nursery management of horticultural crops

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NURSERY MANAGEMENT OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS

The humid tropical climatic conditions of Andaman & Nicobar Islands facilitate cultivation of wide range of tropical horticultural crops. Since many years these crops dominated the agricultural sector are presently considered as key components for crop diversification. But their importance has increased in recent years due to increased demand of quality foods and their economic potential and suitability to the re-gion. The erratic rainfall pattern and excessive humidity cre-ated problems for efficient utilization of immense potential of horticultural crops in Islands. In era of commercial and high value agriculture, horticultural crops are front runners for bet-terment of small and marginal farmers in the Islands. Thereore, utilization of new scientific innovation and interventionin horticultural sector is become imperative for sustainableagricultural development of these fragile Islands.

Nursery is a place where plants are cultivated and grown to usable size. The nursery management gained a status of commercial venture where retailer nurseries sell planting materials to the general public, wholesale nurseries which sell only to other nurseries and to commercial landscape gardeners, and private nurseries which supply the needs of institutions or Since most of the horticultural crops are propagated by the nurseries, the document covers all the related aspects to nursery for production of quality planting materials.

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Tool and equipments:

Conventional nursery : Spade, khurpi, watering cane, fork, hoe, garden line, roller, basket, sirki, polythyne sheet, sprayer, alkathene sheet, nose-cane, duster, sticks, tags etc. Plug trays, perforated plastic trays, strip peat pots, nursery stand, sprinklers, protected structures, water pumping motor, media mixture, rakers, temperature control devices, humidity control devices, exhausters, media pressure, seed

Location and Layout of Nursery For selecting an area for establishing nursery it is worthwhile to consider the following points:Nursery should be raised in such place where no water stagnation is experienced, and have good drainage system.Land for nursery should be well drained and located at on a high level.The soil for nursery should be sandy loam and normal in PH (around 6.5-7.0).The plot for nursery should be selected near to a water source.Nursery plots should be chosen near the farm building, so that frequent supervision can be made easily. Nursery plots should be away from the shady Nursery plots should be selected at one side of the field to isolate the other fields for doing cultural practices easily.

Site should be safe from stray animals and exces-

sive diseases and pest attacks.

Raising nursery from seeds and other planting materials is easy and convenient way for ensuring better germination and root development. The planting material of horticultural crops is multiplied under nursery conditions with proper care and management for raising healthy, vigorous and disease free seedlings.

In general, vegetable crops are divided into three groups based on their relative ease for transplanting. Crops like Beet root, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato and lettuce are efficient in water absorption and rapidly from new roots after transplanting.

Vegetable crops that are moderately easy for transplanting are brinjal, onion, sweet pepper, chilli and celery which do not absorb water as efficiently as crops that are easy to trans-

plant but they form new roots relatively quickly. The vegetable crops which are difficult to transplant are cucurbits, sweet corn which requires special care during nursery raising and transplanting.

Most of fruits and tree spices are slow growing and multiplied in nursery for better seed germination and plant survival. It becomes convenient to utilize various budding and grafting tools under nursery conditions. Therefore, most of fruit

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crops are multiplied and propagated under nursery conditions. Besides, the shrubs and herbs of ornamental nature are multi-

plied under nursery conditions for their faster growth and

Necessity of Nursery:

Seedlings not only reduces the crop span but also in-

creases the uniformity of the crop and thus, harvesting as com-

pared to direct sown crops. Transplanting of seedlings also

eliminates the need for thinning and provides good opportu-

nities for virus free vigorous and off-season nursery, if grown

under protected conditions.

It is easy and convenient to manage seedlings under small area.

Effective and timely plant protection measures are possible with minimal efforts.

Nursery provide favourable climate to emerging plants for their better growth and development.

The effective utilization of unfavourable period by preparing nursery under protected conditions.

Effective input utilization for crop production by reducing initial stage crop infestations and interferences.

Seed cost of some crops like hybrid vegetables, ornamental plants, spices and some fruits can be economized through nursery.

Nursery production help in maintaining effective plant stand in shortest possible time through gap fillings.

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Requisitions of Nursery Management

Site for nursery should be selected at such places

where abundant sunshine and proper ventilation

Nursery site should be on higher location so that

water stagnation is avoidable.

In humid and rain prone areas nursery place should

be well protected from heavy rains through pro-

tected structures.

The site should be nearer to irrigation facilities and

easily accessible.

It should be protected from stray animals, snails,

Soil should be sandy loam or loamy with PH range

of 6 to 7 and rich in organic matter and free from

pathogenic inoculums.

After sowing the seed in nursery, cover the seeds

with mixture of well rotten compost + friable soil +

sand (2:1:1) and mulch with paddy straw /dried

leaves. Mulch is removed as and when seeds just

emerge above ground.

Nursery bed preparation is an important step in crop

management because it largely affects crop stand and its per-

formance at field level. Therefore, soil should be worked to a

fine tilth by repeated ploughing and spading. Dead plant parts

which are seem to be dwellers of pathogens and pests should

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be collected, removed and burnt. Well decomposed organic

manure @ 40-50 kg/10sqm, should be mixed thoroughly in

Soil treatment is an essential step in a successful nurs-

ery management because it the base for seedlings stand, source

of nutrition and pathogens. In humid Islands damping-off

caused by soil borne fungi like Pythium, Rhizoctonia,

Phytophthora etc, is a common disease in the nursery beds.

Besides, pests like snails, cutworms and termite and mites are

also damages young seedlings.

There are various measures for soil treatment like soil

solarization, chemical treatment, biocontrol treatment etc. Soil

solarization can be done with transparent polythene of 25-100

mm thickness during the hot and dry periods. For this soil

should be moist before mulching because it increases latent

heat and thermal sensitivity for resting of soil borne patho-

gens, harmful pests and weeds which can be reduced to a sus-

tainable level. Chemical treatment of nursery beds can be done

by Formalin solution (1:100:: Farmaline: water) @ 5 lt/sqm. The

treated area should be covered with polythene sheets for 7-8

days and after that it should be remained open for next 7-10

days for facilitation of formalin emission. Besides, the nursery

beds and seeds can be treated with some fungicides like

Ceresan or Bavistin @ 2g/litre before sowing. The insect-pests

can be controlled by treating soil with Chlorpyriphos or Sewin

dust powder (20-25g/sqm) before sowing and or at the time

of nursery preparation. Presently a large number of bioagents

like Trichoderma, Pseudomonas and Bacillus formulations are

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available for soil as well as seed treatment which performs as antagonist to harmful microorganisms. Some of botanicals like NSK, Neem cake, Karanj cake etc. also can be used for nursery bed treatment.

Nursery bed preparation

Before sowing seeds the beds should be leveled and pressed gently to make it firm. Nearly 15-20 cm raised beds of 45-50 cm width are always preferred for raising nursery. However, its length should be made according to the requirements or size of plots but should not exceed 5-6 m. In between beds, drains of about 30-45 cm width are prepared and connected to the main drain for removal of excess water during heavy pour.

This space facilitates easy movement during intercultural operations and acts as physical barrier for inoculums spread. The drains are flooded during dry period to modify microclimate of nursery beds in favour of seedlings.

In recent years various advancements have been made in nursery management for bed preparation to avoid possibilities of pathogen spread like use of soil less media, plug tray technique, perforated poly trays etc.

Input management in nursery production

The rooting media and seed or planting materials are important inputs for nursery production. The rooting media should be having appropriate physical and chemical properties for better germination and root development. The media should be with constant volume and free from living

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