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Friday, 30 March 2012

CHILLI - A vegetable of Taste


A bearing Chilly plant
As you know, Chilli is an essential item of vegetable in Asian countries. It is mainly used for giving hot taste for curries and dishes. Besides, it also gives a great quantity of vitamin C.
green Chilly
This is an easily grown vegetable in homestead. Today, many high yielding varieties with different size of fruits are available for planting. Jwalasakhi, Jwalamukhi, Ujwla, Anugraha, G4, G5, NP46A,Jwala, Punjablal, BSS-141, BSS-138 are some of such varieties.
A young Chilli plant 
Chilli is a transplanted crop. Seeds have to be sown in beds. Irrigate the bed well. Bed may be covered with green leaves, up to germination, to avoid loss of moisture and keep optimum humidity. After germination irrigation may be reduced as once in a week. When the seedlings are one month old they can be transplanted in channels at a spacing of 45x30cm. May –August and September- December are best seasons for planting in Kerala.
Apply well rotten kitchen waste or cow dung powder as basal manure.Fertilisers @ 750 grams Urea, 2 kg Super phosphate and 200 grams Murate of potash per 100 sq m may also be added in channels before planting.
Irrigate the transplanted seedlings once in two days. Weeding must be done in time to time.
Ripe Chilly fruits
Bacterial wilt is the main threat to Chilli. Destroy infected plants as soon possible to control this. Spraying of 1% Bordeo mixture once in a month  is very effective to control such diseases.
Harvest can be started 90 days after sowing. Harvest will last for 2-3 months. We may get 1 to 2 kg of yield from a plant.




  

Thursday, 29 March 2012

DOLICHOS BEAN - A vegetable that gives yield daily.


Scientific name of this vegetable is Lablab purpureus. It is known as Avara/Amara in Kerala. It is a legume widely grown in world as vegetable or pulses for human consumption and forage for livestock. In Kerala, Dolichos has been cultivating since years. It is grown well during summer in kerala.
Trailing and bush varieties are available in this vegetable. Pusa Early Prolific is one of the high yielding trailing varieties. It can be grown easily in homestead garden. Sunny area should be selected for this crop.
Seeds are used for propagation. Seeds can be sown in pits of 60cm in diameter and 30cm in depth during Aug-September. Cow dung powder or any other organic manure should be applied in pits before sowing. Three plants can be retained in a pit. One pit is enough for a family.
When the plants start vining, trellis for trailing should be provided. Regular irrigation and manuring is necessary. Cow dung slurry can be used as manure once in a month.
Bush varieties can be grown in furrows during summer.
The leaf caterpillar is a common pest of this crop. Avoid chemical pesticides as far as possible.
Harvesting of bush varieties can be started 45 days after sowing. But in the case of trailing type it will take some  more days.

  

Sunday, 25 March 2012

LITTLE GOURD



Scientific name of this vegetable is Coccinia grandis. It is also known as Koval in India. Its fruits are small and rich source of nutrients. Fruits of this vegetable have been found to be effective to prevent Diabetes.

This is a trailing type vegetable. Stem cuttings with three or four nodes selected from high yielding varieties should be used for planting. As male and female plants are seen separate, cuttings for planting should be collected from female plants.
Little gourd is grown in pits of 60cm diameter and 30cm depth. About, 15 kg of organic manure may be applied in pits at the time of planting. When the plants start vining provide trailing materials.
Irrigate the plant once in four days. Some organic manure should also be applied 30 days after planting.
No major pest and diseases are seen on this crop.
Usually Little gourd gives yield frequently with out much care.      
  

                                                                    

Saturday, 24 March 2012

ASH GOURD - as remedy for many diseases ?


Tender Fruit
Ash gourd is also known as white gourd, winter melon, white pumpkin etc. It contains lot of water and fiber and is excellent source of vitamins B1, B3,C and minerals. This has been found to be effective for the treatment of peptic ulcers, constipation, kidney stones, dandruff etc. Ash gourd is widely used in vegetable curries in India. This trailing type vegetable can be grown in homestead garden.
Seeds are used for propagation. Main seasons of cropping are Jan-March, May-June and Sept-October. Seeds have to be sown in pits of 60cm diameter and 30cm depth. Use 3or4 seeds in one pit after mixing soil with cow dung powder or decomposed organic waste. Only one pit is required for a family.
Irrigate plants once in 4 days. Manuring using kitchen waste and raking should be done two or three times. Earth up during rainy season for better growth.
Major pests of Ash gourd are Epilachna beetle and fruit fly. The Epilachna beetles may severely attack in seedlings stage.  To control these pests use Neem based organic insecticides such as Neem kernal suspension, Neem oil-garlic emulsion etc. Banana fruit trap has been found to be more effective against fruit fly.
Harvest tender or mature fruits according to requirement. Mature fruits are seen in white color.
Mature Fruit
  

