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  • Crops & Vegetables

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera health benefit

Also called "the elixir of youth" by the Russians,"the herb of immortality" by the old Egyptians or

Saturday, 23 April 2011 Comments


Aparajita (Clitoria tern

Aparajita has several synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like gokarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supu

Saturday, 23 April 2011 Comments



Image - Arecanut

PlantCharacteristics The arecanut palms grow under a variety of climatic and so

Monday, 14 March 2011 Comments

Ash Gourd

ASH GOURD (Benincasa his

Image - ASH GOURD (Benincasa his

PlantCharacteristics It is annual vine trailing on the soil surface. It is also k

Monday, 14 March 2011 Comments

Crops & Vegetables

History of Banana

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The history of bananas is pretty exciting, since they are the result of a genetic mutation that evolved into a staple food of our society. In fact, bananas are probably the most widespread fruit crop in the whole world. For example, you will learn that the most widespread species - the "Cavendish" banana - was named after the Duke of Devonshire's family! Today they are known for their sweet taste, good nutritional properties (see bananas nutrition facts) with their high content in potassium and fibers (and vitamins such as B6, C and A ), and best of all their ease of use: just peel and eat!

It is important to note that the real banana tree is actually a fruit that must be cooked before eating, has a green, red or brown color and has seeds: it is today the staple food of many african populations and is different from the bananas we are used to eat. The original banana is a cultivar used as a food (cooked or ground to make banana flour) and a a source of fibre. Banana leaves are also used to transport food or as umbrellas (since they are large and waterproof)

The yellow bananas we eat today are a cross between the green and the red banana tree (species Musa acuminata or the hybrid Musa x paradisiaca), and this cross is sterile (hence the lack of seeds in the banana).

There have been numerous studies showing the health benefits of bananas, and this has proven this fruit to be very convenient, both for its ease of consumption (especially in a fast-paced work environment) and for its nutritional properties

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MANGO (Mangifera indica)

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Mango is adaptable to a wide range of climate and soil conditions and grows well from sea level up to about 1500 m above mean sea level. It withstands both fairly dry conditions and heavy rainfall.


Alphonso, Kalapady, Neelum, Mundappa, Pairi, Benishan, Alampur Benishan, Mulgoa, Suvarnarekha.

Hybrid No.45 (Bennet Alphonso x Himayuddin), Hybrid No.87 (Kalapady x Alampur Benishan), Hybrid No.151 (Kalapady x Neelum)



Plant one year old grafts with the onset of monsoon showers so that they get established before the rains. If rainfall is heavy, planting should be done during August-September.

Vegetative propagation
Stone grafting is successful in mango. August is ideal for the operation. Select four month old scion materials. Defoliation of scion shoots 10 days prior to grafting is beneficial. Grafting of 8 cm long scion on rootstocks at a height of 6 to 8 cm is most successful. The dieback disease of grafts caused by Colletotrichum can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Select good grafts for planting. Planting can be done according to the square system or hexagonal system. Prepare pits of size 1 x 1 x 1 m at a spacing of 9 m one month before planting and allow to weather. Refill pits with mixture of topsoil and 10 kg of compost or FYM per pit to a level higher than the adjoining ground. Plant the grafts at the same depths as they were in the containers, preferably in the late evening. Deep planting results in poor growth of the plant. Ensure that the graft joint is above the soil level. Tie the plants to stakes to prevent snapping at the graft joints.


Apply FYM/compost and fertilizers at the rate indicated below:

Age of plant





1st year



2nd year



3-5 years



6-7 years



8-10 years



0ver 10 years



Green leaves (25 kg/plant) and wood ash (10-15 kg/plant) may be applied additionally. Apply organic manures in May-June with the onset of monsoon. Apply the fertilizers in one dose during May-June until bearing stage and thereafter in two equal split doses, the first during May-June and the second during August-September. Apply manures and fertilizers in trenches 30 cm deep taken at a distance of 2.5 to 3 m from the base of the tree.


