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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2008, 04:54:51 PM »

Calamansi or calamondin (Citrfortunella microcarpa) is a fruit tree native to the Philippines. It is the most commonly grown backyard tree among the citrus species. It can thrive in a wide variety of environmental conditions.

It is a small tree with a height ranging from 2 meters to 7 ½ meters at maturity. Its broad egg-shaped leaves are dark green in the upper surface and pale green underneath. The fruit is round, about 2 cm to 4.5 cm in diameter, and greenish - yellow in color.

Like its relatives, such as the mandarin, pomelo and sweet orange, the calamansi is rich in phosphorous, calcium, iron and Vitamin C or ascorbic acid. It is the most popular and most commonly used citrus fruit in the country. Its juice is nutritious and traditionally made into a fruit drink that helps prevent respiratory diseases. It also helps strengthen the bones and stimulate growth especially among growing children. It can be used as a flavoring ingredient in desserts, e.g. leche flan, or as an additive in various food preparations, such as fish steak. Its pulp is used as a major ingredient in beverages, syrups, concentrates, and purees. The peel is made into jams, candies, and marmalade. With its alkalinizing effect, on the body calamansi helps circulate blood evenly and facilitates normal digestion.

Filipinos can have a year-round supply of this versatile citrus fruits by growing the plant right in their front yards or backyards or even in big boxes.


It is easy to cultivate calamansi. This plant grows well in cool and elevated areas and in sandy soils rich in organic matter. Waterlogged areas are not suitable for cultivation because calamansi plants cannot tolerate too much moisture.


Calamansi can be propagated by seeds, still, it is much better to grow this citrus crop using its vegetative parts. It is best to buy planting materials from reliable sources, particularly from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), or government agency under the Department of Agriculture.


Establish the planting materials at the start of the rainy season. Dig a hole, at least 40 cm wide and 40 cm deep. Set the seedling into the hole and put back the dug soil mixed with compost. Water the plant daily, at least every morning.


The usual distance for planting calamansi is five meters between plants.


To produce big, luscious fruits, it is recommended to fertilize the plants regularly. Apply 50 g to 100g ammonium sulfate or urea, around each tree one month after planting. Do this every four (4) months but on the second year, increase the amount of fertilizer to 200g or 300g. Use the same kind of fertilizer per tree every four months thereafter.

The tree bears fruit on the fourth year, it is best to apply complete fertilizer, like ammophos and potash, to increase fruit yield at the rate of 500g per tree. At eight (8) to ten (10) years old, apply more fertilizers to the trees, from two to three kg per tree, three times a year. First, during the rainy season before the flowering stage; next, two months after flowering, and last, after harvesting.

To properly apply the fertilizer, mix it with the soil. It is also good to cover the soil around each tree with dry leaves to conserve moisture. Weed from time to time.


To keep the trees healthy and allow them to attain maximum yield, it is always best to protect them from pests and diseases. Pests in calamansi are easy to spot. Zigzag marks, savoyed cuts, and rugged edges on the bark indicate that the tree is infested with citrus bark borers. These are light brown or bluish-black beetles that lay their eggs in the cuts and cavities of the calamansi bark. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the bark and leaves.

To control the citrus bark borers, spray the trees with pesticides recommended for citrus trees. To prevent the pest from spreading, cut off the infected parts and burn them.

Another harmful insect pest is the aphid. This greenish or brownish insect not only retards the plant’s growth, but also acts as a disease carrier. To control, spray the trees with pesticides recommended for aphids but if the pests have already attacked, cut off the infected parts of the plants and burn them.

Other harmful pests of the calamansi are the Purple Scale and Glover’s Scale. These pests suck the tree’s sap until its leaves and fruits wither and fall, and the tree finally dies.


Aside from pests, the calamansi is also prone to diseases, such as gummosis, citrus canker, and citrus scab. Gummosis is caused by either a lack of, or an excess of fertilizer, or damage from insect pests or machinery. The disease is marked by a dark sticky substance or gum oozing out of the infected branches and trunk. As the disease worsens, gum secretion increases. It is recommended that as soon as this gum-like substance is noticed, spray the trees with chemicals especially recommended for gummosis control. Apply the chemical directly to the diseased bark.
Citrus canker, a disease caused by bacteria, is characterized by raised lesions and glazed margins, with an oily appearance. Citrus canker affects the leaves, twigs, branches and the fruits. To control the canker, spray the trees with fungicide solutions when the trees area at dormant stage. Consult the dealers of fungicides for proper application of the chemicals.

Citrus scab is a disease caused by a fungus. It starts as a small pale-orange, somewhat circular, elevated spot on the leaf. A severely infected leaf becomes so distorted, crinkled and stunted that whatever remains has very little semblance to a normal leaf. To control this disease, spray with a copper fungicide solution. Following the manufacturer’s recommended application or formula. Spray when new flushes of growth have developed, or during blooming stage when two-thirds of the petals have fallen and, also two weeks thereafter until the fruits are half mature.


