Climate information for Dragon fruit Farming.
The crop requires a temperature close to the mean annual temperature of India or sometimes a bit more than that for its growth. The range stays between 20°C to 30°C. However, excessive heat resulting in temperature over 40°C is harmful to the crop and the quality of the fruits is badly affected.
Dragon fruit is sensitive to water stagnation and cannot tolerate waterlogging even for a brief period of time. Thus, areas with low rainfall are best suitable for the crop. However, a minimum annual rainfall of 50 cm is necessary for a good yield of fruits.
Soil required for Dragon fruit Farming.
Dragon fruit can be grown in a wide range of variety of soils ranging from sandy loam to clay loam. However, the best yields can be obtained infertile sandy soils with excellent drainage facilities and high organic matter content. Alkaline and saline soils should be avoided at all costs since dragon fruit plants are highly sensitive to those conditions. The optimum pH range of the soil should range from 5.5 to 7.
Recommended sowing dates for Dragon fruit Farming.
The growing season of this plant exists in the hot months of summer in the Kharif season. Therefore, the planting should be done just before the onset of the summer season in the months of February just after the harvest of Zaid crops. It does not grow much through the rest of the year, but in the growing season, rapid growth takes place in a very short period of time
Land preparation for Dragon fruit Farming.
An important task required for dragon fruit farming is proper land preparation. A good quality weed-free and debris-free land should be prepared. The land should be ploughed two to three times by means of country plough or moldboards plough or tractors till fine tilth of the soil is achieved. After the first ploughing, at least 15 days of rest is given for the weeds and weed seeds to die in the sun. At the time of the second ploughing, well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) or organic compost should be incorporated into the soil in appropriate proportions. The remaining soil clods should then be crushed mechanically for making the soil even finer in texture.
Sowing methods and tips for Dragon fruit Farming.
Propagation in dragon fruit plants takes place mainly by means of cuttings. However, in some cases, they can be propagated by means of seeds. But the problem with sexual propagation is that they take much longer time to propagate and most importantly, they are not true to the type with the mother plants. Due to the process of crossing over during gamete formation, variation occurs in the progenies. Thus, fruit crops are mainly propagated through vegetative means for maintaining the pure line of the progenies and keeping the taste and the characteristics of the fruit intact. The plant cuttings should be obtained from mother plants and then should be planted in pots containing planting mixture along with cow dung. Then, after the generation of new leaves, they should be planted in fields along with the pots in specific peats. The peats should then be filled with top soil, compost and superphosphate.
Irrigation required for Dragon fruit Farming.
Dragon fruit plants require less water compared to other plants. However, in extremely hot and dry conditions, just from the time of planting, irrigation should be provided and continued. However, dragon fruit plants can be irrigated by means of drip irrigation for commercial plantings. This will be economical in both the sectors of water and money.
Fertilizer requirement for Dragon fruit Farming.
About 10 to 15 kg of good quality and well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) or compost should be applied uniformly to each and every single dragon fruit plant. Then, the manure should be properly mixed with the soil by means of right tillage practices before sowing during the stage of land preparation. Afterwards, the amount of organic fertilizer usage should be increased by 2 kg per plant per year. However, for proper vegetative growth, under appropriate soil moisture conditions, the dosages of inorganic fertilizers should be –
· Nitrogen at the rate of 70 grams per plant
· Phosphorus at the rate of 90 grams per plant
· Potassium at the rate of 40 grams per plant
The deep placement of fertilizers provides better results.
Seed Requirement for Dragon fruit Farming.
2000 to 3750 cuttings per hectare is enough if the spacing between each plant remains 2-3 meters.
Seed treatment for Dragon fruit Farming.
No special seed treatment is required since propagation takes place mainly by means of cutting.
Best seed varieties for Dragon fruit Farming.
here are three main varieties depending on its appearance.
- 1. Red skin with red flesh - Pitaya roja.
- 2. Red skin with white flesh - Pitaya blanca
- 3. Yellow skin with white flesh - Pitaya amarilla.
Best practices for Dragon fruit Farming.
Weed control or intercultural operations – Weed control is one of the most important tasks that are to be carried out for better qualities of flower and yield. The field should be kept free of weeds by means of periodical mechanical weeding at frequent intervals. However, simple and ordinary hand weeding will also be effective.
Harvesting and post-harvesting – Dragon fruit plants are mainly cultivated for their fruits. The plants start bearing fruits in the first year itself. They start flowering in the months of May to June and bear fruits from August to December. Ripened red color fruits are ready to harvest after 1 month of flowering. They should then be stored in cool and dry places and then are sent for local, national or international markets.