|AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE||Monday, September 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
Exploit baby corn potential
Get sweetness of strawberry
Let the flower of gods bless you
Farm operations for September
Exploit baby corn potential
Baby corn, a new vegetable not so popular yet, is an emerging potential crop among the progressive farmers around big cities. It is used for preparing soups, vegetable biryani, mixed vegetable, Chinese food, etc., besides crispy salad and pickle.
Baby corn, the tender de-husked young ear of the female inflorescence of maize plant, harvested before fertilisation, is sweet in taste and crisp.
It has a vast export potential as it is extensively eaten in developed countries. It can be exported to the USA and European countries after canning in 2 % citric acid. The remains of the crop raised for baby corn can be used as a nutritive green fodder.
Baby corn may be grown in all types of well-drained soils ranging from sandy loam to silty loam soils. Any variety of maize can be grown for the production of baby corn, but for its commercial production the variety should have early maturity, short duration, more corns per plant, synchronised maturity, and yellow coloured corns. Composite kesri and hybrid Prakash are most suitable varieties, recommended by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, of which hybrid Prakash is the best as it gives a higher yield of uniform and good quality baby corns. It is possible to have three or more crops from the same piece of land as this crop matures in less than 60 days and staggered sowing should be done to maintain the supply as per market requirements.
The sowing of baby corn can be done at any time between February and October in a well-prepared field. The seed rate for an acre is 15 kg. Sowing should be done 3-5 cm deep, keeping the row spacing of 40-60 cm and plant spacing of 10-15 cm, using a seed drill after treating the seed with Carbendazim (Bavistin) @ 3g per kg seed against seed rot and seedling blight.
A dose of l00 kg urea in 3 equal split doses each at sowing, knee-high stage (about 30 days after sowing) and tasseling stage, along with a basal dose of 50 kg single super phosphate and 25 kg muriate of potash per acre should be applied. Irrigation is required 3-4 times throughout the crop season, particularly during pre-tasseling and silking stage. Flooding, particularly at young stage, should be avoided and excessive water should be drained away in case of flooding for prolonged periods.
Apply Atrazine 50WP or Simazine 50WP @ 800g or Alachlor 50EC @ 2 litre per acre within 2 days of sowing in 200 litre of water against annual grasses and broad-leaf weeds as pre-emergence herbicide.
Spray the crop 2-3 weeks after sowing using 80 litre water with Fenvalerate 20EC (60 ml) or Cypermethrin 10EC (60 ml) or Deltamethrin 2.8EC (125 ml) or Carbary l50WP (150 ml) or Endosulfan 35EC (150 ml) or Monocrotophos 36SL (150ml) against insects and pests (maize borer, jassids, thrips, hairy caterpillars, etc). To control downy mildews spray Mencozeb (Dithane M-45) @ 200g per 100 litre of water. In case of zinc deficiency — symptoms such as broad bands of white or light yellow patches with reddish veins along the midrib — spray a zinc sulphate (1.2 kg) and unslaked lime (0.6 kg) mixture with 200 litre of water per acre.
Detasseling: Since baby corn is an immature part of the female flower, removing the male flower (tassels) is mandatory. De-tasseling should be done immediately after the tassels are seen in the field to avoid pollination.
Each plant produces 3-4 uniform-sized ears (8-10 cm long, 1-1.5 cm thick and of 7-8 g weight) which may be picked 47-50 days after sowing, just after the silk emergence stage in three pickings from each plant, as the ears picked later would be pithy, woody and of poor quality. The harvesting continues for 8-10 days. About 50,000 plants may be accommodated per acre. Tender ears with single husk layer may be marketed after de-husking.
It yields 7-8 quintals of de-husked ears per acre under good crop management and 125-150 quintals of green fodder. The cost of production of baby corn comes to Rs 8,000-10,000 per acre. The price of fresh baby corn varies in the market between Rs 70-80 per kg and that of green fodder Rs 30-40. Thus the total income comes to about Rs 55,000 per acre, the net profit being Rs 45,000 per acre.
The cultivation of baby corn is concentrated only around big
cities, but its potential is still to be exploited since its
cultivation is very remunerative in a short span of time (60 days) and
more than two crops can be taken from the same piece of land.