After cultivation
Irrigate twice a week during summer months till the plants are 4-5 years old. Grow vegetables, horse gram, black gram, pineapple and banana as intercrops in young orchards. Carry out intercultural operations by ploughing or digging twice during the year in June and October. For reducing fruit drop and to improve productivity, NAA at 10-30 ppm concentration may be sprayed to the entire inflorescence at the pea stage in the second week after fruit set.


The important pests of mango are hoppers, stem borers, shoot midges, leaf feeding insects, fruit flies and psyllids. The common diseases are the powdery mildew, anthracnose and dieback. To control mango hopper, spray carbaryl 0.1% or malathion 0.1% at the time of flowering. To control mango stem borer, apply paste made of crude carbolic acid (130 ml), soft soap (1 kg) and hot water (3.7 litres) to holes in the bark and plug the holes. Alternatively, inject aluminium phosphide tablets into the burrows after chiselling the opening and widening the burrows with an auger. To control fruit fly, spray malathion 0.1% emulsion / suspension containing 2% sugar. Collect and destroy attacked fruits that rot and drop down. Fruit flies can be effectively managed by keeping Ocimum trap @ 4 / tree and a bait spray of 0.1% malathion with 2% sugar at monthly intervals from initial fruit set up to harvest. To control the leaf feeding insects, apply carbaryl 0.1%. To control shoot midge, which causes the drying of tender shoots, apply carbaryl 0.1% or dimethoate 0.05%.


Apply wettable sulphur for the control of powdery mildew and anthracnose. To control dieback of twigs and branches, cut the affected twigs below the infected region and apply Bordeaux paste to the cut ends.


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ASH GOURD (Benincasa hispida)

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It is annual vine trailing on the soil surface. It is also known as wax gourd. The crop prefers a warm tropical climate and deep loamy soil.


KAU Local, Indu.


Preparation of land

Pits of 60 cm diameter and 30-45 cm depth are taken at 4.5 x 2.0 m spacing. Well rotten FYM and fertilizers are mixed with topsoil in the pit.

Ash gourd can be successfully grown during January-March and September-December. For rainfed crop, sowing can also be started after the receipt of the first few showers during May-June.

Seed Rate
0.75-1.0 kg/ha

3.0 m x 2.0 m

Seeds are sown at the rate of four or five per pit. Remove unhealthy plants after two weeks and retain two or three plants per pit. For trailing, spread dried twigs on the ground.


During the initial stages of growth, irrigate at an interval of three or four days. Irrigate on alternate days during flowering and fruiting.


Apply FYM @ 20-25 t/ha as basal dose along with half dose of N (35 kg) and full dose of P2O5 (25 kg) and K2O (25 kg/ha). The remaining dose of N (35 kg) can be applied in two equal split doses at the time of vining and at the time of full blooming.


Conduct weeding, and raking of the soil at the time of fertilizer application. Earthing up may be done during rainy season.


Fruit fly, epilachna beetle and red pumpkin beetle are important pests affecting ash gourd. They can be controlled as given under bitter gourd. Aphids can be controlled by spraying malathion 0.05% or quinalphos 0.03%.


Powdery mildew and mosaic are important diseases in ash gourd. They can be controlled as in bitter gourd.
Harvesting can be done only after 10 days (at least) of insecticide / fungicide application. The fruit should be washed thoroughly in water before cooking.


Fully mature fruits show disappearance of ashy bloom on the fruit surface. Harvesting starts in 90-100 days after sowing and may continue up to 150 days after sowing. The fruits can be stored in a well ventilated room for 4-5 months.


Fruit yield is 25-30 tonnes/ha.


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The arecanut palms grow under a variety of climatic and soil conditions. It grows well from almost sea level up to an altitude of 1000 m in areas of abundant and well-distributed rainfall or under irrigated conditions. It is grown in a variety of soils such as laterites, red loams and alluvial.


Selection of mother palms
Select mother palms showing earliness and regularity in bearing, high percentage of fruit set and semi-tall to dwarf in stature.

Selection of seed nuts
Select fully tree-ripe nuts from middle bunches during midseason. Discard nuts, which are undersized, malformed and low in weight.

