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Vegetables like Asparagus, Rhubarb, Globe Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoks, Sea Kale, HorseRadish are grown in many home gardens particularly in cities and towns.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

  • Introduction

The Asparagus is one of the most delicate, wholesome and lucious perennial plant of the garden. Its erect branching stems, 15-180 cms in length, which are known as spears are used in soups and other products. Asparagus beds once established will continue to produce for many years. It is a good diuretic and is also used in Cordiac dropsy and gout.

  • Nutritive value

The edible portion contains – Moisture 93gm, Protein 2.2gm, Fat 0.2gm, Carbohydrate 3.2gm, Fibre 0.7gm, Ash 0.7gm, Ca 0.025mg, P 0.039%, Fe 0.93mgm, Cu 0.14mgm, Vit A 1400 I.U., B1 180 mgm, B2 130 mgm, C 40 mgm per 100 gm of fresh leaves.

  • History and Origin

It is indigenous to Europe and Siberia from where it has been introduced to other parts of the world.

  • Varieties

It belongs to Liliaceae family.

The varieties are divided into two groups one with purple spears and the other free from purple colour. The cultivated varieties are

  1. Argentevil Early – a selection form the Dutch purple type.
  2. Argentevil Late – Dutch type.
  3. Connivers Colossal – an American light green type.
  4. Marther Washington – an American variety with roundish tipped bud.
  5. Palmetto – Argentevil type pea green in colour.
  6. Sutton’s Giant Fresh – Argentevil type with stout buds.

The recommended variety of I.A.R.I is Perfection.

  • Soil, Climate and Rainfall

The best soil suited for its cultivation is light and medium loams or sandy loam soils, well supplied with organic matter. However, under proper treatment it will thrive in any well cultivated soil. It can even be grown in heavy clay soil with deep cultivation and well drainage. The optimum pH required for growing asparagus is between pH 6.0 and 6.7. Asparagus can be grown on soil, which has a salt content, too high for many other crops.

  • Sowing and transplanting

8-10 kg of seeds are necessary for an hectare. The seed is sown in early spring or during winter and takes 3 to 4 weeks to germinate and 8-10 weeks to produce ‘Crowns’. The rows are spaced at about 1.5 to 2 meters and 45 to 60 cm distance is kept within rows.

  • Male and Female Plants

The cultivated asparagus is a dioecious plant, e.g. male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. In addition to dioecious plants, a small percentage of seedlings develop hermaphrodite plants.

  • Inter Cropping

Low growing vegetables may be grown as intercrops between the asparagus rows to compensate the expenses in the 1st and 2nd year. Cole crops, Beans, green crops etc. can be grown, provided enough nutrients are applied for both crops.

  • Cultural Practices
  1. Manures and Fertilizers
  2. Fertilizer application of 2 cwt. of ammonia, 1 cwt. of muriate of potash and 4 cwt. of superphosphate per acre besides 20 to 30 tons of well decayed dung. Highest yield on light soil from an application of 120 lbs each of nitrogen and phosphorus and 180 lbs of potash per acre, Others recommended that after the spears are harvested 25 to 35 cart-load manures together with 100 kg each of Murate of potash and superphosphate should be applied to the soil. Some growers believe that asparagus being a sea shore plant needs common salt (Sodium Chloride) for success in growing.

  3. Irrigation
  4. In the summer season the crop needs irrigation once a week, while irrigation is not necessary from August to January.

  5. Weed control

Weeds between the rows can be controlled by proper cultivation. Frequent shallow hoeing keep down the weed population. After the harvest of spears a thorough cultivation should be done destroying all the weeds. The broad-leaved weeds can be controlled successfully by means of 2,4 –D before and after the harvest, avoiding spray to asparagus tops. Several other herbicides have also been used successfully to control weeds.

  • Disease, insect pests and their control
  1. Asperagus Rust (Puccinia asparagi)
  2. It is the most serious disease. The disease appears as reddish yellow spots on the trunk and on the trunk. It reduces the total yield and sometimes plants are killed.

  3. Fusarium wilt
  4. This disease is caused by a fungus (Fusarium sp.) in the soil. The affected spears develop a brown discolouration and gradually wilted and stunted. This disease although not common may severely affect a whole plantation where it occurs.

  5. Violet Root Rot
  6. This is a fungus disease caused by Helicoboridium purpureum. The leaves of the disease plants turn into yellow and dropping. All the disease plants along with roots should be carefully collected and destroyed.

  7. Asparagus Beetles

The young shoots are damaged by adults and larvae. One per cent rotenone dusted on the spears will kill the beetles. This dust is also effective againest the larvae.

  • Harvesting

Harvesting is done from the 3rd year onwards. However, if the plantation is vigorous, the 1st cuttings may be done from the 2nd year after the crowns are set out. The 1st harvesting should be done within 2 to 3 weeks.

  • Yield

Yield of plantation in full harvest is on an average about 3500 to 4000 kg per hectare each year.