Calamansi trees will start to bear fruit one or two years after planting. To harvest, pick the fruits from the branch, either by hand or by using a pair of scissors. Take extra care to prevent damage to the branches or to the leaves. To keep the fruit fresh, leave a portion of the stem attached to the fruit and avoid injury to the skin when harvesting.



* Use freshly harvested mature calamansi
* Wash and drain
* Cut across the upper portion to avoid cutting the seeds
* Squeeze out the juice by hand or use a fruit juice squeezer.
* Strain
* For every part of the juice, add 1 13/4 parts sugar (60oB)
* Stir to dissolve the sugar.
* Allow to stand undisturbed for three (3) days, preferably in a refrigerator
* When the fruit pulp and other fruit sediments have floated and the clear calamansi juice has settled, this clear solution is called the calamansi nip.
* Siphon the nip into a dry sterile, narrow mouth glass bottle with a stopper.
* Fill containers completely
* Refrigerate at 50oF or below.


* Select big, green calamansi fruits
* Cut slits in the lower end of the fruit to extract the seeds and the juice
* Soak the de-juiced fruit in water overnight
* Boil in a copper vat with enough water
* Remove from the fire when the natural green color of the fruit has set
* Soak again in water for three (3) days but change the water often.
* Boil in plenty of water three or 4 times but change the water after boiling
* Drain
* Cook in syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) for 15 minutes. Soak overnight
* Boil in the same syrup until it begins to thicken.
* Drain syrup
* Pack calamansi in jars and pour strained syrup
* Remove bubbles, refill, half-seal, and sterilize 12 oz jars for 20 minutes in boiling water

Philippine Department of Agriculture
City of Dipolog


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2008, 04:59:26 PM »
Watermelon, commonly known as “pakwan” in Tagalog, is probably native to Africa. It is mainly eaten as dessert fruit. The rind is made into preserves and pickles; the seeds are processed into butong pakwan. In 1982-83, the area planted to watermelon was 15,410 hectares with a total production of 75,650 metric tons of fruits; but area was reduced to 5,370 hectares in 1983-1984 and production went down to 57,000 metric tons of fruits. The demand for watermelon could go up as freign markets like the USA offered to buy all the watermelon the country can produce.


Varieties commonly grown in the Philippines are Valencia, Meak, Klondyke, Northern Hybrid, Tender Sweet, honey Cream and Mallorca.

Elevation - Watermelon is grown commercially in lowland areas after rice harvest. These provinces are Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Batangas and Laguna.

Months of planting - Planting season is from October to january. In some parts of the country, planting is done as early as August to produce an off-season crop which commands better market price.


Plow land at least 20 cm deep to increase soil aeration. Plow and harrow 2-3 times for early growth and development. These are done several weeks in advance of planting to condition soil. Though this is quite expensive, labor cost of weeding will be reduced.

Planting and spacing - Watermelon is grown from seeds directly planted in the field. Plant 3-4 seeds to a hill, 2.5 cm deep. Distance of planting ranges from 1.5 x 1.5 to 2.5 x 2.5 meters apart, depending on variety.


Watermelon is generally grown in rotation with other crops; it is necessary to use manure or any soil-improving crop to maintain organic matter in the soil. Apply 10 to 15 tons of manure per hectare. Apply complete fertilizer the rate of 100 to 150 kilogams per hectare at planting time by hand placement 5 to 8 cm below the soil and 5 to 6 cm away to the side where seeds are placed. If plants show signs of yellowing, apply sid-edressing or nitrogenous fertilizer.

Watermelon has a spreading, hairy, tendril-bearing vines reaching 3-5 meters long. Leaves are oblong-ovate 8-20cm long with 3-7 lobes. Flowers are monoecious, yellow in color and about 2 cm in diameter. Fruits are large, green-mottled or deep green. Introduced hybrids and varieties produce much bigger fruits, shapes varying from globular to oblong.


Watermelon prefers a well-drained sandy loam soil rich in organic matter and which has not been previously planted to watermelon. Watermelon requires more aeration than any other kind of crops, so the field must have good drainage to obtain good yield. In areas where growing season is short, light soil is desirable for early harvest. It grows satisfactorily in heavioer soil if properly cared and managed.

Watermelon is tolerant to a wide range of soil acidity with soil pH 5.0 to 6.8 to successful growth. A long period of warm, preferably dry weather contributes to growth. A temperature of 25oC to 30oC isideal for growth and 25 C is the best temperature for fruit setting.

After plants are well-established, thin to one to two plants per hill. Alternate plant is planting incon-tinuous rows and thinning the plant to a distance of 1.5 to 2.0 meters. When plants have 3-4 leaves, thin to one plant per hill.


Cultivate and weed to check weed growth. Any implement may be used for the purpose. Avoid injury to roots while cultivating.


Watermelon may suffer injury when exposed to a long period of drought. Apply irrigation water when necessary. Frequent may suffer injury when exposed to a long period of drought. Apply irrigation water when necessary. Frequent light irrigation 5-6 times during growing season is beneficial. During early stage of growth, irrigate sparingly since too much water tends to hinder root development.