                                                                    

Thursday, 22 March 2012

SNAKE GOURD


Snake gourd can be easily grown in homestead garden. This vegetable is a trailing one. Its fruits are long like snake that is why this is called snake gourd. It contains vitamins A, B and C.
Seeds are used for propagation. Jan-March and Sept-December are best seasons for sowing snake gourd. Seeds can be sown in pit of 60 cm diameter and 30cm depth. Decomposed vegetable waste from kitchen may be applied in pit before planting. One pit is enough for a family.
Irrigate once in four days. Weeding and manuring is necessary for getting more fruits. Kitchen waste can be used for manuring.
Take care to pick tender fruits.  

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Cucumber & Oriental Pickling Melon


Cucumber and Oriental Pickling melon are easy growing vegetables belong to cucurbits group. Cucumber is mainly used for salad purpose whereas oriental pickling melon is used as cooked food.

Cucumber is seen very effective to prevent dark circle formation around human eyes.

The ideal seasons for sowing Cucumber are January –March and September –December. Rainy season is not suitable for this crop.

Seeds can be sown in pits of 60cm diameter and 30cm depth. Pits should be raked well after applying some decomposed kitchen waste. One pit of 3plants is enough for a four member family.

Regular irrigation, weeding and manuring should be done for getting good yield.
The main pest of this crop is a kind beetle named Epilachna beetle. This beetle destroys plants eating entire leaves, if not control. Remove and destroy eggs and adult beetle. Avoid chemical pesticides as far as possible.

Take care to harvest tender fruits of cucumber for salad.

Cucumber fruit

Monday, 19 March 2012

Pumpkin


Pumpkin fruits
 Almost all people like Pumpkin. This vegetable is used regularly by some people.  Some dislikes the sweetness of this. Such people can use tender fruits of Pumpkin. As matured pumpkin is sweat, it can be used for making sweat dishes like Halva, cake etc. Ripe pumpkin has keeping quality up to one year. But tender fruits have no such quality.  This vegetable can be grown in homestead garden very easily. It doesn’t need much care. One or two plants are enough for a family.
Pumpkin plant

The main planting seasons of Pumpkin are Jan-February, May-June and Sept- October. Rain fed crop is better for homestead gardens. As this is a trailing one, suitable place should be selected. One pit of 2 or 3 plants is enough. The pit may be in 60cm diameter and 30cm depth. 4 or 5 seeds may be sown in one pit. One week after germination retain only 2 or 3 plants in pit. Well rotten kitchen waste may be applied in pits before sowing.

High yielding Indian varieties: Ambili, Suvarna, Saras and Sooraj

The major disease in Pumpkin is  Mosaic disease caused by virus. This may cause  total destruction of crop.
A Mosaic disease infested plant

                                                                    

Saturday, 17 March 2012

TOMATO - a beauty in vegetables


Fruits in oblong shape
Don’t you care the beauty of tomato? Its color! Shape! Etc. In some countries like Spain tomato festival is celebrated. Do you think why they are celebrating so? I think that the reason is beauty of this fruit and its attraction. It is not only beautiful but also nutritive. It contains protein, fat, vitamins-A,B&C and many minerals. This vegetable is an inevitable item of food in India.
A floweringTumato plant 
 Let us see how Tomato can be grown in our homestead. Seeds can be sown in raised beds .Irrigate the bed well. Bed may be covered with green leaves, up to germination, to avoid loss of moisture and keep optimum humidity. After germination irrigation may be reduced as once in a week. When the seedlings are one month old they can be transplanted in channels at a spacing of 60x60cm. October –November is best season in Kerala.
Bearing plant
Apply well rotten kitchen waste or cow dung powder as basal manure. Fertilisers @ 750 grams Urea, 2 kg Super phosphate and 200 grams Murate of potash per 100 sq m may also be added in channels before planting.
Fruits in round shape
Irrigate the transplanted seedlings once in two days. Weeding must be done in time to time. Stake the plants if necessary.

Bacterial wilt is the main threat to Tomato. Destroy infected plants as soon possible to control this. Spraying of 1% Bordeo-mixture once in a month  is very effective to control such diseases.
Harvest can be started 45-60 days after sowing. We may get 1 to 5 kg of fruits from a plant.
Tumato fruit?
   

