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Vegetable cultivation in Meghalaya

Package of practices developed for various vegetable crops suitable for Meghalaya state are covere here

Ginger

Ginger is commercially grown in almost all the states of northeastern region, but Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram are the leading ginger producing states in the region. Meghalaya is second largest producer of ginger in the country after Kerala. Ginger is the main cash crop for farmers / tribals of the region. It is used in culinary, flavourant in beverages, confectionery, pickles and pharmaceutical preparations.

Soil and climate:

It is mostly grown as rainfed crop. It does not grow well in those areas where the temperature exceeds 32oC with low relative humidity. It requires light soil rich in organic matter.

Sowing time:

It is sown from April to May in this region. But, the best time is middle of April when there is sufficient moisture in the soil.

Seed rate:

18 – 20 q rhizomes of 25 – 30 g are required for one- hectare land. The rhizome should be true to type and free from disease.

Method of planting:

Ginger is propagated from small rhizomes known as bits. Four to five cm long sprouted bits, weighing 25 – 30 g are separated from the mother rhizome for sowing. Spacing of 30 cm between rows and 25 cm between plants is considered ideal for ginger. Rhizomes are placed at a depth of 4 – 5 cm in furrows and covered with soil.

Seed treatment:

Seed treatment induces early germination and prevents seed – borne pathogens and pests. Before sowing, seed rhizome should be dipped in cow urine for half an hour. Smoking seed rhizomes once or twice before storage is also beneficial. Seed rhizomes are also treated in hot water at 48oC for 20 minutes before planting. The seed can also be treated with Dithane M-45@ 2g/liter of water.

Varieties for the region:

There are many local varieties available in the region but the most suitable high yielding varieties are given below:

Nadia : It is high yielding variety, produces green ginger about 21 – 23 t/ ha with dry matter recovery of 22.40 per cent. It has 4.2 per cent crude fibre content. This variety is well adapted to this region. It is suitable for both fresh and dry ginger.

China : It is an exotic high yielding variety and well adapted to this region. It has 6.0 per cent crude fibre and 15 per cent dry ginger recovery. It yields around 20 t/ha

Maran : It is a popular variety of Assam and least affected by Phythium aphanidermatum. The percentage of dry ginger recovery is 22.10 and crude fibre is about 6.1 %. Suitable for oil and oleoresin extraction.

Vareda : This variety ha been developed recently by IISR, Calicut. The variety has very low fibre content (around 3.8%) and high yield potential. The rhizomes are large size, bold and attractive. It gives 18 – 20 t/ ha fresh ginger yield.

Manure and fertilizer:

Farmyard manure 20 tonnes / ha should be applied at the time of field preparation followed by N: P: K @ 100: 90: 90 kg/ha. One third nitrogen and full doses of phosphorus and potassium is applied at the time of planting. One third quantity of nitrogen is applied 45 days after planting and remaining one third of nitrogen is applied at 90 – 95 days after planting.

Mulching:

Locally available mulch materials like green leaves, tree leaves (pine, banana etc), dry grasses and paddy straw may be used for control of weeds.

Earthing – up and weeding:

At least two earthing up is required for better growth and development of rhizomes. Earthing up should be done immediately after weeding and fertilizer application. Two to three manual weeding is also required for controlling the weeds.

Plant protection :

Leaf spot (Phyllosticta zingiberi): This disease causes extensive discolouration of leaves and finally drying of leaves takes place. Application of Dithane M-45 @ 2g/liter of water is found effective to control the disease.

Rhizome rot / soft rot (Pythium spp,, Rhizoctonia spp and Sclerotium rolfsii): The leaves of the affected plants become yellow. Water soaked appearance found at the base of pseudostem and rotting takes place at the basal portion. The affected rhizomes become soft, pulpy and plants easily collapse on pressing.

Control : Drenching of soil with solution of Dithane Z – 78@ 2 g / liter of water at 30 days interval is effective for control of disease.

Stem borer ( Prodioctes haematicus.) : The grubs bore into the pseudostem and cause dead heart. Spraying of Monocrotophos or Fenitrothion @ 1- 1.5 ml / liter of water is found effective for control of insect.