Cucurbit beetle - Adults are yellow beetle 6 to 8 mm in length. They eat leaves of young and old plants.
Aphids - Adults and young are tiny, greenish insects generaly wingless and soft-bodied. Insects suck the sap of leaves. Infested plants show curling and distorting of leaves.
Mites - Very tiny insects usually found on undersurface of leaves. Adults are reddish in color.
Downy Mildew - Caused by Pseudiperonospora cubensis Berk and Curt. Characterized by the presence of yellow spots on up-per surface of leaves and pur-plish powdery material on lower surface.

Treat the watermelon seeds with appropriate fungicides to minimize early development of diseases in the field.

Dust or spray the young plants regularly with any suitable insecticides as soon as the false leaves have spread. At the seedling stage, watermelon are easily attacked by insect pests.


Harvest watermelon fruits when mature enough to be sweet. Generally, it takes a watermelon fruit to mature 35 to 40 days from pollination depending on the variety. The old method of determining maturity of watermelon is by “thumping” with a finger. a dull or hollow sound is an indication of maturity. The most practical index,

However, is when the color of the lower part of the fruit that rests on the ground changes from white to creamy yellow. Harvest fruit with a sharp knife.


Pilenewly harvested fruits in shaded areas. Do not bruise fruits during sorting, packing and shipping.


October is the right time for planting watermelon, (not December when the thrips come out) usually just after the palay harvest when the soil still retains moisture.

Watermelon likes clay-loam soil with good irrigation and drainage.

1. Plant seeds 3 in a hill, with canals in between rows to facilitate drainage. In an area of 2,000 square meters, 1000 hills can be made. If the seeds do not germinate, put seeds again in each hill.

2. Apply fertilizers:
- 4 kilos complete fertilizers
- 2 kilos Furadan (to prevent dumping off disease)

3. After 2 weeks, apply:
- 1 liter of the above mixture
- 1/2 small can Urea put in a pail of water
- Apply 1 liter per hill

4. After another 2 weeks
- 1 liter Urea
- 1/2 liter Triple 14 in a 1 pail of water
- From this, get 1 liter & mix in a pail of water & apply 1 liter of it per hill

5. After 10 days, apply the above mixture every 5 days

6. After 10 days
- 2 liter Urea and 1 liter Triple 14 (in a pail of water)
- Apply 1 liter of this in one pail of water every 5 days

7. After another 10 days:
- 3 liters Urea
- 2 liters Triple 14 in 1 pail of water
- Apply 1 liter to a pail of water; 1 liter for each hill every 5 days.
For fruiting purposes,
- 2 liter Triple 14 and 1 liter Urea (in 1 pail of water)
- 1 liter of this in 1 pail water every 5 days

8. In another 10 days
- 3 liters Triple 14
- 2 liters Urea
- 1 pail of water
- Apply same as above every 5 days

9. Another 10 days, apply
- 4 liters Triple 14
- 3 liter Urea
- 1 pail water

10. Another 10 days:
- 5 liters Triple 14
- 4 liters Urea
- 1 pail water
- Same way as above

Download: Watermelon.pdf



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2008, 10:08:07 AM »
How to Grow Guyabano
By Pinoy Farmer | April 2, 2008

Guayabano, guyabano or soursop in English (Anona muricata Linn.) is a small tree about 5 to 7 meters in height. The leaves are alternate, oval in shape, pointed at both ends, smooth and shining, 7 to 20 centimeters long and with petioles about 5 millimeters long. The flowers are large, yellowish or greenish yellow and solitary. There are six large, fleshy or leathery petals in two series. They are heart-shaped, with pointed tip, and up to 5 centimeters in length and 3 centimeters in breadth. In the center of the flower is a cone-shaped mass of many carpels which will form the fruit, and below this are very numerous stamens.

A native of tropical America, was introduced into the Philippines at an early date and is no cultivated in all parts of the Archipelago.

Guyabano is a green, soft spine, pea-shaped fruit with a sweet-sour flavor. It weighs about two to five kilos. The skin is thin and its flesh is a white, soft fibrous pulp which has a very agreeable flavor but rather sour. Its mature, green fruit is used as vegetable and made into sweet meats, while the ripe fruit is eaten raw or for dessert.

A lot of concoctions can be made into guyabano like delicious sherbets, ice drops and fruit drinks. An assortment of punch and cocktail drinks can be made by mixing the nectar with wine rum or cola drinks or buko (fresh coconut) juice and ice.

There are two strains of guyabano: the sweet and the ordinary. Both have the same botanic description. The former, however, tastes sweeter than the ordinary. Belonging to the family Anonaceae, other familiar fruits beside guyabano are atis (Anona Squamosa or sugar apple), anonas (Anona reticulata or custard apple), and atemoya (Anona).

Nutritive Mineral Content of Guyabano

Guyabano fruit is an excellent source of vitamins B and C. However, it is deficient in Vitamin A, calcium and phosphorous. Below is the mineral content analyses of the fruit:

Calcium (CaO)
Iron (Fe2O2)
Soil and Climate

The plant grows in any kind of soil, but a fairly deep, friable soil of volcanic origin is conducive to growth & fruiting. It thrives very well from sea level up to 500 meters above sea level. It is best to plant them at the start of the rainy season.

