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10 vital tips to grow vegetables

Vegetable growing session by Mr Ravi Sankar Tekuru(9703016820) in CWF Whatsapp group on 4th Feb 2018.
About Session leader in his own words: 
My Name is Ravi Sankar Tekuru. I came from a remote village called Venkannapalem, Nellore district, AP. Presently working as Software Engineer in Hyderabad. 7years back I came to city life. In this 7years I'm not able to adapt to city life as a result I searched/moved around villages nearby me. In this way, I met nearly hundreds of farmers and I became witness to their techniques, sorrows, happiness, etc. This is the way I met some of you people and CWF evolved.
Today session topic is Growing Vegetables.When I saw something new I had a habit to document it. I'm sharing some of my document on session topic

This topic vegetable farming paired with several other topics, which can't be explained in detail. So I share links to other topics. Will discuss only on vegetables.

Vegetable farming and intercrops.
1) Select a nice site to grow.

2) Test your soil by this simple procedure and estimate sand, silt, clay and organic matter percentage.

A) Clay soil needs raised beds with good drain facility.

B) Sandy soils need pits with more organic amendments.

C) Silt soil needs drainage facility + less organic amendments.

3) Improve your soil 

4) Many vegetables need strong trellises support to withstand winds. If you feel it requires do arrangements. Ex: tomato, melons, gourds, all creepers. For trellis use whatever available things Ex: bamboo sticks, Copper Wires.

5) Some plants grow well after transplantation Ex: Nightshade family ( brinjal, tomato, chillies, etc). So prepare nursery well in advance at the highest point on land. Don't select land for the nursery at slopes.

6) Select/Setup irrigation system. Irrigation

7) Think about market while selecting a strategy.

A) If your farm is near to city market you can select green leafy vegetables which earn more income in short span. If it's far, it's a bad idea to grow greens. Choose veggies like pumpkin, potato, onion which have more shelf life and won’t spoil while transporting.

B) if entire village growing same vegetable ex: tomato doesn't consider it. It brings a lot of problems with the market. High supply results in low demand, less price. Prone to common pest attack is a bonus.

8) Select good seeds by visiting other farmers and by seeing crop before you plan to grow. Request farmer to ripe the 1st fruits of plants. Bring the fully ripen vegetable, collect seeds and dry them to use. Else go for the seed swap. Don't buy seeds in packs (market). If none of the strategies works. Then as last resort buy seed packs in the market.

9) Remember vegetables maintain friend and enemy relationships.

10) There are so many popular models for intercrops group vegetables. But one must read this 3sister garden, sandbar farming, square-foot garden model before you do vegetables farming.

Query: How to identify good seed or bad seed? 

Germination test. Collect some sample seeds ex: 100 seeds. Sprout them by tying in a clothe and watering 2 times a day. Observe from 3rd day. If 70 seeds grown on 3rd day 70% germination. Then adjust the quantity. Suppose. If for 1 acre you need 10kg seed. By considering 70% germination. Take 13kg. Remember some seeds take 7days to germinate like pumpkins.

Query: I have beans crop in my field at present (seeds were purchased from market). Now I am planning to get seeds from the same plot for next sowing. Your suggestions on this. 

1st try to get seeds from farmers, many farmers are there in this group.

Query: For someone starting off on once chemical field what vegetables does u suggest one should start with

All Legumes.

Query: As per your view in growing stage plants need N rich n flowering stage P rich n fruiting stage k rich in natural farming what nutrients you suggest for these 

Yes, any plant requires all 3 major nutrients NPK. But a plant in early stages uses Nitrogen to grow quickly. At the flowering stage, it consumes more phosphorus. At fruit formation stage it uses more potash. It doesn’t mean it only uses Nitrogen in the early stage; phosphorus in flowering, potash in uses more I said please underline. Plant needs/utilizes all nutrients at every stage.

Query: How to prevent loss in the rainy season especially for all vegetables? pests attack, water damage the veg plants

Refer point 2. If it is more of clay or silt type soil, design a good drainage system and raised bed concept. If it is more of Sandy soil, rains will not affect them. 

Query: I am a beginner in natural farming. I am planning to start with half an acre of chili with intercrop cabbage. Your inputs wrt. Nutrient management and plant protection.

Cabbage helps beans and beans help cabbage. marigold, dill, coriander, onions, beets, mint, tomatoes also help cabbage but come after beans. Cabbage doesn't like grapes. So avoid under grape creepers. Growing marigold, dill, coriander as border crops to invite friendly insects.

Query: Any specific spacing you suggest me to follow? And chilli is not a good option?

For chilli 60 * 60cm normal, high density 30*30cm. Cabbage 45*45cm and in high density 30*30cm spacing required. Chilli Pepper helps okra(ladies finger). And helped by okra. Beans, tomatoes, sunflowers, onions, basil, mustard also helps chilli peppers. But chilli peppers can't help back

Query: Few years back we had taken this combination, but since both crops affected by same insect pests both were damaged. Pests like Whitefly, thrips, fruit borer.

Please follow all 10steps which I mentioned above. And plant the same combination again.

Query: I face a lot of problems in weed management. Last season I lost my whole crop due to weeds.

Refer point 3. Choose green manure after 45days cut them and make mulch. Weed is not a problem.

Query: what effect does transplanting have on these plants? What if we don't transplant? I have never transplanted anything from my pot. 

In large scale, direct broadcasting of small seeds will result in many issues. We can do for paddy also. We can sow directly or we can transplant. 

Let me explain about transplantation benefits. Its large subject I explain it in brief.

1) Water usage can be decreased up to a month when compared to direct sowing. Rain-fed area farmers always do transplantation.

2) By transplantation, precise spacing can be achieved. Let's say 3000plants per acre we collect 3000 plants from the nursery.

3) Decreases weed pressure up to a month. Thus benefits farmer from loss with labour

4) Minimizes all expenses, efficient land utilization takes place.

These are all not achieved by direct sowing based on this choose wisely between direct broadcasting and transplantation in vegetables.

Query: For ridge gourd cultivation under trellis method, what should be ideal spacing between rows 

Instead of the trellis, go with corn/sorghum (Jowar) intercrop. 6 feet * 4.5 feet normal, 4.5*3cm high-density spacing for ridge gourd

Query: Do hybrids seeds reverse back to the original after 7 generations.

Hybrid seeds germinate but not to true type. Ex: I have hybrid seed which obtained by crossing masuri rice(small thin grain) with basmati rice(long thin grain). After harvest, if u sow hybrid seed again. The result may be masuri or maybe basmati rice. You can't predict

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