Harvesting : Ginger becomes ready for harvesting after 8 – 9 months of sowing (in the month of December) when the leaves started yellowing and drying.

Yield : A properly managed crop gives an average yield of 20 t/ ha in the region.

Storage : Storage is done in rooms or corners of verandah. The seed rhizomes should be dipped in solution of Dithane M – 45 @ 2g/ liter of water for 30 minutes before storage. The ginger rhizomes are taken out from the pits at least 20 – 25 days before sowing.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a Cool season vegetable grown for its white and tender curd. The curd contains a good amount of vitamin B and protein. It is also rich source of minerals mainly phosphorus and sodium.

Varieties : Varieties must be selected according to their growing season.

Table 1. Yield potential of different varieties/hybrids

Season
Var./Hybrids
Days to 50% maturity
Yield q/ha
Early Himkaran (Hyb)
45
247
Pusa Early Synthetic (OP)
68
230
Mid Pusa Sharad (OP)
72
320
No.497 (Hyb)
70
240
Late Himani (Hyb)
90
440
Mahima (Hyb)
92
310
Poosi (OP)
95
250
Meghalya Local (OP)
150
420

Soil : Sandy loam to clay loam soil with well drainage is required for good growth and yield of the crop. The optimum soil pH should be between 6 to 7.

Climate : Nowadays cauliflower can be grown in a wide range of climate, but temperature plays an important role in growth and development of the crop and selection of varieties. The optimum temperature range for curd initiation and development is 20-25oC for early season, 15-20oC for mid season and 8-12oC for late season.

Time of sowing :

  • Early season : June-July
  • Mid season : August-September
  • Late season : October-November

Seed rate :

  • Early season: 600g/ha
  • Mid and late season: 400-500 g/ha

Nursery raising : The nursery bed should be prepared by mixing well rotten FYM or compost @ 4 kg/m2 with the soil. Nursery beds should be 1 m wide and raised 15 cm above the ground. Beds should be properly drenched with Captan or Thiram @ 2 g/l of water to prevent the incidence of fungal diseases. The seeds should be sown in lines at a spacing of 8-10 cm between rows and 1.5-2 cm between seeds at a depth of 1.5-2 cm. The seed should be covered with sand and FYM mixture. In rainy season, the nursery should be raised under low cost poly house or poly tunnels. Weeding and intercultural operations should be done at regular intervals. Nursery beds should always be irrigated with rose can.

Manure and fertilizer : About 20 tonnes FYM should be added in the soil one month before transplanting in the soil. Besides FYM, 120 kg nitrogen, 60 kg phosphorus, 60 kg potash should be applied for one hectare. Half dose of nitrogen and full dose of phosphorus and potash should be given at the time of transplanting and remaining amount of nitrogen should be given in two split doses i.e. 30 and 45 days after transplanting as top dressing.

Transplanting : 4-6 weeks old healthy seedlings having 4-6 leaves should be transplanted. Before transplanting hardening of seedlings should be done by withholding of water for 4-6 days prior to transplanting.

Spacing :
  • Early Season : 45 x 30 cm
  • Mid season : 60 x 45 cm
  • Late season : 60 x 60 cm

Weeding and earthing up : Two to three weeding is sufficient to control the weeds followed by earthing up

Plant Protection :

Leaf Webber : The leaves are skeletonized by the larvae which remains on the under surface of leaves in webs and feed on them . They also attack flower buds and pods. The insect commonly attacks on earl grown crop.

Control : (i) Picking and destruction of the larvae at the early stages of the crop. (ii) Crop Should be sprayed with b Cyfluthrin @ 0.5 ml/litre of water.

Damping off : It is a common disease of nursery. In severe condition the affected seedlings droop and fall off due to infection at the collar region.

Control : Seed Should be treated with thiram @ 2-3 g/kg seed before sowing. After seed germination seedling should be drenched with bavistin @ 1g/litre or Dithane-M-45 @ 2g/litre of water.

Downy mildew : Downy mildew is a serious disease and may appear from nursery to curd formation stage. Fine hair like downy growth of fungus observed on the lower surface of leaves. Corresponding to the fungal growth there is minute pinhead brown necrotic spots visible on the upper surface of leaves, which later on coalesced to each other.

Control : Field sanitation, disease free seed and crop rotation reduce the disease.

