Climate information for Marigold Farming.
The crop requires temperature close to the mean annual temperature of India or sometimes a bit less than that for its growth. The range stays between 15°C to 29°C. However, excessive heat resulting in temperature over 40°C is harmful to the crop and the quality of the flowers is badly affected. Low rainfall but very well distributed throughout the year is suitable for the crops. However, for dry seasons, additional water should be provided according to the moisture conditions of the soil to ensure that the soil remains soaked in water up to a depth of 6-8 centimeters below the soil.
Marigold is a typical crop of the tropics and the subtropics. It requires warm and dry conditions to thrive but the optimum condition best suited for flowering is the mild climate. However, humid weather conditions are also not a problem since the adaptation capability of the plants is huge.
Marigold is sensitive to water stagnation and cannot tolerate waterlogging even for a brief period of time.
Suitable soil for Marigold Farming.
Marigold can be grown in a wide range of variety of soils ranging from light, sandy loam to clay loam. However, the best yields can be obtained infertile sandy loamy soils with excellent drainage facilities. Acidic and saline soils should be avoided at all costs since marigold plants are highly sensitive to those conditions. The optimum pH range of the soil should range from 6.5 to 7.5.
Recommended sowing dates for Marigold Farming
Since marigold plants grow throughout the year, there is no particular season or months designated for sowing the seeds. Still, best results can be obtained if the seeds are sown in the months of May-June just during the initiation of the Kharif season.
Land preparation for Marigold Farming.
An important task required for marigold 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 moldboard 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) should be incorporated into the soil. The remaining soil clods should then be crushed mechanically for making the soil even finer in texture. After that, irrigation channels, ridges and furrows should be created for maintenance in future.
Sowing methods and tips for Marigold Farming.
Propagation in marigold plants takes place only through seeds. The average seed rate of marigold plants is about 1.5 to 2 kg per hectare.
Irrigation required for Marigold Farming
Marigold crops require a constant presence of moisture in the soil starting from the bud formation up to the harvest of the flowers. As a result, except for rainy seasons, a regular supply of irrigation should be provided to prevent the soil from drying out completely beyond the wilting point. Just from the time of planting, irrigation should be provided and continued from 3rd and 4th day of the planting. However, marigold plants are also sensitive to water stagnation and proper drainage channels should be used for that matter.
Fertilizer requirement for Marigold Farming.
About 25 tonnes of good quality and well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) or compost should be applied uniformly per hectares of the land. 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, under appropriate soil moisture conditions, the dosages of fertilizers should be –
· Nitrogen at the rate of 25 to 30 kg per hectare
· Phosphorus at the rate of 25 to 30 kg per hectare
· Potassium at the rate of 25 to 30 kg per hectare
The deep placement of fertilizers provides better results.
Seeds Requirements for Marigold Farming.
A seed rate of marigold varies from 2.0-2.5 kg per hectare of land and the germination occurs usually within 5-7 days from sowing.
Seed Treatment for Marigold Farming
Before sowing, the seeds should be treated with Azospirillum of 200 grams in 50 ml of rice paste. Seeds are broadcasted on the raised beds of nurseries and then transplanted to the main fields.
Best seed varieties for Marigold Farming
The main varieties of marigold differ essentially in the size and characteristics of the flowers. The two main varieties based on the size and characteristics of the flowers are –
1. French marigold flowers – The plants are short and the flowers are small in size.
2. African marigold flowers – The plants are tall and their flowers are bigger in size.
Some commercial, high yielding and improved hybrid varieties of marigold found in India include MDU 1, Pusa Narangi Gainda and Pusa Basanti Gainda. All these flowers have characteristic same but only the yellow and orange colouration differences.
Best practices for Marigold 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 – Marigold plants are mainly cultivated for their flowers. The flowers become ready for harvesting after 60 days from planting. They can be picked up once in 3 days. However, French marigolds start flowering 45 days after the date of transplanting whereas African marigolds start flowering after 60 days. After a successful harvest of the flowers, the lower end of the stalk is immersed in water for prolonging the life of the flower. Then, they are transported immediately to the local markets to avoid transpiration loss and keeping the flowers fresh.