Get sweetness of strawberry
Strawberry (Fragaria spp) is grown on a limited scale because of its highly perishable nature. It belongs to the family Rosaceae. It has a tremendous scope for cultivation near towns and canning units where the produce can be utilised immediately after harvest. Strawberry is more profitable in the shortest possible time as compared to other fruits. The fruit is delicious, attractive, has a pleasant aroma and a delicate flavour. It is also nutritious and beneficial in anemic persons.
It can be grown in plains as well as hills in tropical, subtropical and temperate climates up to an elevation of 3000 MASL. Well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 5.5-6.5, and exposed to sunlight for 8-10 hours is must to get a good flower and fruit setting.
Chandler: Fruit very large, flesh and skin firm, desert and processing quality good, TSS/acid ratio 9.97, tolerant to viruses and excellent runner producer.
Seascape: Fruit large, flesh and skin firmness medium, desert and quality excellent, processing quality good, TSS 7.4 %, acidity 0.7 % and TSS/acid ratio 10.68. Ripening starts by the first week of April.
Tigra: Fruit very large, flesh and skin firm, desert and processing quality good and tolerant to virus. TSS 7.4 %, acidity 0.6 % and TSS/acid ratio 9.25.
Selra: This variety has the capacity to produce off-season fruit. Fruit shape is conic to blocky; large and firm. TSS 7 %, acidity 7 %.
Pajaro: A very good variety for summer season. The fruit is large, symmetrical, attractive and firm. Good for processing and runner-producer.
Stawberries are propagated by two methods — by planting of runners or crowns. Early formed runners are vigorous, have a good root system and are more productive and, thus, should be preferred for planting.
Planting should be done on well-prepared raised beds during August-September or March-April for the summer crop. Late planting results in reduction in yield during the first year. The distance from plant to plant and row to row is kept 30x60 cm.
For good yield and quality, the following manure/ fertiliser doses are required per hectare: farm yard manure 55 tonne; nitrogen 100 kg; phosphorus 80 kg; potassium 100 kg. Apply full doses of FYM, phosphorus, potassium and half of nitrogen at the time of bed preparation. The rest of the nitrogen should be applied before flowering in January-February.
Weeds are very harmful for strawberry crops because they compete with the fruit plants for nutrients and water. It is important to keep the field clean during cultivation, either by using herbicides or by hoeing to kill the weeds. Light earthing is profitable for strawberry plants to conserve more water close to the crown. Hoeing is required at 15-day intervals during flowering and runner formation. Strawberry is a dicot plant so a pre-emergence weedicide can also be used to control weeds like STOMP, basalin, etc. (6 ltr and 2.5 ltr, respectively, per hectare). These weedicides should be applied at least 25 days before transplanting.
The major pest of strawberry is red mite, which can be controlled by Dicofol (1 ml/ 1litre water.) Minor pests are jassids, thrips, aphids and mealy bugs, which can be controlled by 0.1 % of Ethion, Nuvan and Chloropyriphos.
Root rot, powdery mildew and anthracnose are the common diseases in strawberry. Captain and thiophenate methyl (0.2 %) are effective to control these diseases.
Mulching is a very important aspect in strawberry cultivation to conserve soil moisture, check weeds and avoid the contact of berries with soil. The straw of wheat and dry grass is the best mulching material, though black and transparent polythene can also be used for mulching in the fields. Before mulching, the soil should be dusted with an insecticide to protect the strawberry from insects.
The fruit starts coming up in the month of April (planted by September-October). Successive crops can be taken; however, the yield and quality deteriorate after two seasons. The fruit is harvested along with the stalk when 50 per cent of the surface has attained red colour. The fruit should be picked daily in warm weather. Farmers can get 15 to 20 pieces of 250 gm each from one plant.
Let the flower of gods bless you
Marigold, an annual flower belonging to family Asteraceae, is native of Central and South America, especially Mexico. Three species, Tagetes erecta (African marigold), T. patula (French marigold) and T. tenuifolia (Striped marigold), are the most common in cultivation. T. minuta contains higher essential oil of very good quality which can be used in the perfume industry. The use of marigold in religious and other ceremonies is due to Portuguese influence in Western India.