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Chekkurmanis-an inexpensive homestead vegetable


The scientific name of this leafy vegetable is sauropus androgynus. This can be grown easily in homestead gardens. No separate area is needed for this. On borders of homestead, it can be planted. Its leaves contain much vitamin A and minerals. Tender leaves and shoots are used for vegetable purpose.
The main season for planting is May-June. (onset of monsoon). Stem cuttings in a length of 20-30cm and 6-10 months old are to be planted. It does not need much care. Kitchen waste can be used as manure. Do irrigation regularly during summer.
Regular harvest gives more yields. Shoots should be pruned intermittently to check the height of plants.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Drumstick -an easy growing vegetable


FLOWERING DRUMSTICK TREE

The drumstick( Moringa oleifera) is widely grown in India. It is an easily and fast growing one. Its fruits, leaves and flowers are used as vegetable. Its bark is also used as medicine. Stem cuttings in a length of 1-1.5 m  are used for planting. Seeds are also used for propagation. One or two cuttings are enough for a family. Corner space in homestead garden can be used for growing this tree.


DRUMSTICK LEAVES
The best time for planting cuttings is onset of monsoon. Usually the cuttings sprout within a week. It does not need any care during rainy season. In summer the cuttings may be irrigated, in case the drought is severe. If the purpose of tree is only getting leaves, regular irrigation must be given during summer .At the same time leaves should not be nipped, if the purpose is pods/fruits.  We may get 10-25 kgs of pods  from a tree.   

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cowpea-a leafy vegetable?


Cowpea can be grown in homestead gardens throughout the year. Cowpea is grown for vegetable purpose and grain purpose. Vegetable type cowpeas are suitable for homestead gardens. Because the grain type cowpeas requires more area for its cultivation. Though the cowpea is grown mainly for pods, leaves can also be used for vegetable purpose. Cowpea leaf has almost all qualities of other leafy vegetables.
A cowpea variety in green color

The best month for sowing cowpea in Kerala is May. Other seasons are Sept-October and Dec-January.  Seeds can be sown in channels of 30 cm width and 15 cm depth. Spacing of 15 cm between plants and 45 cm between rows may be given.  Irrigate once or twice for germination of seeds. A layer of cow dung powder/compost may be added in channels before sowing. Some fertilizers @ 1500gram Super phosphate and 200 gram Murate of potash per 100 sq meters may also be applied at the time sowing. Ammonium sulphate @ 1kg per 100 sq meter can be applied 15-20 days after sowing in two or three times.

A cowpea in purple color
Irrigate the crop once in a week if necessary. Aphids, Fruit borer and Stem borer are the main pests of cowpea. Tobacco decoction or Kerosene emulsion can be sprayed to control these pests.   Leaves for vegetable purpose can be nipped two or three times before flowering.  Pods in tender stage may be harvested for vegetable purpose. Matured and dried pods may be collected for grain purpose. 


Cowpea tender fruits
    



Sunday, 11 March 2012

Homestead Vegetables-Bitter gourd (An Anti Diabetic Fruit)


Bitter gourd is bitter vegetable that belongs to cucurbits. It contains many nutrients especially iron and vitamins. According to ayurveda, having one glass of bitter gourd juice daily reduce the blood sugar of Diabetic patients. Bitter gourd is mainly used for preparing side dish. It can also be used for making fry by drying in sunlight. For making this, fruits are cut in to pieces and get dried in sun light after adding required salt.

As Bitter gourd is a trailing vegetable, suitable area should be selected in homestead. Usually it is grown in round basins/pits of 30 cm depth during summer. Main seasons for planting Bitter gourd are Jan-March and Sept –December. Rainy season is not suitable for growing this vegetable.
For a family consists of 3-4 members 2 pits of Bitter gourd plants are enough. Before sowing seeds in pits it should be manured with cow dung powder or compost and raked well. Add 200 grams of fertilizer mixture of urea,super phosphate and Murate of potash  mixed in proportion of 7:10: 5.   4 seeds may be sown in each pit. Keep moisture in pit till germination of seeds. Then irrigate in alternate days in initial stage of growth.
Bittergourd trailing on Pandal
Provide trailing materials when plants start vining. 100 grams of urea may be applied in each pit in 3-4 times in an interval of 15-20 days.

Fruit fly is the main pest of Bitter gourd crop. It destroys the fruits very quickly. To control this pest, fruits may be covered with polythene, paper or cloth bags till maturity. Fruit trap is also seen very efficient against this pest.

Harvest can be started two months after sowing
Ripe fruits for seed
  


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Homestead vegetables-Brinjal





The vegetable,Brinjal belongs to solanceous group. This is a popular vegetable. In almost all homes in Kerala(India) some Brinjal plants are grown for meeting their daily requirement. Brinjal is a rich source of vitamin A and B and it is also said that this vegetable has some medicinal value.