Method of Propagation


Refers to time from field setting to first harvest. Asexually propagated plants generally mature about twice earlier than plants grown from seeds.
Computed on the bases of distance of planting given for each crop.
Fertilization Guide

Age of Plant Recommended Rate of
N-P-K (kg/hectare) Method of Application
Planning time 250-300 gms. Complete
fertilizer (14-14-14)
or (12-24-12) Apply 3 inches below the roots
and 5 inches to side of seedling
at planting. 8 cm. below roots
and 10 cm. to the side.
Planning time
(1-3 years) 300-500 gms. of complete
fertilizer (1414-14) or
(12-24-12) plus 200-300 gms.
Urea (45-0-0) Mix and apply in two equal doses
by digging along periphery of
the tree. 1st application- start
of rainy season. 2nd application
- end of rainy season.
Bearing trees 0.5-3 kg. complete
fertilizer plus 200-
300 gms. muriate of
potash (0-0-60) - same as above -

Disease Control

Anthracnose is the most common disease of guyabano, cause by a fungus and transmitted by means of wind-splashed rain and contact with infected fruits. Spray flowers and developing fruits with any following:

Benlate at 2-4 grams per gallon of water
Manzate at 6-8 grams per gallon of water
Shell Copper Fungicide at 14-1 grams per gallon of water.
Pink disease is caused by a fungus and infective material is the common mode of transmission.

Symptoms: appearance of cracks on trunks or branches and secretions of gums; affected area covered with a thick mass of pink mycelia during the rainy season; drying of mycelia during dry weather with color changing to dirty white or gray eventually leading to die-back condition.


Prune and burn infected branches and twigs.
Disinfect by spraying with copper fungicide or lime-sulfur mixture
Keep orchard clean of any source of infections.

Fruits are mature when they become dark and shiny green with recurved spines set far apart and the skin appearing to burst with pressure from within. Ripe fruits are light yellow and soft.

Medicinal Value

The guyabano fruit is use as a cure for cough, scurvy and fever. It contains Vitamin A, calcium, phosphorous and rich with vitamin B and C. It also contains 11.62 percent sugar, mostly glucose and fructose. The green fruits and seeds can induce vomiting, remedy dysentery and arrest secretion or bleeding.

The sap of the young leaves may be applied directly on pimples to induce suppuration. The sap is also considered parasitical. An alcoholic extract of the leaves, when distilled with steam, yields a small amount of essential oil. The portion of alcoholic extract which is soluble in water contains a large amount of potassium chloride together with dextrose tannins, amorphous products, and a small amount of an alkaloid substance which could not be crystallized. The leaves and roots also cure colic and convulsions.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2008, 10:11:15 AM »
Growing Ginger or Luya
By Pinoy Farmer | April 2, 2008

Ginger can grow in sandy or loose soil, provided it is planted at a depth of about 30 cm, has enough water and which does not hold water when it folds or rains. It can grow in shady places together with tall trees or plants. It is most productive when it is 25% shaded.

Four Kinds that Grow Locally

Our native ginger
a. white ginger — small, very fibrous but most pungent of all kinds
b. yellow ginger — like the white in kind except that it is orange in color, but the part above is dark green.
Imugan improved native, bigger crop, with resistance to soil diseases, its leaves have deeper lines. It bears more crops than the original native, about 1/3 or 2/3 more.
Jamaica “Oya” — pale and moderate in size. Dried “Oya” is leather-colored and aromatic, used in the manufacture of soft drinks.
Hawaiian — bigger, stouter crops and yellowish brown flesh, sometimes pinkish not so pungent but liked by foreigners. This kind yields about 20-30 tons per hectare. It is good for making into powdered or dried ginger.

One week before planting ginger, plow the field and remove all weeds and roots and make sure the place does not hold water when it rains.
If planting will be in two rows, the plot must be about 30 cm high and less than two meters wide. The length depends on the farmer.
If the soil has disease, sterilize it first by burning plenty of straw, or dried leaves of banana and coconut over it about 3 times.
Plant only fresh ginger free from disease, about 20 grams in weight, and showing early germination. A hectare of land can accommodate about 800 seedlings.
Before planting the ginger, wash them very well first in running water, and to make them free from disease, soak first for 10-15 minutes in chemical:
a. dissolve 5-6 grms mercuric bichloride in a porcelain cup of hot water
b. mix this in five (5) gallons of water
c. add 189 cc strong hydrochloric acid
Plant the ginger about 5 cm deep in every hill, about 25 cm apart from each other. Arrange the hills in pyramid shape, whether the place has good drainage or not. Plant the ginger sideways or lying down, and cover with about 10 cm thick soil. If the place is under the shade of coconut or other trees with good drainage, plant the ginger about 20-25 cm in a shallow hill, about 45 cm apart from each other.
As in any plant, ginger needs fertilizer. If the soil is sandy, apply 400 kilograms complete fertilizer for every hectare (or 300 kilos if the soil is clayey sand).
After planting, cover the ginger with plenty of leaves (ipil-ipil, straw or madre de cacao) to keep the soil from drying up, and to keep the soil from eroding when it rains. These also add to the fertilization of the soil when the leaves decompose.
On the second and fourth month, apply fertilizer again, about 400 kilos complete fertilizer for every hectare.
Always clean the plot from weeds.
To overcome attacks of pests and aphid, spray malathion 5% active ingredient — 4-7 grams for every gallon of water.
To overcome disease, spray Parzate or Dithane z - 78, 2 grams for every gallon of water.
Diseases in the soil can be overcome only by sterilizing the soil before planting (as earlier mentioned) and in selecting varieties resistant to disease.
The land must be plowed early to hasten its getting dry before planting time.

