Advisory ArticleApni Kheti
(Part-2) Cultivation Practices of Ashwagandha: Medicinal Plant
Nursery Management and Transplanting:
The soil must be ploughed and harrowed twice before sowing to bring in good tilth and fill it with plenty of organic matter for its nourishment. Treated seeds should be sown from the ground level on a raised nursery bed.
Before transplanting, spray 10-20 tonnes of farmyard manure, 15kg of urea, and 15kg phosphorus as a nutrient dose to the soil.
The seeds will germinate in 5-7 days and will be ready for transplantation in about 35 days. Before transplanting, apply water adequately so that seedling can be easily uprooted. Transplantation should be done with 40 cm broad furrows in the farm.
Approximately 4-8 tonnes of farm manure per acre should be mixed with soil during land preparation. Then the field should be levelled with planking, and the application of pata is carried out to level the farm.
Since it is a medicinal plant and grows through organic farming, there is no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Some organic manure such as Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Vermi-Compost, and Green Manure etc. are used as per the need. Some bio-pesticides are prepared from neem, Chitrakmool, Dhatura, cow urine, etc. to avoid soil or seed-borne diseases. Application of 6 kg of Nitrogen (Urea @14 kg) and 6 kg of Phosphorus (SSP @38 kg) per acre for greater yield from fertile soil. Application of 40 kg N and P per ha is sufficient to generate high root yield in low fertile soils.
Two weddings are usually performed to keep the farm weed-free. One is performed in about 20-25 days of sowing and the second is performed after 20-25 days of first weeding. Before sowing the seeds to control the weeds, use the dose of Isoproturon 200g/acre and Glyphosate 600g/acre.
Excessive water or rain is harmful to crops. In case of heavy rainfall, it is not necessary to irrigate otherwise only once or twice is sufficient. The crop can be irrigated once in 10-15 days under irrigated conditions. First irrigation should be performed after 30-35 days of germination and then second irrigation after 60-70 days.
Crops begin to mature in 160-180 days. Harvesting is carried out in the dry weather when leaves dry and berries turn into red-orange colour. Harvesting is performed by hands by eliminating the plant or by machines such as power tiller or
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