be applied in a shallow circular trench below tree canopy not beyond 8–10cm depth. After application fertilizers are covered with top soil and irrigated. In general, application of 600–700g N, 200–250g P 2 O 5 and 200–250g K 2 O/tree/year is optimum.

Aftercare

Since pomegranate plants take 4–5 years to come into bearing, intercropping is beneficial. Low-growing vegetables, pulses or green manure crops may be intercropped. In arid regions, intercropping is possible only during the rainy season, whereas winter vegetables are feasible in irrigated areas.

In young orchard, season-wise appropriate intercrops could be taken. However in a bearing orchard, the soil management practices vary with the type of crop since pomegranate gives 3 flushes in a year. In arid conditions, generally mrig bahar is preferred so that natural precipitation could be used for fruiting. Therefore, after harvest, the orchard is left as such untilled under the cover of natural grasses during summer. In May, orchard is tilled, fertilization is done and the bahar is induced. During rainy season and until the harvest, keep the orchard weed-free as its feeding roots are very shallow.

Conservation of soil moisture is quite essential. It is possible through the use of soil covers. Black polythene mulch or organic-matter mulch such as saw-dust, banana trash, paddy husk and groundnut shells are good mulching materials.

Anti-transpirants such as 10% Kaolin, 10–5m phenyl mercuric acetate, 1.5% power oil and 1% liquid paraffin are beneficial in increasing its productivity

Bahar treatment or flower regulation

The pomegranate plants flower and provide fruits throughout the year in central and southern India. However, it needs to be thrown into rest period so as to enable prolific harvest at a given time. Looking at patterns of precipitation, flowering can be induced during June–July ( mrig bahar ), September–October ( hasta bahar ) and January–February ( ambe bahar ). In areas having assured rainfall where precipitation is normally received in June and continues up to September, flowering in June is advantageous; where monsoon normally starts in August with erratic pattern, flowering during August is beneficial; the areas having assured irrigation potential during April–May, flowering during January can be taken; and where monsoon starts early and withdraws by September induction of flowering in October is possible. In Rahuri, flowering during January–February is better in quality followed by October flowering. Considering comparable yields, prices and irrigation needs it is recommended that October cropping could be substituted for January flowering.

Irrigation

Although pomegranate is considered to be highly drought tolerant, its plants respond very well to irrigation. However, water requirement varies from season-to-season. For mrig bahar , first irrigation should be given during mid-May followed by regular irrigation until the onset of monsoon. In post-monsoon period copious and regular irrigation is essential for better development of fruits and to avoid fruit-cracking. For other bahars (seasons), weekly irrigation in summer and bi-weekly irrigation in winter are advised. The check basin system of irrigation should be followed. For arid and semi-arid conditions, micro-catchments should be developed to harvest rainwater. For check basin or surface irrigation system, higher fruit yield is obtained under 0.8 IW:CPE ratio, which is increased to 1.0 during flowering and decreases to 0.8 during fruit development. It further decreases to 0.6 during rest period.

Drip irrigation can also be followed to economize water. The check basin requires 108 ha-cm of water, whereas drip with mulch requires 40.31ha-cm the water saving being 44% in drip system and 64% when sugarcane trash mulch is used in drip system. The application of water equivalent to 20% wetted area is superior to surface method, the average annual irrigation water requirement through drip method being 20cm. Saving in water (43%) and increased yield (30–35%) are observed.

High salinity in soils and irrigation with saline water affect normal fruit production in pomegranate. Irrigation with 6.5mmhos for 8–10 months does not affect adversely the survival of pomegranate Khog, whereas Jalore Seedless can tolerate up to 4.5mmhos.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Pomegranate being non-climacteric fruit should be picked when fully ripe. Harvesting of immature or over-mature fruits affects quality. Its fruits become ready for picking 120–130 days after fruit set. The calyx at the distal end of the fruit gets closed on maturity. Ripe fruits give a distinct sound of grains cracking inside when slightly pressed from outside. At maturity they turn to yellowish-red and get suppressed on sides. Fruit colour is not sure guide to maturity. Plucking is done with hand. A grown-up, well-managed tree gives 60–80 fruits annually, with a life span of 25–30 years.

Crop and grade regulation

Of these, 5–6% are of ‘A' grade and 20–25% of ‘B' grade, whereas remaining ones belong to ‘C' and ‘D' grades, and cracked fruits. Though it is practically impossible to get all ‘A' grade fruits, one can improve average grade by crop regulation. After the fruit set, do not allow, fruits to develop in clusters. Keep only solitary fruits. After getting set of fruits of desired numbers as per size of tree, remove all the flowers coming thereafter. In pomegranate it is not only the number of fruits/tree but also the fruit size which influence the net returns. About 60 fruits/tree is optimum crop load for pomegranate Ganesh.

Grading

Pomegranate fruits should be graded on the basis of their weight, size and external (rind) colour. The grades are:

Super-sized: Fruits having good, attractive bright red colour weighing more than 750g each and without any spot on the skin.

King-sized: Fruit free from spots, having an attractive red colour and weighing 500–750g.

Queen-sized: Fruits between 400 and 500g, having bright red colour and free from spots.

Prince-sized: fully ripe fruits weighing between 300 and 400g with red colour.

Besides, pomegranates are also graded into 2 grades—12-A and 12-B. The fruits weighing between 250 and 300g with some spots belong to 12-B grade. The fruits of 12-A grade are generally preferred in southern and northern India.

Packing and storage

The size of packages pomegranate changes according to their grade. Corrugated fibre-board boxes are used for packaging since they are light in weight, cause less or no damage to fruits, are easy to handle.

In a single box, 4–5 queen-sized fruits, 12 prince-sized and some of 12–A and 12–B grades may be packed. The white-coloured boxes having 5 plies are generally used for export purpose, whereas red-coloured ones having 3 plies are used for domestic markets. The red-coloured boxes are cheaper than white-coloured ones. The size of super-sized, queen-sized, prince-sized, 12–A and 12–B grades are 13" × 9" × 4", 15" × 11" × 4" and 14" × 10" × 4" respectively. The cut pieces of waste paper are generally used as cushioning material. The graded fruits are placed on cushioning material followed by an attractive red-coloured paper on the boxes. The safe temperature for cold storage up to 2 months or 10 weeks is 5°C. Longer storage should be at 10°C and relative humidity of 95% to avoid chilling injury and weight loss.

Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 48
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Solanales
Family
:
Solanaceae
Genus
:
Solanum
 
Potato is believed to have been introduced in India from Europe in early 17th century. Since1830 it is being grown as a commercial crop. With the establishment of the Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla, in 1949, the area, production and productivity of potato have increased by 385, 1,147 and 157% respectively. Today India ranks fifth in area as well as production in the world. The potato is grown in almost all the states in India and under diversified agroclimatic conditions. About 90% of the total potato area is located in the subtropical plains, 6% in the hills and 4% in the plateau region of peninsular India. Indo-Gangetic plains account for about 76% of the potato area and about 87% of the potato production in the country. Uttar Pradesh has the largest area and production of potato, followed by West Bengal and Bihar. During 1995–96, Tamil Nadu recorded the highest productivity of potato (27.0 tonnes/ha), followed by West Bengal (24.5 tonnes/ha), Punjab (20.4 tonnes/ha), Gujarat (20.0 tonnes/ha) and Uttar Pradesh (19.7 tonnes/ha).
   
Climate and soil  
Potato is largely grown in cool regions, where mean temperature does not normally exceed 18°C. Optimum temperature for potato growth and development ranges between 15 and 25°C. Minimum night temperature is of great significance for tuberization and yield. Temperature below 21°C is favourable for tuber formation. At temperatures above 21°C sharp fall in tuberization occurs. There is little, if any, tuber formation at temperature above 29°C. For this reason, the tropics are considered unsuitable for profitable culture of potato. At low temperatures, the vegetative growth of the plant is restricted and at temperatures near freezing point there is permanent and often irrecoverable injury to the plant. That is why potato is grown as a summer crop in hills and as a winter crop in tropical and subtropical regions of the country. The planting time of potatoes is adjusted keeping in view the prevailing temperatures. Long photoperiod promotes haulm growth and delays tuberization and maturity, whereas short photoperiod reduces haulm growth but tuber initiation is early and the crop maturity period is reduced. For best yields, potato crop needs long day conditions during growth and short day conditions during tuberization. Potato can grow in all types of soils, but light, well-drained sandy loam soils are best-suited. With adequate fertilization, potato grows well even in sand. Excellent potato crop is grown under river-bed system of cultivation in Deesa (district Banaskantha) in Gujarat. Heavy types of soils are difficult to work with and are not well-suited for potato cultivation. The potato plant prefers soils in acidic to neutral range (pH 5.5–7.5). Black soils are, however, prone to cracking on drying and expose tubers to sun and tuber moth infestation.
 
Varieties
it includes many improved and commercially important varieties
   
Propagation

Potato is conventionally grown vegetatively using tubers as planting material. Each tuber has several eyes distributed over its surface with each eye having 3–5 buds which develop into sprouts. When planted in the ground, the sprouted tuber establishes itself into a plant. Each sprout, on emergence above the ground, develops into a stem bearing leaves and branches.

The quality of seed is most important to ensure good crop production. This is because, seed tubers account for about 40–50% of the total input cost. In India, prior to 1960, potato seed used to be imported to replace the local seed stocks of various regions. Some indigenous replacement from hills and indigenous production of some local varieties in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh was also prevalent. Northern hills used to be the major source of healthy seed for planting potato crop in the plains. The area in the hills was, however, highly inadequate to meet the total seed demand of the country. Besides, the seed produced in the hills used to be in dormant stage at the optimum time of planting of the crop in the plains and the varieties grown under long day conditions in the hills were often not popular for cultivation under short day conditions in the plains. In view of these constraints, efforts were made to produce healthy seed in the plains. Extensive research led to the development of ‘seed plot technique' for production of healthy seed in north Indian plains. Using this technique, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have emerged as important potato seed-producing states in the plains.

Seed plot technique

This technique of seed production envisages raising a crop (using healthy seed) during the period when aphids (vectors of virus diseases) population is very low, taking precautions of use of insecticides and periodic roguing of diseased plants, and finally dehaulming the crop before the aphids reach the critical level of 20 aphids/100 compound leaves. The seed potato produced in the plains gives better plant stand and yield in all the potato-growing regions because of its better physiological age for giving quick emergence and faster growth of haulms. Thus the seed produced in the north-western plains and kept in cold stores during April–September is the most useful potato for planting in the plains, particularly when early crops are to be raised. Cold-stored seed cannot withstand transport over long distances in the plains during September–October. If it is necessary, care has to be taken not to transport the seed in closed wagons over a long period. After it is removed from the cold storage, the seed should be dried and carefully sorted. This post-cold-storage treatment is necessary to get rid of the problem of ‘sweating' and brings about respiratory equilibrium of tubers.

Use of hill-grown seed

The potato in northern hills is harvested in September/October which is also the time of planting of the main crop in north-western Indian plains. But, being dormant or partially dormant, these tubers cannot be used immediately for seed purposes. The hilly seed could, however, be used with advantage, after breaking dormancy, in regions where planting is delayed beyond first week of November. It is also used for planting the spring crop in north-western region. For breaking the tuber dormancy, seed tubers are soaked in 1% thiourea + 1ppm gibberellic acid solution for 1 hr.

Seed size and spacing

All sizes of tubers can be utilized as seed but medium-sized (25–55mm or 25–75g) often called as seed size is better than other grades. Even in seed size, tubers of 35–40mm or 45–50g are ideal. Comparable yields can be obtained by planting medium-sized tubers (35–45mm) at 60cm × 20cm spacing and large-sized tubers (45–55mm) at 60cm × 25cm spacing keeping the plant populations at 83,000 and 67,000 plants/ha, respectively. For small-sized seed (25–35mm), a population of 1,11,000 plants/ha (60cm × 15cm inter- and intra-row spacings) is ideal.

The potato yield increases with increase in seed rate. The optimum seed rate for getting high yield is 20–25q/ha for 15g seed, 25–30q/ha for 30g seed and 30–35q/ha for 45g seed size.

Use of large-sized tubers increases the seed rate. However, for planting early and main crops in plains, where cold-stored seed is used, it is advisable to use only whole seed, as several saprophytic organisms often establish on the cut surface of the tubers causing seed piece decay, leading to poor and gappy germination. In plateau region of southern India, which depends on seed potatoes from north Indian hills, the large tubers can be cut and planted late in November. For spring crop in north-western plains, for which the seeds are procured from the hills, the cut potatoes are used as seed. The seed tubers are cut about a week or 10 days before planting and treated with fungicides (dipped for 10 minutes in 0.2% solution of Mancozeb) and spread at a cool and moist place, so that the cut surface suberizes and seed pieces do not rot.

Pre-sprouting of seeds

Pre-sprouting of tubers before planting ensures multiple, stout and healthy sprouts which help in quick emergence and uniform stand of crop. It also increases the number of tubers and leads to larger proportion of seed-sized tubers. For pre-sprouting, the tubers are kept in shade in diffused light in baskets or trays or spread in thin layer on the floor. Seed stocks are examined twice a week to remove rotten tubers. Seed tubers when removed from the cold store, are generally dormant and give low yields, when planted immediately. One week pre-sprouting period is sufficient for all sizes of tubers in north-western plains and of 3 weeks in eastern plains.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Potato enjoys a wide range of seasonal adaptability. In north-western Himalayas, it is planted in May/June in valleys and at very high altitudes (3,000–3,500m), during April in high hills (2,500–3,000m), and as spring crop during January/February and as autumn crop in August/September in the midhills (1,000–1,800m). In north-eastern hills , potato is planted in March in the high hills. In valleys and lower hills, there are 2 potato-growing seasons with plantings in January/February and August/September. In Nilgiri hills, 3 potato crops are raised almost in succession, their planting times being April, August and January.

In Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh, early potato crop is planted during 10–20 September, in central Uttar Pradesh in the first week of October and in Bihar between second and third weeks of October. The crop is usually harvested after 60–70 days to take advantage of high prices of fresh potatoes. Mulching of early potato crop with paddy straw, paddy husk and maize, and dhaincha stalks is beneficial for getting high yields. The main crop in Gangetic plains is planted during October–November. The potato season first starts in north-western plains and culminates in the eastern part. Planting of late or spring crop in December/January is confined to the north-western plains only. In plateau regions of peninsular India, where summer temperatures are somewhat mild, 2 crops, one in winter and the other in summer are raised.

For hot weather cultivation, the fields are ploughed during summer in May and June to reduce the incidence of soil-borne diseases and control perennial weeds. Green manure crops like dhaincha and sanali may be sown before the onset of the monsoon. The green manure crop is buried in soil after 7–8 weeks. This practice reduces N, P and K requirement of the crop by 20–30% and improves potato yields up to 3 tonnes/ha.

If green manuring of the fields is not possible, farmyard manure @ 15–20 tonnes/ha may be incorporated and ploughed in field before planting. After deep ploughing and good pulverization of the soil, when the seed bed is ready, tubers are planted in lines. The first line is drawn straight with a rope and subsequent lines are marked at a distance of 60cm from row-to-row with help of a marker. Half dose of N and full dose of P 2 O 5 and K 2 O is applied in furrows and mixed in soil. Seeds are kept in the furrows at a distance of 20cm, from tuber-to-tuber and covered with soil using a ridger. The planting should preferably be done in the morning or in the evening to avoid heated up soil covering during mid-day in plains.