Ginger is ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow and begin to wilt, about 8 months after planting.
Harvest ginger only when it is mature enough. In harvesting, dig every hill with the help of a fork, then pull up the plant, shake off the soil, and lay them on the ground. The branches and leaves may be cut off but take care not to hurt the crops.
While harvesting, segregate the ginger according to variety and size. Put in containers so as not to hurt them.
Drying: Ginger rots easily, but this can last long if dried

Soak and wash in water the fresh ginger. Scrape off gently all outer skin so as not to hurt the cells beneath this skin. Most of the cells that contain the oil and fragrance of ginger lie under the skin.
Cut up the ginger about 1/8 inches thin.
Dip in 2% sodium metabisulfite solution (1½ tbsp./1 water) for about 5-10 minutes, drain.
Spread the sliced ginger on a wire tray or nylon. Dry in the sun or in the oven at 65°C until brittle.
Store in containers safe from insects.
Harvesting and preserving ginger

When the leaves of the ginger plant turn yellow and begin to wilt, it is time to harvest the ginger. In a ginger plantation, three people should do the harvesting: one will dig up the crop with the help of a fork or spade another will pull up the plant, shake off the soil and stack them in rows.
The third will cut the stems and lay them for drying.

Care must be taken not to hurt the crops. Gather the harvest three (3) hours after, preferably late in the afternoon. Segregate them according to sizes. Wash well.

Storing: To make the ginger last even up to one year:

Expose the baskets containing ginger to warm air (or blower) about 42°C. Do this 1-2 days in an open place.
Air the ginger (normal temperature) about 5-10 days.
Store the ginger in a place about 20.6°C at 80% humidity, or in a cool place if not refrigeration is available.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2008, 10:15:43 AM »
Growing Sweet Pea or Citzaro
By Pinoy Farmer | April 2, 2008

Sweet pea or “citzaro”, as locally called, is a cool climate annual legume raised for its edible pods and matured seeds.


Sugar Pea Oregon - stringless green and flat pod. Best suited to Tropical conditions, heat resistance. Direct sowing.

Pea Alderman - Green wrinkled seeded, shelling and climbing pea. Only by dry and cold season, at altitudes higher than 800 m. Direct sowing. Harvest is 100 days after sowing.

Climatic and Soil Requirements

Being a semi-temperate legume, sweet pea thrives best at high elevations in the tropics like the Philippines. However, success production at low to medium elevations has also been reported with the choice of right varieties when planted during the cold months. (November to February) A loamy and loose soil rich in organic matter is ideal for sweet peas. Heavy manuring is done during land preparation to improve fertility, tilth and texture. Wooden ash is also commonly added.

Months of Planting

The season for sweet pea culture is rather broad but distinct. Many growers start drilling the seeds as early as mid-September for the November - December market of green pods and as late as March for late summer and early rainy season produce. High demand for “citzaro” reaches its peak during the Christmas season and in summer (April to May) in Baguio.

Nutritional Requirements

Being a legume, peas are capable of satisfying much of their nitrogen requirement largely through fixation from the air.

Cultural Requirement

Planting and Spacing - There are two methods of planting, the furrow and the plot methods. In Baguio, where there is intensive farming, the lot system of planting is followed. The plot is established one meter wide on which the seeds are drilled 15 cm. apart along 2 rows 35 to 40 cm. apart two to three seeds are drilled in a hole at a depth of about 5 to 7 cm. And covered with fine soil. Approximately 50 to 60 kilos of dried seeds are needed to plant a hectare.

Cultivation and Irrigation

Early cultivation is done as soon as rows of young plants become visible to achieve early control of weed and to provide optimum soil conditions for vigorous growth. Under dry environment, light over-head irrigation at least twice a week is provided over the plots. Irrigation by gravity is resorted to under extensive cultivation of the crop and when the furrow method of planting is adopted. Light flowing at about 2.5 cm. Every week between the furrows provides sufficient moisture for satisfactory growth.


This is a must, especially in Baguio where up to the present all existing commercial varieties are viny and tall growing. A local grass called “rono” with a long but sturdy stem is commonly used. The sticks are introduced on the middle of the plot providing a common “trellis” for the rows of the plants. Sticking also facilitates harvesting of the pods. This is done about three weeks after planting or when the plants have already attained a height of 30 to 35 cm.

Fertilizer Application

Aside from the manure needed and applied during land preparation, the required complete fertilizer is applied in band at equal depth with the hill of seeds in between the rows during planting time.

