LAND PREPARATION , SOIL & CLIMATE
Brinjals grow very well in sandy loam soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. it also requires warm & long days for its growth. It is however very susceptible to frost &yield is drastically affected during winters.
the above sequence of photos shows the seedlings from the nursery beds to transplanting in the field.
Since the seeds are very small, they first have to be raised in seed beds or nursery beds. For this, seed beds are made to a height of about 30 cm, & freshly decayed farm yard manure is added to it & mixed thoroughly. It is then kept for 2 days before seeds are sown.
1 week after transplanting
Transplanting of the seeds have to be done once the young seedlings reach 3 to 4 leaf stage.
Ridge and furrow method is being adopted here. The recommended spacing is 75*75 cm. certain varieties require more spacing as they exhibit high degree of branching & vigour. Only healthy young plants must be selected & diseased, stem bored plants avoided.
FERTILIZER APPLICATION & IRRIGATION
Since the plant is a slow growing crop, fertilizer application at frequent intervals is very beneficial. At the time of transplanting , fresh farm manure must be added to the furrows & the soil mixed well. NPK in the form of granules should also be added liberally. The transplanted plants need to be protected from extreme temperature & so shade must be provided using leaves & twigs of bamboo or other trees.
application of manure 15 to 20 days after transplanting
Around 15 to 20 days after transplanting, when the crop has established itself in the main field, manure can be added. The ridges or bunds must be broken, & the soil around the roots must be loosened. After mixing with manure, bunds of ridges must be again made to give strength to the base of the plant.
the above sequence of photos shows fresh manure added to the soil. manure should be added at a distance from the roots
Brinjals responds well to good irrigation & optimum water conditions. Watering must be given immediately after transplanting to prevent transplanting shock & temporary wilting. For a few days till the plant is well established, light irrigation must be given on alternate days. Normally weekly thrice irrigation is sufficient. Is some cases, drip irrigation has shows progressive results
INTER CULTURE OPERATIONS.
Most brinjal varieties show lateral branching & high vigor. The weight of the plant sometimes causes it to droop , and to avoid this support must be provided. In many cases, even high wind velocity can cause the plant to uproot. So when the plants are around a month old, after transplanting, strong sticks must be planted next to the growing plants to act as support. When the plant later grows, it must be tied to the stick using rope to prevent the plant from drooping. Soil also must be added to the base of the plant to enhance anchorage.
photo before foliar spray & fertilizer application
photo after 15 days
high vigor growth after first application of manure & sprays
Damaged , unhealthy branches must be pruned to give way to new shoots & branches. Repeated trimmings of the branches increases the life span of the plant , in some cases up to 2 years. Foliar sprays of 1 percent NPK , every month is highly recommended & encourages fruiting.
the above sequence shows the flower bud formation to fruit bud initiation and finally fruiting
Brinjal is highly susceptible to a variety of pathogens from insect to viral infections. The worst insect pest is the shoot and fruit borer caused by Lucinodes orbonalis. Here the drooping young shoots and fruits have holes plugged with the excreta of the pest. Crop losses up to 70 percent is reported. This is active throughout the year.
The damaged fruit must be harvested separately & destroyed. Cypermethrin @ 2 ml per litre should be sprayed at an interval of 15 days. Weekly sprays should be done when the infestation is severe.
Termites also damage the roots of the plants & they suddenly exhibit wilting. In such cases, drenching the soil with Chloropyriphos should be done.
Thrips, plant hoppers, aphids, mealy bugs which suck the plant sap, are mostly seen on the under side of the leaf & can be controlled by spraying dimethoate @ 1 ml per litre.
Another serious pest is the horn moth or Acherontia styx which is a stout caterpillar with green & yellow bands. Feeds on leaves & damages foliage. Can be treated using chloropyriphos @ 2 ml per litre.
Viral diseases are caused by aphids & prevention is the only cure using dimethoate.
huge size brinjal
The fruits must be harvested along with the stalk at joints where it is attached to the branches. Glossy appearance, & optimum sized fruits fetch a better market price as compared to dull, immature fruits. Medium sized fruits are preferred over large sized ones, & harvesting can be done also on a daily basis depending on the size of the fruits. Long duration crops yield up to 50 tonnes per hectare as compared to early varieties which yield up to 30 tonnes per hectare.Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza