Climate information for Rajnigandha Farming.
The crop requires close to the average temperature of India or sometimes more than that for its growth. The range stays between 20°C to 32°C. However, excessive heat resulting in temperature over 40°C is harmful to the crop and the quality of blossoms is badly affected. It requires a warm and humid climate but the optimum condition best suited for flowering is a mild climate. It is best suited for cultivation in tropical to subtropical and temperate climates. Humidity and temperature are the two main factors in controlling the yield of the flowers.
Rajnigandha is sensitive to water stagnation and cannot tolerate water logging even for a brief period of time. Thus, low rainfall is suitable for crops. However, for dry seasons, additional water should be provided according to the moisture conditions of the soil.
Suitable soil for Rajnigandha Farming.
Rajnigandha can be grown in a wide range of varieties of soils ranging from light, sandy loam to clay loam. It can be successfully grown as a commercial crop even in those soils which are affected by salinity and alkalinity conditions if proper agronomical practices are adopted. The soil should be at least 45 cm deep, well-drained, friable and rich in organic matter for obtaining high yields. Fertile loamy and sandy soils with an optimum range of pH from 6.5 to 7.5 with good aeration and drainage are best for Rajnikanth cultivation. However, proper drainage of the soil should be ensured for every kind of soil.
Recommended sowing dates for Rajnigandha Farming.
Well developed and spindle-shaped bulbs with a diameter of 1.50 cm are considered ideal for planting. This selection is very critical for obtaining ideal yields of flowers from the plants. Rajnigandha is generally planted in March-April in the plains and in April-May in the hills. If the time frame is missed, the bulbs can also be planted in the months of July-August. To obtain flowers throughout the year and keep the markets well supplied, sequential planting should be practiced.
Land preparation for Rajnigandha Farming.
An important task required for rajnigandha 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 up to a depth of 30-45 cm. 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 rotten farmyard manure (FYM) should be incorporated into the soil. The remaining soil clods are then crushed mechanically for making the soil even finer in texture. After that, irrigation channels, ridges and furrows are created for maintenance in future.
Sowing methods and tips for Rajnigandha Farming
Propagation in rajnigandha plants takes place through bulbs, bullbats and seeds. Multiplication by bulb-segments and artificial propagation is also practiced. The most common method practiced for commercial multiplication of rajnigandha is through propagation by bulbs. The bulbs are separated from the clumps by rubbing off the loose scales and the long roots should also be removed. Selection of suitable bulbs is the most important task for gaining the best results.
Irrigation required for Rajnigandha Farming
It is of utmost importance to irrigate the land before planting to provide optimum moisture for sprouting and after that, further irrigation should be avoided until the bulbs are sprouted. Subsequent irrigations should be given depending upon the prevailing weather conditions. In the season of summer, irrigation is recommended twice a week and during the winter season, at 10 days interval.
Fertilizer requirement for Rajnigandha Farming
About 20 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 100 kg per hectare
· Phosphorus at the rate of 50 kg per hectare
· Potassium at the rate of 70 kg per hectare
However, for achieving maximum essential oil content in the flowers, the recommended dosage would be –
· Nitrogen at the rate of 80 kg per hectare
· Phosphorus at the rate of 60 kg per hectare
· Potassium at the rate of 40 kg per hectare
The deep placement of fertilizers provides better results. The fertilizers should be applied in two splits after the basal application at a gap of 45 days.
Seeds Requirements for Rajnigandha Farming
Around 1.25 to 1.5 lakh bulbs (8 to 9 tonnes of bulbs) are enough for planting in 1 hectare of land. However, propagation by means of mature bulbs is expensive, thus for reducing the expenses, propagation by means of bulb segments may be performed.
Seed Treatment for Rajnigandha Farming
Before sowing bulbs are treated with 2gm/kg of Thiram@0.3% or Captan@0.2% or Emisan@0.2% or Benlate@0.2% or Bavistin@0.2% for 30 minutes to prevent them from soil-borne diseases.
Best seed varieties for Rajnigandha Farming
The varieties of rajnigandha differ essentially in the number of flowers contained in a tuft. Some high yielding and improved hybrid varieties found in India include Rajat Rekha (single flowered), Shrinagar (single flowered), Single Mexican (single flowered), Suvarna Rekha (double flowered) and Suvasini (double flowered).
Best practices for Rajnigandha Farming
Bulbs are used for commercial propagation. Bulbs (25 to 30 g) are planted (1,12,000 corms/ha) on the sides of ridges at 45 x 20 cm spacing at 2.5 cm depth during June - July. Bulbs are planted after 30 days of harvest. The corms should be dipped in 5000 ppm CCC (5 g/lit) before planting to increase the yield.
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, control of weeds by means of chemical weedicides has also been found effective when used within limits. Application of alachlor at the rate of 2 kg per hectare, pendimenthalin at the rate of 1.25 kg per hectare and metaphor at the rate of 2 kg per hectare can significantly reduce the weed population.
Harvesting and post-harvesting – Rajnigandha plants are mainly cultivated for their flowers. The flowers become ready for harvesting after 100 days from planting. The months of August and September are the peak periods of flowering. When 1 or 2 flowers in the spike begin to open in the early morning, the flowers are cut clean by means of a knife. After a successful harvest of the flowers, the lower end of the spike is immersed in water for prolonging the life of the spike. Then, they are transported immediately to the local markets to avoid transpiration loss and keeping the flowers safe.