Nursery techniques

Sow selected seed nuts soon after harvest in nursery bed with stalk-end up and with a spacing of 5-6 cm. Cover the seed nuts with sand and irrigate daily.

Transplant 90 day old sprouts having 2-3 leaves to the secondary nursery. Prepare secondary nursery beds of 150 cm width and of convenient length. Apply cattle manure @ 5 t/ha as basal dose. Transplant sprouts at a spacing of 30 x 30 cm. Provide shade by growing banana, Coccinia indica etc or by means of artificial pandal. Plant banana in advance at a spacing of 2.7 x 3.6 m when it is grown as a shade crop. Provide irrigation during hot and dry periods and drainage during monsoon. Periodical weeding and mulching are necessary.

Selection of seedlings

Select good seedlings for transplanting in the main field when they are 12-18 months old. Selection of seedlings can be based on the selection index. Multiplying leaf number by 40 and subtracting the seedling height gives the selection index. Select seedlings with higher selection index values.


Seedling height = 90 cm, Leaf number = 5.
Selection index (5 x 40)-90 = 110
(If for instance, index values range between 50 and 150, select seedlings with higher values to the extent possible). Remove seedlings with the ball of earth attached to them for transplanting.

Note: Plant characters such as girth at the collar one year after transplanting and number of nodes two years after transplanting are highly correlated with yield. Removal of plants with poor collar girth and lesser number of nodes one and two years after planting respectively, will help to increase the yield potential of plantations.


Mangala, Sumangala, Sreemangala and Mohitnagar.



Selection of site
Select sites with deep well drained soil without high water table. Provide adequate irrigation facilities.

Field planting

Plant tall, quick growing shade trees on the southern and western sides of the plantation to provide protection from sun scorching.

Plant seedlings in pits at a spacing of 2.7 m x 2.7 m with north-south alignment, the rows being deflected at an angle of 35º towards west. Dig pits of size 60 x 60 x 60 cm and fill up with rich topsoil to a level of 15 cm from the bottom. Plant seedlings at the centre of pit, cover with soil up to collar level and press around.

The planting is to be done during May-June in well-drained soils and during August-September in clayey soils. Banana may be planted between rows to provide shade in the initial stages up to 4-5 years.

Intercropping and mixed cropping
Crops such as elephant foot yam, pineapple, pepper, betel vine, banana, guinea grass, cocoa, ginger and cardamom can be grown in arecanut gardens. While planting cocoa, a spacing 2.7 x 5.4 m is recommended. In all cases, the intercrops should be manured adequately and separately.


Irrigate the palms during hot and dry periods at regular intervals of 3-5 days depending upon the soil type.

The palms should be irrigated once in four to seven days depending on the soil type and climatic factors. In west coast, where major area of arecanut gardens are irrigated, watering the garden once in seven or eight days during November-December, once in six days during January-February and once in three to five days during March-April-May is recommended. In each irrigation, give about 175 litres of water per palm. Where there is shortage of water, follow drip irrigation. Application of organic mulch to the garden helps conservation of soil moisture.

Construct drainage channels (25-30 cm deep from the bottom of pits) between the rows and drain out water during periods of heavy rainfall to prevent waterlogging.


Apply green leaf and compost, each at the rate of 12 kg per palm per year from first year of planting onwards, during September-October.

Apply N:P2O5:K2O for adult palms @ 100: 40:140 g / palm / year.

Apply 1/3 dose during first year, 2/3 dose during second year and full dose from third year onwards. Under irrigated conditions, apply fertilizers in two split doses, the first during September-October and the second during February. Under rainfed conditions, apply the second dose during March-April after the receipt of summer rains. Apply manures and fertilizers during September-October in circular basins of 15-20 cm depth and with a radius of 0.75-1.0 m from the palm. Apply the second dose of fertilizers around the base of palm after weeding and mix into soil by light forking. In acidic soils, broadcast lime at the rate of 0.5 kg per palm once in two or three years and incorporate into soil by forking during March-April.