Other Requirements

As the plants develop, they are braced with sticks against the trellis to prevent them from toppling over.

Control of Pests

1. Leaf mine - Phytomyza atricornis Meigen. This is the most destructive and persistent pest of sweet peas in the Baguio area. The larvae are small and they bury through the leaves. Under severe infestation, the leaves appear whitish and papery and in some cases the pest causes the death of the plant.

Control - Early protective spraying of the plants is recommended using Bayrusil and Phosdrin. Weekly spraying with sticker has been proven highly effective against the pest.

2. Cutworm, Prodenia litura (Fabr.) often a nuisance during the dry months, this pest attacks the young plants by nibbling or cutting off the stem near the ground level. They usually attack at night, hence its control is best achieved by drenching the soil where the larvae seek refuge during the day. Aldrin or Heptachlor have been proven very effective against the pest when applied late in the afternoon.

Harvesting, Curing and Storing

Index of Maturity - Most sweet peas grown in Baguio and its environs are harvested and marketed as green pods. These are picked when the seeds have just started to bulge in the pods. With present commercial varieties, initial picking of pods commences about 70 to 80 days after planting, and proceeds at 7-10 day interval thereafter, reaching the peak production through the second and third weeks of harvesting. The pods are cut from the stalk with a pair of scissors and placed in a basket tied around the waist of the picker as he goes along from one plot to the another. The best time to harvest is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Care of Harvest - The pods are hauled under a shade, cleaned and sorted and neatly packed in small bamboo baskets lined with banana leaves. Damaged pods are those with brown spots or freckles are left for the family’s consumption.

For seed production intended for the next planting season, the pods are left in the field until mature and dry. These are harvested, further cured under the sun for a few days, then threshed by hand. The seeds are cleaned and spread under the shade for further drying. Bare seeds dried directly under the sun tend to crack their seed coats which affects their viability and keeping quality. Properly dried seeds are kept in tins or muslin bags and stored under dry environment.

source: Cultural Requirements for Phil. Agricultural Crops,




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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2008, 10:18:34 AM »
Growing Lettuce
By Pinoy Farmer | April 2, 2008

Lettuce commonly known as lechugas is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia. In the Philippines lettuce is considered as one of the most important salad crops. Aside from salad, it is used as garnishing for other food preparations.


1. Loose Leaf Type: Red Salad Bowl - Head is Long deeply cut, lobe frilled, color is bronze red, size is very large. Heat tolerant. Other varieties includes: Green Salad Bowl

2. Crisp Head/Batavia: Blonde de Paris - Leave shape - Tight cap fairly savored, deeply notched borders, color is yellow green, large size. Heat tolerant. Other varieties: Great Lakes, Minetto, Armada, Iceberg, Brillantine

3. Butterhead: Kagraner Sommer - Leave shape - slightly wavy, medium green color,
medium size. Slow bolting, heat tolerant. Other varieties: Madrilene, Sucrine, Green Mignonette, etc.


Climatic and Soil Requirements - The loose leaf type thrives well both in the lowlands and highlands. Difference, however, are noticeable in the growth habit. Heading varieties perform best in areas with low temperature. Lettuce does best in sandy loam and silt loam soils rich in organic matter. Where earliness is desired, sandy loam is preferred. If yield is important, silt loam and muck soils are highly preferred. Studies show that lettuce seems to grow better in soil with pH value ranging from 6.0 to 6.8.

Cultural Requirements

Seedlings are transplanted as soon as they have formed the first true leaves (two to three weeks after sowing) at intervals of 20 to 25 cm. both ways for non-heading varieties and 30 * 30 cm. for the heading varieties. The seedlings are set in two to four rows with a working path of 20 cm between the rows. Planting is recommended during cloudy days or late in the afternoon to avoid excessive wilting of the transplants. Lathering is advisable right after transplanting.

In large scale transplanting, direct seedling can be done depending on the growers desire and on the availability of necessary equipment. In direct seedling, shallow multiple rows, two to four rows, provided with a working path of 50 cm. between multiple rows, are made and the seeds sown very thinly in the furrows and covered thinly with fine soil. Water is sprinkled, particularly when the moisture content of the soil is insufficient for germination. Thin mulch of straw is necessary to enhance germination and to suppress weed growth.

Cultivation - Cultivation is done when the soil becomes compact. This is to disturb the weeds and to promote soil aeration.

Irrigation - The greatest amount of root development in lettuce is confide in the top 20 to 25 cm. of soil texture., evaporation losses and rainfall.

Fertilization - Lettuce plants are poor foragers because of their small root system. In this regard, the soil must be well-supplied with nutrients either from organic or inorganic matter. Preplanting application with 10 tons of stable manure to a hectare, applied during the last field preparation, is recommended. This must be supplemented with about 250 to 300 kg of 12-24-12 fertilizer mixture. Without manure, a hectare may require about 400 kilograms of 12-24-12. Two weeks after planting, side dressing
with about 100 kg of ammonium sulfate can be done.