Black rot: The pathogen attacks primarily the above ground parts of plants. The leaves midrib forming “V” shaped area, is the most characteristics symptom of the disease. The bacterium is transmitted through seed.

Control : Seed treatment with hot water of 50oC for 30 minutes is found effective to control the disease. Spray with Copper oxychloride @ 3 g/litre of water at 10 days interval.

Disorders :

Buttoning : The causes for buttoning are over-aged seedlings, poor nitrogen supply, wrong cultivars (when early variety transplanted late). The general basis of buttoning may be explained that any check in the vegetative growth of the seedlings may induce buttoning.

Whiptail : It is due to the deficiency of molybdenum. Young cauliflower plants in a shortage of this element become chlorotic and may turn white, particularly along the leaf margins, they also become cupped and wither. The whiptail develops with high nitrate supply and low molybdenum. So apply 1.0 kg per hectare Molybdenum along with NPK at the time of sowing.

Harvesting : The harvesting is to be done as soon as the curds attain right maturity and compactness. If the harvesting is delayed the curds become over mature, its quality deteriorates and turns into loose, leafy, ricy or fuzzy.

Yield : Early maturing varieties have an average yield of 150-200 q/ha. The mid season varieties give an average yield of 250-300 q/ha. However, the late season varieties yield about 350-400 q/ha.

Capsicum

Capsicum is one of the most popular and widely grown vegetable crops in north eastern region especially in hilly areas. It is highly suitable and economical under poly house condition. Its cultivation in rice fallow has been commercialized in the region. It is constituent of many food additives and adds flavour, colour, vitamin C and pungency to food items.

Soil and climate : It is a cool season crop. Sandy loam soil rich in organic matter is ideal. It cannot withstand heavy rains during flowering or fruit set. The soil and climate condition of the region is highly suitable for cultivation of capsicum.

Sowing Time : Seeds are sown in the month of November – December and planting is done during January – February.

Varieties/ Hybrids : The varieties found suitable for the region are as follows:

Open pollinated varieties : California Wonder, Hungarian Yellow Wax, TMR -23 (long)

Hybrids : Mahabharat, Bharat, Indame – 3

Seed rate : For open pollinated varieties 650 g and for hybrid 350 g seed is required for raising nursery for transplanting one hectare area.

Nursery raising: Seedlings are raised on raised beds of 15 cm height. The width of bed is kept around one metre and length may be kept as per need or availability of space (generally 5 m). The beds are dug and mixed with FYM @ 4 kg / m2 area and levelled. Before sowing, the nursery beds are drenched with Dithane M- 45 @ 3 g / m2 area to reduce the incidence of damping off. Rows at 5 cm distance along the width of bed are prepared with the help of bamboo stick. Seeds are sown 1 – 2 cm deep in line and covered with sieved FYM, sand and soil mixture. Sevin dust @ 2 g/kg seed is mixed with seed to control the insects. Nursery bed is covered with dry grass/ paddy straw or polythene for 3 – 5 days to induce early germination of seeds. Soon after sowing, the bed is irrigated with water can and it should be irrigated everyday morning and evening till germination. The coverage (rice straw etc.) is removed immediately as soon as sprouts come out. After germination, whole nursery bed should be covered with transparent polythene on top at height of 2 – 3 feet to avoid the seedlings from frosting.

Field preparation: For preparation of field, soil is ploughed 2 – 3 times with power tiller or through digging with spade. Planking is done during the last ploughing to make friable soil bed before sowing and transplanting. Raised bed of 1 m width and 5 m long and 30 cm above the soil are prepared in the rice fallow.

Transplanting and spacing: The seedlings are ready for transplanting 35 – 40 days after seed sowing when they attain a height of 10 – 15 cm and contain 4-6 leaves. 45 cm and 30 cm spacing is kept between rows and plants respectively for open pollinated varieties. However for hybrids 60 cm x 45 cm spacing is kept. Transplanting should be done during evening hours and irrigation is done immediately after transplanting if there is no rainfall at the time of transplanting.