Horse – Radish (Armoracia rusticana)

  • Introduction

It belongs to the Cruciferae family and botanically known as Armoracia Rusticana. There are several forms, and although the wild types usually produce small white flowers, they seldom develop seed. Although seed is formed it is never used for propagation. Leaves and roots of horse-radish were used as food in Germany, USA., UK. and Holland. However, it is not a very popular vegetable in India. The pungent roots of House-Radish are mixed with salt and vinegar and eaten as an appetizer with other foods. The pungency is due to the presence of an allylisothiocyanate and butyl thiocyanate similar to the mustard oils, occurring in combination with the glucoside sinigain.

  • Soils and soil preparation

A deep, rich loam or sandy loam soil is suitable for growing house-radish. It does not succeed in heavy soils or waterlogged conditions. On hard soils the roots are much branched and irregular in shapes. The roots grow luxuriantly in light and medium soils with plenty of organic matters. Low temperatures do not impair the growth of the roots and the crops. A well-prepared and thoroughly pulverised soil is necessary for production of straight and strong roots.

  • Planting

The plant is propagated by root cuttings. The cuttings are obtained from the side roots, which are trimmed off in the preparation of roots for market. It is also propagated from crowns. The propagation roots for market. It is also propagated from crowns. The propagation roots should be 10 to 20cm long and the size from 65cm to 1.25cm in diameter. The long cuttings are best. The cuttings are planted during winter in furrows made with a plough. The cuttings are planted in a slanting manner 7.5cm to 10.0cm below the surface soil. The soil around the cuttings is then well packed. The distance of planting is about 25cm to 32cm apart in rows and row to row is kept at 7.5 cm to 10.0cm apart.

  • Manures and Fertilizers

The soils should be given a dressing of well-rotted farmyard manure (F.Y.M) before ploughing. Green manuring and commercial fertilizers can also be used. Fertilizers containing about 50 lbs each of nitrogen and potash and 70 to 100 lbs of phosphorus per acre are sufficient. A fertilizer high in potash seems essential for proper development of roots. A larger yield is obtained when the roots are trimmed then when they are allowed to grow without being disturbed.

  • Harvesting

The roots are harvested by ploughing the whole bed and the tops and the side roots are removed. Cuttings are then made from the basal roots and the marketable products sold or stored. The marketable roots after harvest are cleaned, washed and packed. The root for sale should be straight 20cm to 25cm long and 3 to 5cm in diameter. The roots can be stored in a cool, moist storehouse or can be kept in good condition for several weeks in moist sand.

  • Yield

25 to 100 quintals per hectare.

Mint (Mentha sp)

The mint is a well-known perennial herb. It is found all over in village and towns. The leaves are used for flavouring soups, sauces, and beverages and as chutneys. It acts as a digestive and carminative and carminative. It has also antidotal properties and is used to counteract poisons. The mint juice stops vomiting and nausea. Elephantiasis and varicose veins are improved by prolonged use of grounded mint leaves. It is indigenous to European continent and the Mediterranean area. In fact, a number of types are wild and cultivated mint types are grown in India. However, the pepper mint and spear mint are the important commercial types for extraction of essential oil. The mint leaves (M.Spicata) contain per 100 gm fresh leaves – Moisture 83.0%, Protein 4.8%, Fat 0.6%, Fibre 2.0%, Carbohydrates 8.0%, Mineral matter 1.6%, Ca 0.02%, P2 0.08%, Fe 15.6 mgm Vit A 27009 U, Vit C 50mg per 100gm.

  • Taxonomy and Varieties

The important mint types are described below and all belongs to family Labiatae and genus Mentha. About 30 species have been recognised.

  1. Mentha Spicate Linn

It is the spearmint. It is perennial, producing leafy stolons. The plant is smooth, erect and reaches a height of 60cm. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, acute, sessile and irregularly toothed. The flower spikes are long, narrow and terminal. The flowers are pale violet. It is very aromatic and is considered as best mints for flavouring.

2. Mentha Piperita Linn

It is common peppermint. It is an erect, branched perennial. Leaves are elliptical to lanceolate, nearly glabrous, serrate, gland-dotted with long petiole. Flowers terminal and pale violet in colour. Its oil is extracted by distillation and is used in medicine and bakery industry.

  • Soil and Climate

Mint is grown all over India during winter and spring and practically it can be grown in all kinds of soil with good drainage. The crop cannot tolerate water logging. Mint can be grown on a wide range of soils but prefers sandy loams and loams which are well supplied with orangic matter and which have perfect drainage.

  • Cultural Practices

The soil should be deeply ploughed, about 34 to 40 metric tons of F.Y.M or compost should be applied per hectare before ploughing. As the mint remain in the same soil for a number of years, subsequent manuring and tops dressings with fertilizers are necessary. Every year at the close of the rainy season, the inter cultivation should be done to loosen the soil and weeding should be done completely.

  • Planting

Mint is propagated by division of roots or by cuttings of runners or stolons. The best material can be obtained from the stock plants, which are less than 3 years old. The cuttings are planted in rows 22cm apart and 15cm between plants. The time to plant either in October-November or in March. In hills it should be planted in April. During winter the crop require atleast two irrigations per week and four irrigations during summer. During heavy rains the plant wither but new leaves reappears after the rains.

  • Harvesting

Mint is mostly harvested during winter and spring but leaves are available throughout summer also. Cut the shoots of about 70 to 100 millimeters long during early part and 150-200 millimeter long when the crops mature. To prevent drying the bunches are usually immersed in water or water is sprinkled over it.

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