The production of good quality seedlings is very much essential for getting higher yield and quality of any crop. The population of the country is constantly increasing day by day. Therefore, the daily requirement of vegetables/ flowers will also grow simultaneously. Hence, there is need for overall development and expansion in vegetable/ flower production. It has now been realized that to achieve higher production levels, productivity has to be increased through the adoption of hybrid varieties and improved production technology. Presently, the commercial vegetable growers are quite aware about the importance of hybrid varieties as they are high yielding, uniform in maturity and can tolerate the effect of abiotic and biotic stresses and have better quality produce as compared to standard varieties / cultivars. Though the seeds of many hybrids are made available to the farmers, they lack the technical knowhow of producing quality seedlings. Hence, the production and timely distribution of quality seedlings of vegetables/ flowers would be a greater scope to meet the growing demand. With this background the technology " Pro tray production of vegetable seedlings" is developed.
Seedling production using pro trays: Seedling production of F1 hybrids of tomato, chillies, capsicum, cauliflower and brinjal as well as flowering annuals, using pro trays with coco peat as media could be used. Presently the seedlings of vegetables are raised and distributed to the beneficiaries. Sterilized commercial coco peat is being used as growing media, as it reduces the incidence of seedling diseases and contains right amount of moisture in it. The coco peat is a by-product of coir industry and it has high water holding capacity as, it contains low nutrients and high lignin content.
Raising and Management :The seedling tray (pro tray) is filled with the growing medium (coco peat). A small depression (0.5 cm) is made with fingertip in the centre of the cell of the pro tray for sowing. One seed per cell is sown and covered with medium. Coco peat with 300 to 400 per cent moisture is used and hence no immediate irrigation is required until germination. After sowing 10 trays are kept one over other for 3 to 6 days, depending on the crops. The entire stack will be covered using polyethylene sheet to ensure conservation of moisture until germination. The stacked trays are spread once the germination commences to avoid etiolation. The trays are irrigated lightly every day depending upon the prevailing weather conditions by using a fine sprinkling rose can. Drenching the trays with fungicides as a precautionary measure against seedling mortality is also being done. Spraying of 0.3 per cent (3g / litre) water soluble fertilizer using poly feed (19 all with trace elements) twice (12 and 20 days after sowing) for enhance the growth of the seedlings. The seedlings at right stage of planting are hardened by withholding irrigation and reducing the shade before transplanting or selling to the growers. Systemic insecticides are sprayed 7 - 10 days after germination and before transplanting for managing the insect vectors. The seedlings would be ready in about 21-30 days for transplanting to the main field depending upon the crop.
The small and marginal farmers including farmwomen who have with limited capital/ resources can take up this technology for enhancing their income.
Naresh Babu, A.K. Shukla and Kundan Kishore, ICAR - Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
2012-2015 to provide quality seedlings of vegetables for farming communities for higher and quality production.
Rs 2-3 / seedling depending upon crop