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Monday, 30 July 2012

COLEUS – An easy growing tuber crop

Coleus plants of one month old

Coleus is a tuber crop that can be grown very easily in our homestead garden. Coleus is also called Chinese potato. Its scientific name is Solenostemon rotundifolius .In Kerala it is known as Koorka. Its tuber is widely used as vegetable.
Tubers of Coleus
Coleus grows well in tropical and subtropical regions. This is mainly planted during the season between July and October. Promising varieties available in Kerala (India) are Nidhi and Sreedhara.
Coleus plants grown on a bed
Coleus is propagated by vine cuttings. Cuttings can be collected from raised nursery. Selected seed tubers are planted in nursery for this purpose. Usually we can take cuttings of 10-15cm length after three weeks from planting. Plant the vine cuttings collected from the nursery on ridges at a spacing of 30cm or on raised beds at 30x15 cm spacing. A thick layer of organic manure may be mixed with soil before planting.
Weeding and earthing up along with fertilizing should be done 30-45 days after planting for better growth and yield. Cover bottom portion of vines with soil to promote tuber formation.
No major pests or diseases are seen in the crop.
Harvest can be done five months after planting.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

POMEGRANATE - A plant of highly nutritious fruits

Pomegranate fruits
Pomegranate is a fruit plant that gives highly nutritious fruits. It grows up to 15 to 20 feet high like a small tree. It belongs to the family of Punicaceae and scientifically known as Punica granatum L .In Kerala (India) it is known as Mathala narakam. Pomegranate fruits are rich source of Protein, Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron, Potassium etc. Pomegranate plants can be grown easily in homestead garden.
Some of the promising varieties  of Pomegranate  available in India are Bedana, Kandhari, Alandi, Dholka, Kabul, Muscat red, Paper shell and Poona.
Pomegranate favors a semi-arid climate and is extremely drought- tolerant. It is propagated by hardwood cuttings and layers. Rooted cuttings or layers are planted in pits of 60x60x60cm size. Apply some organic manure in pits before planting. Irrigate the plants regularly in initial days.
For good growth and production, the plants should be manured and irrigated regularly. Manures may be applied according to the fertility of soil.
Pomegranate starts bearing one year after planting.  After 3-4 years it begins to give better yield .Usually the fruits ripen 6-7 months after flowering. Harvest only matured fruits.
No major pests or diseases are noticed in Pomegranate crop.


Monday, 2 July 2012

COWPEA – Season and different varieties

Bush type Cowpea

Being a rich source of protein cowpea is cultivated as vegetable and grain. People of Kerala are very much interested in the cultivation of Cowpea. Cowpea is also cultivated as fodder.
Season: Cowpea can be grown in any season. As a rainfed crop it can be grown in the month of June in Kerala (India).In June after the heavy showers cowpea can be sown.
1-Vegetable type :
Semi trailing type
a)     Bushy: Bhagyalakshmi, Pusa Barsathi, Pusa Komal. b) Semitrailing :Kairali, Varun, Anaswara. Kanakamoni, Arka Garima. c) Trailing type : Sharika, Malika, KMV-1, Lola, Vyjayanthi, Manjeri Local, Vylathur Local, Kurutholapayar.
2-Grain type:
   C-152, S-488, Pusa Phalguni, P-118, Pusa Do Fasli, Krisnamony, V-240, Amba,       GC-827, CO-3, Pournami and Shubra.
3-Dual purpose type:
   Kanakamony and New Era.
Plough the area to be sown thoroughly. Make channels of 15cm depth at 2m apart to drain off excess water. For grain type and dual purpose type, if dibbling is done, spacing of 25cm between rows and 15cm between plants is recommended with two seeds per hole. If broadcasting is adopted, the seeds can be sown over the field thoroughly ploughed. For bush type spacing of 30cm between rows and 15 cm between plants may be given.
Trailing type
For cultural practices and other details please see my post “COWPEA-a leafy vegetable?” of March 2012.

Bushy type Cowpea planted in pits