Off-season production: Since capsicum is a high value crop, the off-season production under low cost polyhouse is found economical due to high productivity, generally two to three times higher than open conditions. Since in off-season there is scarcity of capsicum in the market, therefore, it fetches higher prices. For off-season cultivation seedlings are raised as well as transplanted under polyhouse during winter and rainy seasons to protect from the adverse effect of weather.

Manure and fertilizer: FYM or compost @ 15-20 t/ha is incorporated in the soil during land preparation. For open pollinated varieties, N:P:K is applied @ 100:80:60 kg/ha whereas, for hybrids it is @ 150:100:100 kg/ha. Half dose of nitrogen and full dose of phosphorus and potash are applied at the time of transplanting. Remaining amount of nitrogen is applied in two equal splits, first at 30 days after transplanting and next dose at 50-60 days after transplanting. After application of fertilizers, it is mixed in the soil by light hoeing followed by light irrigation in the field.

Weeding and hoeing: Two to three weeding and hoeing is essential at the initial stage of plant growth. The soil is kept loose for better growth of plants.

Plant protection measures: Anthracnose or fruit rot (Colletotrichum capsici): The disease symptom appears mostly on ripen fruits. Usually circular and sunken with black margins spots are found on the fruits. Two to three sprays of Dithance-M-45 (Mancozeb) @ 2 g/litre of water or Bordeaux mixture @ 1/% or Copper oxychloride @ 3 g/litre of water at 8-10 days interval is found effective to control the disease.

Aphids and Thrips : The nymph and adults suck the sap from tender leaves and flower buds causing curling of the leaves and flower drop respectively. Two to three sprays of Rogor (Dimethoate) @ 1 ml/litre of water or Monocrotophos @1 ml/litre of water are used at 8-10 days interval for control.

Harvesting and yield: Fruits are picked up at proper stage of maturity when they are fully mature and tender. The yield of capsicum is 100-150q/ha in open pollinated varieties and 300 q/ha in hybrids.

Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the most popular and widely grown vegetables in the region and has occupied second position in production after potato. It is a rich source of vitamin A, C and minerals including potassium, calcium, sodium and iron. Cabbage juice is said to be a remedy against poisonous mushrooms and is also used as gargle against hoarseness.

Varieties :

Both open pollinated and hybrids are suitable for Meghalaya condition (Table 1)

Season Varieties / hybrids Days to 50% maturity Yield q/ha
Early CH-21 (Hyb) 63 290
CH-2200(Hyb) 65 300
Green Empress(Hyb) 72 320
Pusa Ageti (OP) 68 280
Mid Bahar (Hyb) 85 750
BC -76 (Hyb) 85 650
BC -79 (Hyb)

78

548

Pride of India (OP) 75 308
Late Raj -2 (Large ) (Hyb) 98 648
Raj -2 (Hyb) 88 572
Green challenger (Hyb) 90 500

Climate : It requires cool and moist climate. In lower hills of Meghalaya, Cabbage is grown in winter season (Oct – Jan), while in higher hills it is grown in both rainy and winter seasons. In mid hills, Cabbage can be grown almost throughout the year.

Soil : Early crops are best grown on light soils, while late crops thrive better on heavy soils. The optimum soil pH for Cabbage is about 6.0 to 6.5.

Seed rate :

  • Early season : 500 g/ ha
  • Mid & late season : 400 g/ha

Time of sowing :

  • Early season : Mid June to July
  • Mid season : Mid August to September
  • Late season : October – November

Nursery raising : Seedlings are grown on raised nursery bed of 15 cm. The seedbed should be prepared by addition of well rotten FYM @ 4 kg/ m2 . The width of the nursery bed should not be kept more than 1 metre and length as per the need but preferably 5m. Before sowing drench the nursery beds with Dithane M-45 @ 2 g/1 of water to reduce the incidence of damping off. Sevin dust@ 2 g/ kg of seed is mixed to control insects. Sowing should be done in rows at a depth of 1.5-2 cm. After sowing, the seeds should be covered with a thin layer (1- 1.5 cm) of sand, soil and FYM mixture and light irrigation is given immediately after sowing by water can. The nursery should be protected from heavy rains. Weeding and intercultural operations should be done at regular interval.

Transplanting : 5 -6 weeks old seedlings with 4- 6 leaves are ready for transplanting. Transplanting may be done in evening. Irrigation is done just after transplanting.