Keep the garden free of weeds and break up surface crust by light forking or digging after cessation of monsoon during October-November. In slopes, prevent soil erosion by terracing. Sow seeds of green manure-cum-cover crops such as Mimosa invisa, Stylosanthes gracilis and Calapagonium muconoides in April-May with the onset of pre-monsoon rains. Cut and apply them to the palms in September-October.


Orange coloured mites can be controlled by spraying the bunches with dimethoate at 0.05 per cent.

Spindle bug (Carvalhoia arecae)

The feeding injury is caused on the lamina and petiole. The affected leaves show dry brown patches.

Spray crowns with carbaryl 50 WP. The spray should reach the leaf axils. Repeat spraying after 30-35 days if pest incidence continues. Placement of 2 g phorate 10G sachets on the top most two leaf axils prevents the pest attack.

Inflorescence caterpillar (Batachedra sp.)
Force open the inflorescence out of the enclosing spathe and spray malathion 50 EC (250 ml in 100 litres of water). Control slugs, which predispose inflorescence to the attack of caterpillar, by using bait of metaldehyde.

Root grub (Leucopholis burmeisteri)
Loosen soil around the base of palms to a depth of 10-15 cm and drench with chlorpyrifos 0.04% suspension twice, one in May just before the onset of southwest monsoon and again in September-October towards the close of the monsoon. Repeat application for 2 or 3 years consecutively to secure a complete eradication of the pest. Root grubs can also be controlled by soil application of phorate 10G around the palms.

Disease Management

Koleroga (Mahali or fruit rot) (Phytophthora palmivora)
Spray Bordeaux mixture 1% on all bunches three times in a year, one just before the onset of southwest monsoon and the rest at 40 days intervals. If monsoon season is prolonged give a third spray. Use rosin soda adhesive to ensure tenacity of the spray deposit on treated substrate. Remove and burn all fallen and infected nuts.

Bud rot (Phytophthora palmivora)
Remove and destroy affected spindle and leaves. In early stages of infection, scoop out affected rotten tissues by making longitudinal side splits and apply Bordeaux paste on the exposed healthy tissues or drench crown with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Basal stem rot (Anabe) (Ganoderma lucidum)
1. Isolate affected palms by digging trenches 60 cm deep and 30 cm wide around, one metre away from the base and drench with captan (0.3%), calixin (0.1%) or copper oxychloride (0.3%)
2. Remove and destroy all severely affected palms and stumps of dead palms.
3. Drench the soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture before planting healthy seedlings.
4. Discourage growing of collateral hosts of fungus such as Delonix regia and Pongamia glabra in the vicinity of gardens. 
5. Apply 2 kg neem cake per palm.
6. Avoid flood irrigation and water flowing from infected palms to healthy palms.

Yellow leaf disease
Maintain the garden properly to keep affected palms in a healthy condition by adopting recommended manurial, cultural, plant protection and other management practices. Improve drainage conditions in the garden.

Disease management

1. Apply the recommended dose of fertilizers.
2. In addition to the above, apply 160 g of rock phosphate per palm in the affected garden.
3. Apply organic manure @ 12 kg each of compost and green leaves per palm per year.
4. Provide irrigation during summer months
5. Avoid water stagnation in the garden by providing drainage facilities.
6. Grow cover crops in the garden.
7. When only a few palms are affected in a garden, remove them to prevent further spread of the disease.
8. Adopt need based plant protection measures against pests and diseases.

Band disease
Improve soil conditions by loosening hard soil strata, if present, by providing good drainage. Adopt adequate control measures against spindle bug, mealy bugs, scales and mites. Where the results of the above treatments are not found satisfactory, apply powdered mixture of copper sulphate and lime in equal quantities @ 225 g/palm twice a year at the base of affected palms. Application of borax @ 25 g/palm has been found to have an ameliorative effect.

Collar rot of seedlings
Improve drainage conditions in nursery beds and gardens. Drench spindle and base of seedlings with 1% Bordeaux mixture in disease affected nursery or garden.