Marigolds are one of the most important traditional flowers being grown in 15,000 hectares in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. In India, these are used commonly for making garlands for religious and social functions. Globular shaped flowers with long stalks are used for cut-flower purposes. In gardens marigold provides beautification of beds and borders. An orange pigment extracted from petals is in great demand for poultry feed. Marigold is also grown for keeping the nematode population in soil under control.
At present, only open pollinated varieties are grown, which are very low yielding. In recent years, growing of F1 hybrids of marigold is on increase in various countries due to numerous advantages these hybrids offer over open-pollinated varieties. The advantages are "earliness," profuse and uniform flowering, increased flower weight, large flower size and disease resistance. The cost of F1 hybrid seeds of marigold in the international market is about Rs 3 lakh per kg. Two varieties, Pusa Narangi Gainda and Pusa Basanti Gainda, were released in 1996 from IARI, New Delhi for loose flower purposes. In 1997 an attempt was made at IARI, using male sterility, at F 1 hybrid seed production. As a result 33 hybrids were developed and seven hybrids were found promising for commercial cultivation.
Marigold requires less fertile, sandy loam soil, pH 7.0-7.5 and temperatures of 14.5 C-28.6 C, which made it the choice among growers. One gram of seed contains 150-300 seeds and is sown in nursery beds in September-October in the plains and February-March in the hills and transplanting is done after one month.
Weeding, hoeing, irrigation and foliar application of 0.1 per cent urea and pest control should be done. Pinching is the most important agronomical practice that increases flower production and is done after 30-40 days of transplanting. Fully opened flowers are harvested during evening hours and are kept open for a few hours to lose field heat before packing in jute bags or bamboo baskets. Loose flowers are sold at Fatehpur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Nangal, Hardwar, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, etc. Generally orange coloured cultivars are in greater demand over yellow or golden yellow. The flower size for garland purpose should be less than 9 cm in diameter. The flower yield varies with species, varieties and season.
The flower produced in hilly areas is generally termed as off-season (summer crop). It has been observed that marigold is in great demand during festivals and marriages, especially Krishna Janmashtmi, Dasehra, Gurpurb, and Divali. Technology has been developed at Dr YS Parmar University, Solan, for obtaining flowers round the year. A farmer can obtain a net profit of Rs 7,000-10,000 from 800 square metres of land in a season. The profit, however, depends on the seasons yield and the marketing ability of the farmer.
Farm operations for September
— Use healthy and disease-free seed.
— Disinfect the tubers before sowing with solution of 0.5% Agallol or 0.25% Emisan/Tafasan for 10 minutes.
— Drill 80 kg urea, 155 kg superphosphate, 40 kg muriate of potash per acre at the time of sowing. Application of FYM @ 20 tonnes per acre or green manuring is beneficial for this crop.
— For weed control, use Atrataf 50 WP @ 200 g or Stomp 30 EC @ 1.0 litre/ acre or Sencor 70 WP @ 200 g/acre as per-emergence application or Gramoxone @ 500 ml/acre at the stage when most of the weeds have emerged and potato crop shows 5-10% emergence. Use 250 to 300 litres of water in knap-sack sprayer fitted with flat fan nozzle and 100 litres of water with power sprayer.
— To control weeds, spray Stomp 30 EC @ 1 litre/acre as pre-emergence application using 150-200 litres of water.
— Avoid early sowing to check wilt/root rot diseases. Pea wilt can be controlled by treating seeds with Bavistin @ 1 g/kg seed.
— Avoid early sowing, i.e. not before mid-October, to check the damage caused by pea stem fly. Apply 3 kg Thimet 10 G or 10 kg Furadan 3 G acre in furrows at sowing for reducing the infestation of stem fly.
— Sowing of late season varieties of cauliflower like Pusa Snow Ball-16, Pusa Snow Ball-1, and Pusa Snow Ball K-1 can be started. Sow 250 g seed in one marla to grow seedlings for planting an acre.
— To control weeds in cole crops apply Basalin @ 750 ml per acre four days before transplanting. Herbicide should be thoroughly incorporated into the soil with the help of irrigation or light harrowing. Application of Stomp 30 EC one litre/ acre or 750 ml/acre + one hoeing 35 days after transplanting can also be used.