The varieties of Brinjal cultivated in India are Surya, Swetha, Haritha, Neelima, Arka, Pusa purple long, Pusa purple round etc.

The main seasons for planting Brinjal are Feb-March, May-June and Sept-October. Pest attack and diseases are the main threat of this crop. So the resistant varieties must be used for planting. For planting, seeds have to be sown on raised bed. When the seedlings are 10-12 cm high they can be transplanted at a distance of 60 cm between rows and 45 cm between plants. Use trenches in summer and furrows in rainy season for planting. Provide shade for transplanted seedlings for one week during summer. Regular watering is also necessary during the period.

Shoots of Brinjal in emergence of floering
Organic manure such as cow dung powder, compost, etc may be used as basal before planting. A layer of this manure is enough. Apply the following rate of fertilizers also at the time of planting for 100 Sq.mtr areas.
 Urea                        : 500 grams
 Superphosphate       : 2kg
 Murat of Potash       : 400 grams
One month after planting 1 Kg Urea may be applied in 3 times in an interval of 20 days.  
A fruit of a local variety
The attacks of shoot and fruit borer, aphids, jasids etc are seen in Brinjal. Avoid use of pesticides as far as possible. 

The harvest can be started 60-75 days after sowing. Following harvests may be done in alternate days. Harvest lasts for 2 months and above.  

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Homestead Vegetables – Bhindi


Bhindi is widely used as vegetable in India and other countries. This vegetable is also known as Ladies finger and Okra. The scientific name of Bhindi is Abelmoschus esculentus .
Bhindi fruits timely harvested
The main seasons for planting Bhindi are Feb-March, June-July and Oct-November. Select an open area in homestead getting enough sun light and prepare for planting by taking shallow trenches, if the season is summer. Furrows are better in rainy season. Apply farm yard manure/cowdung powder as basal manure in trenches and incorporate the same with soil well. At the time of sowing some fertilizers at the rate of 1250 grams Ammonium Sulphate, 500grms Super phosphate and 500 grams of Muriate of Potash per 100 sq meters may be applied.1250 grams of Ammonium Sulphate can be applied one month after sowing in equal two or three doses in an interval of 20 days.  
Bhindi grown in trenches during summer
Sow the seeds at a space of 60 cm between rows and 45 cm between plants. Give pre-sowing irrigation if soil is not moist enough. During summer irrigate the plants at intervals of 3-5 days. Do weeding regularly and earth up rows during rainy season.
The main pest of Bhindi is Fruit and shoot borer. For controlling this pest remove drooping shoots and damaged fruits. Avoid pesticide as far as possible.
Fruits harvested  at a time from  one plant
First harvest can be done after 45-55 days. Further harvests my be done in alternate days so as to avoid over maturity of fruits. Over matured fruits may be earmarked for seed purpose.

Dry fruits for seed 
  

Monday, 5 March 2012

Homestead Vegetables-Amaranth

Amaranth(Red)
Amaranth is a popular leafy vegetable. It is widely grown allover the world as Vegetable crop.This leafy vegetable is a rich source of iron and Vitamin-A. There are mainly two kinds of Amaranth. One is green in colour and other is red. The improved varieties of Amaranth are Co-1, Co-2, Co-3, Kannara local, Arun etc. It can be grown very easily throughout the year.

Amaranth(green)

Planting:

For planting, Amaranth seed must be sown and grown on raised bed in nursery for 20 to 30 days. Land for planting can be prepared by digging followed by leveling. Then take trenches of 20-30 cm width and add some cow dung powder or wormy compost in it. Mix the manure thoroughly with soil. The 20-30 day old seedlings grown in nursery can be transplanted in the trenches in a distance of 20 cm. Planting should be done on raised bed during rainy season. Avoid red Amaranth during periods of heavy rain.


Green Amarath planted in trenches and irrigated
Regular irrigation during summer is must.Timely weeding and manuring also has to be done for getting better yield.
Amaranth planted in trenches
First harvest can be done after two weeks of planting. Following harvests can be done once in a week. For getting better yield 1% Urea solution can be sprayed immediately after each harvest. 

Avoid use of chemical insecticide or fungicide for Amaranth as it is a leafy vegetable. In case of severe pest attack suitable organic insecticide can be used. The major pest of Amaranth is Leaf webber. 

Flowering plants for seed collection

Severe attack of Leaf webber on green Amaranth plants
 
Leaf webber on the plant

For collecting seed some plants may be allowed for flowering and maturity.