Manuring and fertilization

Nitrogen is most important nutrient for potato crop. A mature potato crop yielding between 25 and 35 tonnes/ha need to about 120–150kg N/ha. The peak period of N uptake varies from 40–70 days in plains and 65–85 days in hills. Nitrogen application increases the plant growth, leaf area, tuber number and tuber size. The maximum N response is recorded in alluvial soils followed by hill soils, red soils and black soils. Potato varieties differ among themselves in their N fertilizer needs. The long-duration varieties are more responsive to N fertilizers than the short-duration ones. The N is applied in split doses. Half of the dose should be applied at the time of planting and the remaining half at the time of earthing-up.

The P is the second limiting nutrient in potato production. Its deficiency is more pronounced in acidic hill soils and red laterite soils. An average crop yielding 25 tonnes/ha needs about 45kg P 2 O 5 . Phosphorus deficiency, retards growth, and leaves become dull dark green without lustre. The application of 50–100kg P 2 O 5 /ha along with N is required in most of the soils. Full dose of P is applied at the time of planting.

The application of K along with N and P is needed to get optimum yield. Its deficiency retards plant growth and shortens internodes. Leaves become dark bluish green in mild K deficiency, terminal leaves show bronzing accompanied with necrotic spots. On an average, potato plant removes 150kg K/ha from alluvial soils of the plains and 190kg K/ha from acidic brown hill soils. Response to K is highest in alluvial soils, followed by hill soils, red soils and black cotton soils. The optimum K dose is 98 kg/ha for alluvial soils, 93 kg/ha for hill soils, 111 kg for red soils and 70 kg/ha for black soils.

The response to N,P and K depends not only upon the fertility status of the soils but also on variety, cropping system and source of nutrients. The P and K applied to soil leave significant residues which affect the fertilizer needs of the succeeding crop.

The potato crop in most parts of the country generally does not respond to the application of Zn, Cu, Mg and Fe. Only marginal increase in yield of potato has been observed with application of Zn at Kalyani (West Bengal), Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Palampur (Himachal Pradesh); with Fe at Kanpur and with S (given through gypsum or pyrites) at Hisar (Haryana), Faizabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Deesa (Gujarat).

Interculture

Earthing-up and weeding of potato are done as soon as weeds emerge, but preferably when potato plants are about 8–10cm high. The final earthing-up in plains is done 25–30 days after planting and in hills when the crop is about 6–8 weeks old. Second half dose of N is applied at the time of final earthing-up.

Irrigation

Water forms nearly 80% of the potato tuber. Adequate and regular water supply is, therefore, needed for its sustained growth. The crop in high hills and in plateau region in kharif season is grown as rainfed, whereas in plains it is grown under irrigated conditions. The quality of water used for irrigation is an important factor. Water with high concentration of dissolved salts is undesirable for potato. First irrigation immediately after planting, particularly if soil is relatively dry, is desirable for better emergence. Second irrigation may be given after 12–15 days when 2–5% germination has taken place. Subsequent irrigations may be given at 6–10 days intervals depending upon soil and water demand. Water stress reduces tuber yield and increases the proportion of small-sized tubers. Mulching helps in getting higher yields in warmer regions of the country.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Potato tubers are harvested as soon as they mature. In loam or heavy loam soils, tubers should not be allowed to remain in wet soil after maturity because the lenticels on their surface may proliferate and impart unacceptable look to the tubers. If harvesting is delayed, it is best to leave the soil dry and irrigate the field lightly about the time of harvest. It is never advisable to harvest the tubers in wet land. The late-sown crop in plains should be harvested latest by April-end to avoid high temperatures and charcoal-rot infection in tubers.

After harvesting, tubers should be surface-dried and kept in shade in heaps for 10–15 days. All rotted and damaged tubers should be periodically removed. The produce should be graded on the basis of tuber size and packed in gunny bags for marketing.