Dieback of inflorescence
Remove affected inflorescence immediately. Spray zineb (4 g in 1 litre of water) or mancozeb (3 g/l) twice, once just after female flowers are set and again 15-28 days later. Aureofungin sol at 50 ppm concentration is also effective in controlling the disease.

Stem bleeding
Palms in the age group of 10-15 years are more prone to this disease. Symptoms appear on the basal portion of the stem as small discoloured depression. Later, these spots coalesce and cracks develop on the stem leading to disintegration of the fibrous tissues inside. With the progress of the disease, a brown exudate oozes out from these cracks. High water table predisposes the palm to this disease.
Improvement of drainage and root feeding of 125 ml tridemorph (1.5%) is suggested as control measure against this disease.

Sun scorch
Protect palms from southwest sun by wrapping stems with areca sheath or white-wash the exposed portion. Provide reinforcement to palms showing stem fissures. Grow tall, quick growing trees on southern and western sides of garden.

Nut splitting
This can be considered as a physiological disorder than a disease. Palms in the age group of 10-25 years are more susceptible. Symptoms are premature yellowing of the nuts when they are half to three-fourth mature. Later splits develop at the tips, which extend longitudinally exposing the kernel. Sometimes kernel also show splitting and malformation. Rarely the kernel inside may exhibit splitting without visual symptoms on the husk, resulting in nut fall. Hyper nutrition or sudden flush of water after a period of drought or insufficient moisture in the soil is the probable cause (s) of the disease.

Improvement of drainage in ill drained gardens and spraying of borax @ 2 g/litre of water are found effective in reducing the disease incidence.


Post-harvest technology
A simple de-husking device has been standardized by the CPCRI, Kasaragod. The out turn with this device is 60 kg of husked nuts in the case of dry nuts and 30 kg in the case of green nuts. The cost of the device is about Rs 250.

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SNAKE GOURD (Trichosanthes cucumerina)

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Snake gourd is a common cucurbitaceous vegetable of Kerala.It is an annual climber native to India. The crop prefers a tropical warm humid climate. A loamy soil having pH range of 6.0-7.0 is best suited for the crop. The crop cannot tolerate frost.


Kaumudi, Baby and TA-19.


January-March and September-December are the main growing seasons.
Seed rate: 3.0-4.0 kg/ha
Spacing: 2.0 m x 2.0 m
Pits of 60 cm diameter and 30-45 cm depth are taken. Well rotten FYM and fertilizers are mixed with topsoil in the pit and seeds are sown @ 4-5 per pit. After two weeks remove the unhealthy plants retaining three plants per pit.
Erect pandals for trailing snake gourd. Provide bamboo stakes and cross wires for spreading the vines. The seedlings when starts producing tendrils should be staked to thin bamboo poles using banana fibres so as to enable the vines to spread on the pandal.
Training of developing fruit
Fivedays after fruit set,at the tip of the developing fruits,a small stone is tied using a piece of banana fibre.Otherwise the developing ovary ovary will be coiled.however short fruited types do not require such training.


During the initial stages of growth irrigate at an interval of 3-4 days. Irrigate on alternate days during flowering and fruiting periods.


Apply FYM @ 20-25 t/ha as basal dose along with half dose of N (35 kg) and full dose of P2O5 (25 kg) and K2O (25 kg/ha). The remaining dose of N (35 kg) is applied in several split doses at fortnightly intervals.


Conduct weeding and raking of the soil at the time of fertilizer application.


The important pests attacking snake gourd are fruit flies, epilachna beetle and red pumpkin beetle. Control measures recommended for bitter gourd can be followed in this case also.


The important diseases are downy mildew and mosaic. The control measures as stated under bitter gourd can be adopted.
Harvesting can be done only after 10 days (at least) of insecticide / fungicide application. The fruits should be washed thoroughly in water before cooking.


The harvest starts from 78 to 80 days after sowing. The harvest is done at an interval of 5-6 days. A total number of 6-8 harvests can be done.


Yield ranges from 18 to 25 tonnes/ha.

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