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It is cultivated throughout India for its immature fruits. Its varieties are : 'Pusa Sawani', 'Pusa Makhmali', 'Perkin's Long Green' (for hills only), etc. CULTIVATION Bhindi plant prefers a long warm season. The plant is tender and cannot tolerate cold at any stage of growth. Low temperature true in the early spring results in poor germination of seed. Bhindi seed does not germinate at 200C or below. The best germination takes place between 240C nad 300C. Soil and Soil Preparation Bhindi can be grown on all kinds of soil except light sandy soil. Well-drained loamy soil rich in organic matter is, however, preferred. Presence of sufficient amount of organic matter improves the nutrient status, soil structure and water holding capacity. Operations for the preparations of land for bhindi sowing would depend upon the condition of the plot. If the plot was under crop which left behind stubbles and the organic material, it has to be ploughed or disced before cultivator is used. In such land normally the disc should be used twice and the tiller three or four times. Two to three plankings would give the desirable structure of the soil. However, if the land was under a crop as potato, one disc operation followed by 3-4 times cultivation would produce the desirable condition of the soil. However, the land has to be planked at least twice before the final sowing is taken up. Sowing is done by two methods : 1. Sowing on ridge 2. Flat sowing 1. Sowing on Ridges This method is particularly important for the early crop sown in february. the field is divided into plots and within each ridges are made 45 cm apart. If possible these should be made running East-West. Seeds are dibbled 1 cm below the soil surface keeping a distance of 15 cm between hills. seed is dibbled on the top of the ridge or slightly on the side facing the sun. This is very important for early crop, as the side facing the sun attains a temperature several degrees haigher than that on the other side. This high temperature affects the seed germination favourably. Ridge sowing for early crop has another advantage. Seeds take many days to germinate and often an irrigation is required to keep up the right moisture content in the soil. In this case pre-emergence irrigation does not lead to crust formation as water is not allowed to run over the ridges. 2. Flat Sowing This method is used for the later crop when the days are quite warm. Sowing is done in rows 45 cm apart, which have been previously drilled with fertilizers. Single row cotton drill can also be used efficiently for flat sowing. This method is quite popular with bhindi seed growers. The advantage of this method over ridge sowing is that it is less labour consuming. Bhindi seed has a hard seed coat. In order to get good germination it is always advisable to soak the seed overnight before sowing. For early crop the soaked seeds may be kept covered at some warm place for sometime so that germination initiates there and slightly sprouted seeds can then be planted in the field. Sowing Time Bhindi is soen twice a year in the plains for green pods. For early crop the seed is sown from February to April and for late crop in June-July. For seed production the second crop is most suited. It is not only gives higher yield but seed is also of good quality and also provides an opportunity for roguing of the virus susceptible plants. During dry weather virus does not develop and the undesirable plants are not detectible. Period commencing from last week of June to first week of July has been found to be the best. In case the seed crop is sown in May or early June then the main fruiting period coincides with mansoon rains. Water gets entry into the ripe dehisced fruits and spoils the seed within the pods.
Seed Rate Temperature has pronounced effect on germination of bhindi and consequently the quantity of seed used to obtain a reasonable crop stand depends on the prevailing temperature. To start with early in the season the seed requirement is as high as 15-18 kg per acre and it goes down to 810 kg in March. For the second sowing i.e. june-July 5-6 kg seed is sufficiently for one acre. Seeds older than two years lose their germination and should be avoided. Manures and Fertilizers Fifteen to twenty tons of well rotton farmyard manure or compost should be applied in an acre of land. The quantity should be increased on poor and light soils. Addition of farmyard manure is particularly important for the early sown crop. Farmyard manure raises the soil temperature which helps the seed germination. Farmyard manure should be applied while preparing the seedbed so that it gets well mixed up in the soil. Farmyard manure should also be supplemented with chemical fertilizers. The quantity of the fertilizer required should preferably be ascertained from the condition of the crop rather than strictlyadhering the recommendations. Pale yellow colour of leaves and stuned growth is an indication of the nitrogen deficiency in the soil. On an average 144 kg per acre of calcium ammonium nitrate or 80 kg of urea should be applied. In seasons of excessive rainfall an addition does of nitrogen may be benificial. Deficiency of nitrogen results in poor plant growth and consequently low fruit yield, small sized fruits, and loss of tenderness of the fruit. Bhindi usually does not respond to the application of potash. However, on soils where the nutrient status is low, potassium sulphate at the rate of 50 kg per acre may be applied before sowing. application of potash to seed-crop results in plump seeds. Irrigation First irrigation in case of ridge sowing should be given immediately after sowing. Care should be taken not to allow the ater to overflow the ridges. In case of flat sowing first irrigation should preferably be given only after the seedings have come up. Subsequently irrigations should be given after every four to five days in the hot season or every 10-14 days in moderate season. On loose sandy type of soils frequency of irrigation should be increased. Hoeing and Weeding In order to keep the weeds under control and to maintain desirable soil structure, three to four hoeings should be given. First hoeing may be given when the seedings are two week old and subsequent hoeings may be repeated at fortnightly intervals. Hand hoe can be used efficiently and economically for this purpose. Second crop, i.e. sown should be earth up to avoid the damage from water stagnation. Weeds can also be kept under check by the use of herbicide Basalin, sprayed @ 800-1000 ml per acre as pre-plant application four days before sowing. The herbicide should be incorporated in the soil by harrowing, Another weedicide Lasso can also be used @ 2 litre per acre as preemergence spray one day after sowing or stomp one litre per acre or 750 ml acre+one hoeing as pre-emergence spray are recommended. One hoeing may be necessary after 60 days if the intensity of weeds is high. Harvesting and Marketing The fruits attain marketable size when the plants are 45-50 days old, depending upon the temperature. It takes ficve to seven days to form an edible fruit after the opening of the flower. The fruits should not be allowed to over grow to give a fibrous appearance because overgrown fruits are not liked by the consumer. Only tender fruits should picked for better returns. Leaving fruits on the plants for a longer period not only impairs the quality of the fruit but also reduces the rate of apical growth and thus ultimately reflects upon the fruit bearing capacity of the plant. Therefore, frequent picking of fruits is desirable. Picking should be done early in the morning because fruits make a lot of growth during night. If at all fruits are to be picked in the evening it should be in the late hours. Water should be sprinkled on the harvested fruits to keep them fresh. Harvested fruits kept at
room temperature deteriorate in quality as vitamin C is lost rapidly. Fruits should be graded keeping in view the size, shape and colour and packed in basket or wooden crates for disposal in the market. Fruits should not be carried in gunny bags as this will lead to brusising of fruits which spoils their look. small, tender, green fresh and unbruised fruits fetch a premium in market. A yield of 4500-5500 kg of green edible fruits can be obtained from an acre of land. Okra fruits are not suitable for cold storage for a long time. However, the fruits can be kept in storage at 500 to 10 0C and relative humidity 85 to 90 percent for about 10 days. VARIETIES There are four varieties which are recommended for cultivation. Punjab-8 : The plants of punjab-8 are medium tall with splashes of purple pigmentation present on the stem. Leaves are deeply lobed and less serrated. Leaves, stem and petiolesare less hairy. Fruits are thin, long dark green and five ridged. It has got a high degree of resistance to yellow-veinsmosaic virus and tolerance to jassid and borer. It is suitable for processing. Average market yield is 55 q/acre. Punjab-7 : This is the latest variety of bhindi developed at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana possessing better resistance to yellow vien mosaic virus thanthen any other variety in the country. Plants are medium tall and green. Leaves are deeply lobed and hairy. The purple hue may or may not be evident on stem and petiol but characteristically evident at eh base of leaf lamina. Fruits are long, five ridge and green with a pale green colour at the fruit base. It takes 50-55 days from sowing to fruiting. Average yield is about 45 q per acre. Punjab Padmini : Plants are tall and green with mils purple tinge on the stems and leaf petioles. Leaves are dark green, deeply lobed and hairy. fruits are quick growing, dark green smooth, thin, long, five ridged and retentive of tenderness. Fruiting starts after 55-60 days after sowing in the spring crop. It has field resistance to yellow vein mosaic virus. Average yield is 45 q per acre. Pusa Sawani : This is an old variety of bhindi and has a wide popularity all over the country. It has been developed by I.A.R.I., New delhi, and used to show field resistance to yellow vein mosaic. Previously it was recommended as a rainy season variety but now it is recommended for spring crop. Fruits are five ribbed, dark-green in colour and free from bristles. PESTS AND DISEASES Pests 1. Spotted Boll Worm : The larvae of this moth attack the shoots of plant by boring into it. It also bores into the fruits which are rendered unfit for human consumption. 2. Jassid : The adults and nymphs of this insect feed on the palnts by sucking the sap. Leaves turn pale and curl upwards. The cupping may be followed by drying of leaves from the margins giving a characteristic sympton known as hopper burn. Both spotted boll-worm and jassid attack the crop from May to September. Control : For controlling both these pests spray at fortnightly intervals with 500 ml Malathion 50 EC in 100125 litres of water per acre. As soon as fruiting starts, spray 500 g of carbrayl 50 W.P. or 350 ml Thiodan 35 EC or 100 ml of Sumicidin 20 EC (fenvalerate) or 80 ml of Cymbush 25 EC (Cypermethrin) in 100-125 L of water per acre. Picking of fruits should be done before spraying. Borer infested fruits if any, should be removed regularly and buried deep. 3. Spider Mite : The plants are considerably damaged and weakened tha adults and nymphs suck the plant sap. In severe cases the leaves dry up and fall off. Control : The crop should be sprayed with 250 ml of Metasystox 25 EC or Rogor 30 EC in 125 litres of water. DISEASES 1.Wilt : The growth of the plant becomes stunted and the leaves give the appearance of yellow and wilted growth. The stem turns dark, close to the soil surface and finally the entire plant wilts.
Control : Bhindi should not be rotated with crops like tomato, eggplant and chillies. It should not be grown in the infested field for three years. Use seed from healthy plants only. Treat the seed with 3 g of Captain or Thiram per kg seed before sowing. 2. Yellow vien Mosaic : During rainy season, it is a very serious disease. Due to clearing of veins, leaves look chlorotic. There is a yellow and mosaic pattern. Fruit production is adversely affected. Fruits become yellow and lose acceptibility. Control : Bhindi varieties with narrow leaves should be planted instead of varieties with broad leaves. Disease resistant varieties like Panjab-7 and Panjab Padmini should be sown. The insects such as white flies, responsible for the spread of this disease, should be controlled. Spray 560 ml of Malathion 50 EC in 350 litre of water per acre for the control of vector.
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