If the produce is to be marketed early to take advantage of high market price, it is advisable to harvest potatoes in stages. This is because of highly perishable nature of the immature tuber. Fresh potato has a delicate skin, which gets bruised easily and extensively providing invasion site to rot-causing organisms. Also, bruising initiates oxidization process, which subsequently imparts dark colour to the exposed surface of tubers reducing its market value.

True potato seed

The non-availability of good quality seed tubers, high seed cost, virus infiltration in seed tubers causing degeneration of seed stocks and problems of long distance transport of seed from seed producing areas have led to the development of true potato seed (TPS) technology of crop production. This technology envisages the use of botanical seed or TPS for crop production. It has gained significance because unlike seed tubers, the TPS can be produced in all parts of the country providing extra light for 4–5 hours depending upon climatic condition. It can be easily stored over long periods of time. Disease transmission by TPS is negligible and it provides cheap planting material. About 100–120g TPS is enough to raise a seedling crop or if the commercial crop is to be produced using seedling tubers, the produce of 40–45g TPS is enough to plant one hectare crop next year. They also provide better disease resistance because of high heterogeneity in the population.

A ware crop of potato, using TPS can be raised either through transplanting of seedlings in field or by using seedling tubers as planting material. In the first method, seed is sown in nursery beds containing soil of proper physical structure, fertility and moisture as practised for seedling production of other vegetable crops. Seedlings of 4–5 leaf stage are transplanted in field to raise the crop. This method of raising a ware crop has been successful in Bihar, Gujarat, plateau region of Madhya Pradesh and Tripura where adverse temperatures do not limit the crop growth. In Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, this method is not very successful owing to high temperature in September and low temperature from November which restrict the crop grown resulting in poor yield. In the second method, making use of seedling tubers as planting material, the seedlings can be grown in nursery beds till maturity or they can be transplanted in field to produce tubers which are used as seed for raising the commercial crop next year. The crop production using seedling tubers is successful in all potato-growing regions of the country. The crop yields are also higher with seedling tubers rather than seedling transplanting method of propagation. This technology is becoming popular in Bihar, Karnataka and Tripura.

   
Physiological Disorders

There is another group of diseases commonly referred to as non-parasitic diseases which are the result of physiological imbalance caused by unfavourable environmental conditions. These are:

Internal brown spot

It is characterized by irregular, dry brown spots scattered through the flesh of tubers. These spots are never found in vascular region as in case of brown rot. It is a very minor disorder that appears particularly in light sandy soils which are not irrigated regularly. The affected tubers lose much of their value as table potatoes. It is not transmissible, however, planting of severely affected tubers should be avoided as they often produce weak plants. An old variety, Craigs Defiance, is prone to this.

Black heart

If potato tubers are stored in air at a temperature of 35°–40°C they develop in a few days, a condition known as ‘black heart' in which the inner tissues break down and become black. Lack of oxygen is the probable cause. It is also probable that at high storage temperature, accumulation of CO 2 at the centre of the tuber might contribute to damage and to the subsequent decrease in respiration and development of black heart. This is of minor importance as it appears only in ordinary over-heated and ill-ventilated farm stores. Therefore, avoid storage temperature above 35°C and poor ventilation.

Hollow heart

Hollow heart consists of an irregular cavity in the centre of tubers. In tissue surrounding the cavity, there is no decay or discolouration. Hollow heart condition appears often in varieties which bulk rapidly and produce over-sized tubers. In extra large-sized tubers of Kufri Jyoti and Kufri Sindhuri hollow heart may appear. This condition can be avoided by closer spacing of plants and avoiding excessive use of fertilizers.

Chilling injury

Chilling injury may follow prolonged storage of tubers at temperature of about 0°C. This results in discoloured blotches in the flesh of tubers which vary from light reddish-brown to dark brown, diffuse brownish black patches on skin and reduce or completely inhibit sprouting of affected tubers when planted.