Spacing :

  • Early season : 45 x 45 cm
  • Mid and late season : 60x 45 cm

Manure and fertilizer : FYM or compost @ 15 to 20 tonnes / ha is incorporated in the soil during land preparation. Besides FYM, N: P: K @ 120 :60:60 kg/ ha is applied. Full amount of phosphorus and potash along with half amount of nitrogen is applied at the time of transplanting. Remaining amount of nitrogen is applied in two split doses i.e. 30 and 45 days after transplanting as top dressing.

Weeding and earthing up : Two to three weeding is sufficient to control the weeds during the whole crop duration. Earthing up should be done after each weeding.

Plant protection :

Cutworm : The caterpillars are 3 – 4 cm long, grey or brown to almost black with various markings. The caterpillars hide in the daytime and feed at night. It damages by cutting down the young plants just above the ground level.

Control : (i) picking and destruction of the larvae at the early stages of the crop hidden under thrash.

(ii) Growing of two rows of mustard after every 25 rows of cabbage.

Leaf webber and cabbage butterfly : The leaves are skeletonized by the larvae which remains on the under surface of leaves in webs and feed on them. They also attack flower buds and pods. The insects commonly attack on early grown crop

Control : (i) picking and destruction of the larvae at the early stages of the crop

(ii) crop should be sprayed with Endosulfan @ 2 ml/ liter of water or Cyfluthrin @ 0.5 ml/ liter of water.

Damping off : It is a common disease of nursery In severe condition the affected seedlings drooped and fall off due to infection at the collar region. Seed should be treated with Thiram @ 2 – 3 g/ kg seed before sowing. After seed germination seedling should be drenched with Dithane – M- 45 @ 2g/ liter of water.

Black leg : It occurs in moist regions, especially in areas with high rainfall during the growing period. Seed should be kept in hot water (50o C) for 30 minutes or seed treatment with Mercuric chloride @ 1 g/ liter for 30 seconds to prevent disease.

Black rot : It is a bacterial disease causing yellowing of leaves. Resistant varieties like Pusa Mukta should be grown. The bacterium is transmitted through seed. Therefore seed should be treated with hot water of 50o C for 30 minutes.

Diamond back moth : The larva eat the leaves and makes the hole which affect the quality and production of heads. Spraying of Malathion @ 2.5 ml/ liter or Rogar @ 1 ml/ liter of water is found effective.

Disorders : Head bursting : Delayed harvesting of head and sudden fluctuation in temperature causes the bursting of head.

Harvesting and yield : Harvesting is done when the heads are well developed and firm. The heads are cut with a knife frequently attached with some wrapper leaves. A good crop may yield 250 – 300 q/ ha.

Colocasia

Colocasia (Colocasia esculenta), an important member of family Araceae is known as Kashriew in Khasi, Kachu in Assamese and taro, eddoe, dasheen or old cocoyam in Hindi. All the plant part i.e leaves, petioles, corms and cormels are eaten in some or other parts of north eastern region. It is an important source of food during lean period and feed for livestocks. It is abundantly grown both in nature and kitchen garden of the farmers. The farmers are generally growing local varieties as a mixed crop.

Nutritional value : It is a rich source of carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins. Starch is a main constituent of carbohydrate in colocasia. Peel contains non starch nutrients and can be used as feed. The calcium oxalate content varies from 0.1 to 0.4% on fresh weight basis. The irritating effect can be removed after boiling. It is also a rich source of Ca, P, Fe, Vit. C etc.

Soil and climate : The best soil is sandy loam or alluvial with abundant organic matter and moisture holding capacity. The land should be ploughed 2 to 3 times after applying adequate quantities of organic manure. It requires a warm humid climate with a mean temperature above 20oC. In natural habitat, it is commonly found near water sources. This crop also survives well at high altitudes on hills if frost- free conditions remain during the cropping season. An annual rainfall of 200 cm, well distributed during growth period is required for optimum tuber yields. When rainfall is low, yield is reduced.

Planting material :

(a) Small corms or setts cut from large corms.

(b) Cormels or setts cut from large cormels.

The planting material i.e. corm / cormels should be true to type, 40 – 50 g in weight, disease/insect free, without cuts and fully sprouted at the times of sowing.

