Climate Information for Sarpagandha 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 10°C to 30°C. However, excessive heat resulting in temperature over 40°C is immensely harmful to the crop and the quality of the yield is badly affected. Annual rainfall of 300 to 500 mm is necessary for good growth of the plants. The humid climate is required for better yield of the crops.
Sarpagandha is sensitive to water stagnation and cannot tolerate waterlogging even for a brief period of time. Areas with high altitude and high rainfall with excellent drainage systems are best suitable for the crop. Too much sunlight is bad for the cultivation and in places with strong sunlight, shading by means of large trees should be provided for better yields.
Suitable Soil for Sarpagandha Farming.
Soil is one of the most important aspects required for the proper growth Sarpagandha can be grown in a wide range of variety of soils ranging from black soils to sandy loam to lateritic soils. However, the best yields can be obtained in fertile and well-drained black soils rich in organic matter. For commercial cultivation, clay loamy or silt loamy soil containing a good amount of humus should be chosen for higher yields. The optimum pH range of the soil should range from 4.7 to 6.5 which clearly indicates that alkaline soils are not at all suitable for cultivation of sarpagandha.
Recommended sowing times for Sarpagandha Farming.
The growing season of sarpagandha in the hot months of summer. Therefore, the planting should be done just before the onset of the summer season. Thus, the ideal time for sowing is in the months of April, that is, in the Kharif season and due to extreme heat, irrigation should be provided mandatorily before sowing.
Land preparation for Sarpagandha Farming.
An important task required for sarpagandha 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) 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. The roots of sarpagandha plants grow very deep almost up to 50 to 60 cm. As a result, fine-textured soil which is easy to penetrate is necessary.
Sowing methods and tips for Sarpagandha Farming.
Propagation in sarpagandha plants takes place mainly by means of seeds, stem cuttings, root stumps and root cuttings. Since the commercially important part of these plants are the roots. and not fruits or flowers. Seeds from the previous batch of crops should be collected in the months of January-February and then dried immediately under shade. Then the seeds are rubbed off the plump matters and are made ready for the next batch of crops starting from the months of April.
Spacing Depending upon plant growth habit, use a spacing of 30 x 30 cm.
Irrigation methods for Sarpagandha Farming.
Sarpagandha plants are generally grown in regions where an evenly distributed rainfall of above 150 cm is expected. However, in extremely hot and dry conditions irrigation is required. The crops can be both grown under rain-fed and irrigated conditions in the subtropical climate. It requires a total of 16 to 17 irrigations throughout its growth period. The frequency of irrigation depends entirely on the weather conditions as well as the soil moisture conditions. The interval between two irrigations in the summer season should be 15 days whereas the interval in the winter season should be 25 days.
Fertilizer Requirements for Sarpagandha Farming.
A fertilizer dose of N:P: K @8:12:12Kg/acre is applied as a basal dose in form of Urea@18kg, SSP@75 and MOP@20kg/acre. Apply Nitrogen dose of 8kg two times during the growing season of Sarpagandha. Natural organic manures like well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM), cow dung, vermicompost, garden manures and green manures should be used. About 10-20 tonnes of organic manure should be applied and spread evenly per hectare of 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. The deep placement of fertilizers provides better results.
Seeds Requirements for Sarpagandha Farming.
To cover the 1-hectare field, around 6 to 7 kg of seeds are required. When propagated by means of roots, around 100 kg of root cuttings is required for a field of 1-hectare size.
Seed Treatment for Sarpagandha Farming.
No special seed treatment is required since propagation takes place naturally under wild conditions.
Best Varieties of Sarpagandha Farming.
These are the varieties found in India. The varieties are –
1. Locally collected variety from wild
4. CIM Sheel
Best cultivation practices for Sarpagandha Farming.
Weed control or intercultural operations – 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. Especially for sarpagandha plants, 2 to 3 weedings and 2 hoeings should be undertaken in the first year of plantation.
Harvesting and post-harvesting – Sarpagandha plants are mainly cultivated for their roots. So, time to time defloration should be carried out for better root growth and yield. However, the crops specifically planted for seed collection should be left out from the process of defloration. The crops come to maturity of roots in 2 to 3 years from planting. Harvesting should be done by carefully digging up the roots without damaging them. Harvested roots should be cleaned, washed and cut into small pieces. Then they should be dried and stored in a cool and dry place. The processed roots are then sent for domestic as well as export markets.