Freezing injury

Freezing injury occurs as a result of ice formation in potato tubers when exposed to temperatures between –1° and –2°C. Tubers which are only briefly frozen show, when cut in half, a blue-black discontinuous ring in the vascular region. More severe injury leads to blue-black necrotic network in the pith, in addition to necrosis in the vascular region. In tubers frozen for more than half an hour the cut surface of the thawed tuber shows diffuse areas of black discolouration. If the tubers are frozen for about 4–5hr they show no blotch or discolouration but on thawing the whole tuber becomes wet and soft and liquid oozes out of it. 

Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 40
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Cucurbitaceae
Genus
:
Cucurbita
 
Pumpkin occupies a prominent place among vegetables owing to its high productivity, nutritive value, good storability, long period of availability, better transport qualities and extensive cultivation in subtropical and tropical parts of the world. It is used both in immature and mature stages as a vegetable. It is also consumed as processed and stock feed. The flesh is delicious when fried, stewed, boiled or baked. The fruits are sweetish when fully mature and can be used in preparing sweets, candy or fermented into beverages. Yellow or orange-fleshed pumpkins are rich in carotene. Its young leaves, tender stem and flowers are also cooked and consumed. In India, it is grown mainly in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar.
   
Climate and soil  

Pumpkin can be grown in various kinds of soils but sandy loam to loam soils are ideal. A well-drained field should be incorporated with organic fertilizers before planting. It can be grown in slightly acidic soils also. The pH of 5.5–6.8 is optimum.

It requires a long and warm growing season. A temperature of 18°–30°C is optimum. Short days, low temperatures (18°–30°C), high relative humidity, bright sunshine are ideal for its cultivation.

 
Varieties

Improved varieties of pumpkin are:

Ambili

The plant has a spreading habit. Fruits are flat, round and green, weighing about 6 kg each. Flesh is 4.3cm thick. The yield is 15–38kg/plant.

Arka Chandan

Fruits are round with flat blossom end and medium in size (2–3kg), the rind gets light brown on maturity. Flesh is thick, firm, sweet (TSS 8–10%), bright orange and rich in carotene (3,331 IU/100g of flesh) with a pleasant aroma. It has good cooking and keeping qualities. The yield is 325 q/ha in 120 days. It is recommended for cultivation in humid to semi-arid Western Ghats and Karnataka.

Co 1

It is a late-maturing variety with globular fruits weighing 7–8kg and flattened at the base. The flesh is 4–5cm thick. Each vine produces 7–9 fruits.

Co 2

It is an early-maturing variety. Each vine produces 10–12 fruits, the yield being 230–250q/ha. Fruits are green.

Pusa Hybrid 1

First F1 hybrid, it is suitable for growing in Punjab, Kerala and Delhi region. Its fruits are round, flat, weighing on an average 5.0kg each. They mature in 120 days, yielding 450q/ha.

Pusa Vikas

Fruits are small-sized, weighing on an average 2.5kg each, round, flat with yellow flesh. Since it matures in 115 days, it is suitable for both home gardening and commercial cultivation in northern plains of India, the yield being 300q/ha.

Pusa Vishwas

Fruits are light brown, spherical with thick, golden-yellow flesh, weighing up to 5.0kg. Its yield is 400q/ha in 120 days. This is ideal for growing in the western Himalayan region, sub-humid Sutlej–Ganga alluvial plains, humid eastern and south eastern uplands and humid to semi-arid Western Ghat and Karnataka plateau.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing

February–March is sowing time for summer crop in north Indian plains, whereas April–May for rainy season crop in West Bengal and June–July in other parts. In Tamil Nadu, July–August is the best sowing time. In north-Indian hills, it is sown in April–May.

Its seeds are sown directly in the field on raised beds or in furrows or trenches or pits. In raised beds, 2 seeds/hill are sown on both sides. The pits of 60cm × 60cm × 60cm size are dug. A seed rate of 5–6kg/ha is optimum.