Control of Pests and Diseases

1. Aphids - These are minute, pale green or black insects, mostly wingless, usually harboring themselves under the surface of the leaves. They cause injury by sucking the plant sap. Heavily infested plants develop abnormal growth, become dwarf and unproductive. Spraying with Malathion or Sevin at the rate of 1 tbs. per gal. of water gives satisfactorily control of the insects.

Diseases and their Control

1. Mosaic. The disease is caused by a virus. Symptoms on the leaves appear as yellow mottles. Plants become stunted and deformed. Severe infections result in a reduced plant size. Foliage is dull, greenish or yellowish control is by rouging or eliminating weed hosts of the aphids and diseased plants.

2. Bottom Rot this disease is caused by Rhizoctonia solani Khun, a fungus. The disease may be distinguished by the presence of sunken brown spots on the midribs and petioles. In severe cases, the fungus attacks succeeding layers or leaves until the whole plants become slimy. The disease can be controlled through sanitation and crop rotation with non-susceptible crops.

source: Cultural Requirements for Phil. Agricultural Crops,


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2008, 10:33:46 AM »
Chayote or Sayote Growing
By Pinoy Farmer | April 18, 2008

Chayote is a climbing plant that can rise as high as 12 meters. Its leaves are heart-shaped, 10-25 cm wide and with tendrils on the stem. The flowers are cream-colored or somewhat green that come out beneath a leaf or branch. If the plant is male, the flowers are in cluster; if female, the flowers come singly.

The fruit, light green, is elongated with one end narrower than the other with deep ridges lengthwise. The young leaves are eaten as vegetables (as salad), the roots grow like yam (ubi) and are also edible when cooked as sweets or fried like camote. If the harvest of chayote is abundant, it is cheaper to use it as food for pigs than the usual commercial feed. Chayote likes a cool climate with rains that are even during the year. It grows well in loose soil with fertilizer and likes rich volcanic soil.


Plant the matured fruit. This is allowed to germinate, first in a nurery. Upon reaching about 30 cm, it can now be transferred to the field.
Make holes about 30 cm wide and 3-5 meters apart from one another. Mix the soil with compost and put it back into the hole.
One to three seedlings can be planted in each hole. Cover with soil. Always clear the surroundings of weeds - until about 2 meters away from the plants. When the plant spreads and fill the trellises, the growth of weeds will be controlled.
Put trellises on every plant when these are about 30 cm high. Compost is the best fertilizer, but at 7-8 weeks, apply complete fertilizer before and after every rain.

If the chayote plant is planted for its fruits, do not prune the plant to get shoots; allow the big vine to spread so as to get the most sunshine and dew. But if the purpose is for shoots only, the plant gets pruned while the young leaves are gathered.

Manually pick the fruits when the desired size is reached.
Place the container of the harvested chayote in shade to keep them fresh for a longer time.
Pests and Diseases

Chayote is not beset with enemies of diseases like other plants. All it needs is care from weeds and adequate watering.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2008, 10:35:36 AM »
Growing Cucumber
By Pinoy Farmer | April 18, 2008

There are two kinds of cucumber: one is for preserving and the other is for serving raw as salad. The one for serving is short and plump with white or black spikes, dark green in color that turns whitish at the ends. If the spikes are white, these turn yellow or white as they mature. If the spikes are black, this turns reddish when mature from end to end and has white spikes.

Manner of Planting

Cucumber seeds for planting are taken from matured plants. The more mature, the more seeds will germinate.
Cucumber grows in any kind of soil but it likes best loose, sandy soil enriched with compost. it does not like sticky soil.
Loose soil makes cucumber germinate and grow fast, but it must be maintained with watering as it dries up quickly especially in Summer.
Growth and development of cucumber is good in long summer days.
Preparation of Land

If the area for planting is small, a hoe will be enough for tilling the soil; but if it is wide, plow is necessary.
Make hills 6 ft. apart and 8 ft. away from one another. The farther apart , the more productive in fruits the plants will be. if they are close to one another, some fruits will be left unseen during harvest time as these will be obscured by the vine ends. Also, if the plants are far apart, danger of infection and diseases is lessened when the rain comes.
Plant 5-6 seeds in every hill and reduce it to 3 plants when they grow. When the seed germinate, culture the soil around each plant, but take care not to hurt the roots of the plant. Similarly in reducing the newly germinating plants, avoid hurting the plants to be retained.
Cucumber like moderate watering.
Apply fertilizer to increase the fruits.
Put up trellises to prevent the plants being bushy. It can also be made to crawl on the ground, but the quality of the fruits will not be as good. To have straight and fruits of the same color for salad, trellises are necessary. It can also be made to climb the side of the fence.
Avoid pests and diseases through smoking and spraying pesticide.

After 55-65 days, cucumber can be harvested if these will be used as salad or preserved.
Cut with a knife from the stem so as not to disturb much the vine from where it is gathered.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2008, 10:37:31 AM »
Growing Carrot
By Pinoy Farmer | April 18, 2008

The carrot is one of the principal vegetables in the market for its rich content of carotene, Vitamins C and B besides calcium iron and phosphorus. This may be eaten cooked or raw. In other countries, the carrot is also used as medicine.