Time and method of planting: May – June is the best planting time for Meghalaya. Planting is done on well prepared land in pits filled up with farm yard manures and burnt leaves, straw, bushes etc. Sprouted corms or cormels are planted 5 – 7 cm deep at a spacing of 40 – 50 cm between and within rows in the pits. When plants grow to about 30 cm height, the soil around is loosened and earthing up is done.

Water and weed management: There is sufficient rainfall in the region throughout the growing period. Therefore proper drainage is required to avoid the water logging. Weed problem is more critical at early vegetative growth and during late season. Keeping the plots free from weeds during initial periods of crop growth helps in better growth. Weeds are generally removed manually. Mulching with dried leaves just after planting reduces the weed growth. Mulching with black polythene is found beneficial for both reducing the weed and increasing the yield.

Varieties : Farmers generally grow local types which are available with them. ICAR Research complex for NEH Region, Umiam has identified several genotypes / varieties like ML – 1, ML- 2, ML- 9, BCC – 1 and Nadia Local which are not only high yielding but also moderately resistant to leaf blight, a major disease colocasia in this region.

Table 1 : Colocasia genotype recommended for Meghalaya

Variety % disease Remarks Yield (q/ha)
ML – 1 13 Moderately resistant 228
ML- 2 18 Moderately resistant 205
ML- 9 19 Moderately resistant 210
BCC – 1 10 Resistant 169

Manure and fertilizer: Being a tuber crop it responds well to manure and fertilizer application. Well rotten FYM or compost should be applied @ 12 – 15 t/ ha at the time of sowing. In addition 220 kg urea, 375 kg SSP and 134 kg MOP should also be applied per hectare. One third dose of urea and full dose of SSP and MOP should be given at the time of planting, while the remaining two third doses of Urea should be applied in 2 – 3 split doses at 30 days interval after every weeding. Initial application of NPK helps in rapid development of early leaves. The second application should be given after 2 – 3 months of sowing in order to ensure rapid and normal development of corm. Due to high rainfall, leaching of nutrients is faster in this region. Therefore fertilizers especially N should be applied in the form of several split doses. Earthing – up should be done after each top dressing.

Plant protection: Colocasia is not affected by serious diseases and insects as in other parts of the country. But in this region it is generally affected by following diseases and insects.

Leaf blight : Leaf blight of Colocasia is the most destructive and this is common in the region due to high rainfall during cropping season. When weather is cloudy, rainfall coupled with moderate temperature & high humidity, the epidemics of diseases is favoured. The diseases appears on the foliage first as purple to brownish circular water – soaked lesions of 1 – 2 cm in diameter, usually at the tip, base and margins of the leaves.

Control : The diseases can be controlled by using 2 – 3 spray of Dithane M – 45 @ 2g/liter of water followed by Ridomil @ 2 g/ liter of water after 15 days of first application. The spraying should be started 3 – 4 months after planting if symptom appears, otherwise one prophylactic spray of Dithane M – 45 @2 g/ liter of water is sufficient.

Corm borer : (Haplosonyx chalybaeus): It is a serious insect of Colocasia. The larvae makes holes in developing corms and corms become unmarketable and unfit for consumption.

Control : Carbofuran 3G @ 1.5 kg a.i. /ha applied in root zone when egg laying ooze is observed at plant base. Entomogenous fungi Beauveria bassiana@109 spores/ml found effective to control the grubs.

Leaf webber : The larvae rolls the leaves and feeds on them thereby reducing the photosynthetic area of the leaves.

Control : collect the leaves and burry them in soil. Collection of adult during June- August hiding below the leaves and leaf bases. Crop should be sprayed with Endosulfan @ 2 ml/ liter of water.

Harvesting and yield: Crop gets ready for harvest when most of the leaves begin to turn yellow. Generally, it takes 6 – 8 months after planting depending upon the variety. Damage to tubers should be avoided while harvesting. Generally 20 – 25 t/ ha tuber yield is obtained by adopting improved package of practices.

Source: ICAR Research complex for NEH Region, Umroi Road, Umiam – 793 103, Meghalaya
Phone No: 0364-2570257 (O), Fax No: 0364 - 2570363

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