The ‘channel and hill' system of cultivation is most useful and scientific for higher yield. After preparing the field, 45cm wide and 25–30cm deep channels are made preferably from east to west 3.0–4.5m apart. The northern slope of each of the channel is prepared for sowing seeds or planting the seedlings at a spacing of 60–75cm.

Land preparation

The land should be thoroughly prepared by ploughing 4–5 times. Farmyard manure @ 25–30 tonnes/ha is mixed thoroughly in the field. The application of inorganic fertilizer varies according to soil and agroclimatic conditions.

Full quantity of P and K and half of N are applied at the time of land preparation. The remaining N is applied in 3 split doses 20, 40, and 60 days after sowing. Apply BHC @ 15–20kg/ha to control termites and cutworms in the soil at the time of land preparation. The seeds should be soaked in a fungicidal solution @ 2g of captan/litre of water for 3–4hr.

Interculture

About 2–3 weedings are required for raising a good crop, starting 20 days after sowing.

Irrigation

Summer crop requires more frequent irrigation than rainy season. At the early sowing, there should be no scarcity of water. In summer, the crop should be irrigated at 5–6 days interval. During maturity frequency of irrigation should be reduced.  

Off-season cultivation

Pumpkin is well-suited for off-season (late-winter and early-spring season) cultivation in plains by raising its nursery (seedlings) in a polyhouse during winter (December–January). The seedlings are planted in the first week of February. Thus, its harvesting can be advanced by one or one-and-a-half months than the normal sowing in the first or second week or March. This technology fetches bonus price due to marketing of the produce early in the season. The seedlings are raised in small polythene bags protected from cold winds and frost by putting them under a polyhouse made up of polythene sheets. The raised seedlings are planted in January-end or in the first week of February. By adopting the flooring system made up of bamboo, more number of polythene bags can be accommodated and the space of polythene house is efficiently managed.

Seed production

Pumpkin is highly allogamous in nature. Hence, maintaining proper isolation distance between the cross-compatible varieties or species is necessary. Honeybees are chief insect-pollinators for pumpkin. The cross-compatible species like C. pepo and C. mixta should be planted in isolation from pumpkin ( C. moschata ). It is also observed that the pollen grains of non-crossable species sometimes stimulate the ovary of pumpkin ( C. moschata ) and that leads to development of parthenocarpic fruits which ultimately reduce the seed yield. Therefore, for higher seed yield as well as to avoid mechanical mixtures, the desired variety of pumpkin should be grown at 1,000m in isolation against other varieties and species.

Rogueing of diseased and off type plants from the seed crop before they start flowering is also an important criteria to produce good quality seed.

Hybrid seed production

Hybrid seed can be easily and economically produced commercially by pinching all male flowers before they open from female parents and by allowing the male parents to grow side-by-side with female parents for natural cross-pollination. Male and female parents can be grown in a 1:3 ratio. The F1 seeds can be extracted after harvesting mature fruits from the female lines. Since male flowers in pumpkin are quite showy, large in size and less in number compared to other cucurbits, pinching or removal of male flower buds can easily be done by any person who can differentiate between male and female flowers. Care should be taken that no male flower is allowed to remain open on plants of female lines. The F 1 seed crop consisting of the 2 parental lines (male and female) should be raised under isolation with no other pumpkin variety within a radius of at least 500m.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The pumpkin fruits reach maturity 75–180 days after sowing depending on variety and season. Since mature fruits have long storage life, they can be easily transported to distant markets. The yield of pumpkin varies from 250 to 400q/ha.

The harvested fruits are cleaned. The deformed and wounded fruits should be discarded. The fruits are graded according to shape, colour and maturity.

The pumpkins may be stored for 2–3 weeks at 15°–20°C as holding temperature at 75% relative humidity. Well-mature pumpkins can be stored for 4–6 months in a well-ventilated chamber. 

Nutritional Value
 
 
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