In Mexico, carrot is boiled in milk to give relief against cough and painful chest. In Europe, boiled carrot is known for its cure for jaundice. And if eaten raw, it drives out intestinal parasites.

Manner of Planting

In the Philippines, carrot grows in high altitudes. It likes fertile, loose soil that does not retain water. It dislikes sea water and hardly grows in soil with a high boron content.

The land for planting carrot must be prepared — fine and not in clumps.
Holes for sowing the seeds must be about 2 cm, and 20 cm apart.
The seeds are sown directly on the ground.
After sowing the seeds, cover them with fine soil. They will germinate within 3 weeks after planting. Good planting time is between October-December where there is rain.
Do not plant in areas where water stays because this will cause the roots and fruit to rot. But the plant also needs watering while it grows to make the fruit well developed.
The best fertilizer is compost, but if chemical fertilizers will be used, it is recommended that NPK 90+170+90 be broadcast over the field for every hectare before planting, and during rainy days.
Do the same during dry weather.
In planting, apply half of the nitrogen and all of the phosphorus and potassium on the soil. Apply the remaining half 4-6 weeks after planting. If animal manure will be used, apply 8-10 tons per hectare, and supplement with complete fertilizer.
Reduce the leaves when the plants are 15 cm high and already sturdy. 10. Put thin soil at the base of the plant to prevent the greening of the shoulder of the crop.

The most common enemy of the carrot is the larvae that eats the leaves. Spray this with tercyl. The disease of the leaves can be controlled if there is crop rotation in its place, the field is cultured, and sprayed with Parafungus or Fugitox. Avoid the bruising of the roots so as to prevent rotting.


According to kind, carrot may be harvested from 3 to 6 months after planting. By digging a little beneath the plant, the size or growth of the growing carrot can be seen. In harvesting, remove only the dried leaves. The young end roots hasten drying up, so these must be removed.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2008, 10:41:02 AM »
Sesame Growing
By Pinoy Farmer | April 18, 2008

(Tilseed, Cameline, German sesame, benniseed, dodder, linga) Sesame (linga) oil is used, not only for cooking food, but also for the manufacture of other things, such as margarine, soap, cosmetics, perfume, insecticides, pain and medicine. What is left after the extraction of its oil is excellent for feed for poultry, hogs, goat and rabbits. Its protein content is 22%, besides other substances.

There are many kinds of sesame. The following varieties yield good harvest and abundant oil: Sri Lanka Black, Japanese Black, and Iligan Marinduque Black, which are native to us. The white varieties that similarly yield good harvest and abundant oil which are used for special cuisine, are: the Japanese White, Guatemala White, Mexican White and our own native white variety. These are resistant to pests and diseases. Sesame grows in warm weather. This will not thrive in temperature as low as 21°C. It can withstand dry weather, but also needs watering as it grows. Because sesame seeds are very tiny, it seeds should be planted shallow in soil, free from weeds, does not retain water, and fertile.


The distance of the plants from one another should be one-half meter apart if the variety does not bear branches, and 70-80 cm apart if it bears branches. Mix the seeds with sand, and plant 5-10 seeds in a hole about 10-15 cm apart if it is branch-bearing, and only 8-12 cm if it is not branch bearing. In one hectare of land, 4-6 kilos of seeds can be accommodated. Irrigation is necessary in planting, but only once or twice after planting when it is growing. It needs watering before flowering and before fruit bearing.


The seeds germinate 5-7 days after sowing. Two weeks after germination, remove some leaves and branches and transplant the plant. Leave only two strong plants in every hill. After 3-4 weeks when the plants are sturdy, loosen the soil (culture). Culture again when the plant is 30 cm high. Always remove the weeds because this will diminish the capacity for fruit bearing.

Applying Fertilizer

Sesame does not like humid and rainy place. In rainy season, it is vulnerable to disease, so choose only varieties that are resistant.

Do not plant sesame repeatedly in the same area after harvest, so as to avoid disease or pest. Do not use insecticide containing sulfur because this is not good for sesame.


The sesame plant flourishes from 85-150 days. Harvest when flowering stops, and the leaves turn yellow and fall off.
The pods burst out when these are ripe, so the seeds will scatter. Cut off the pods when still green and bunch them.
Spread the branches on a mat and thick cloth and put these under the sun.
When dried, beat the branches to bring out the seeds. Clean off the stones and dirt, and branches.
Dry the seeds before storing. If they are for planting, apply chemical on the seeds to keep pests away.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2008, 10:43:21 AM »
Growing Radish
By Pinoy Farmer | April 18, 2008

Almost every part of the radish plant is useful. The leaves and roots may be eaten raw or cooked as vegetable, or cooked with meat or fish. Besides its use as food, radish is also used in many other ways its oil does not dry up like ordinary oil. This is used in soap making the meat after juice extraction is used as fertilizer. Radish is also medicine for diseases of the liver and spleen. There are two kinds of radish. One is planted for its crop and the other for its leaves and roots. The different varieties we have are:

Japanese radish — big and long, late harvested
Chinese radish — fine, smooth and white, productive and has moderate
length of time for harvest
White icicle — early harvest, rounded, long with small roots.
Bombay, 60 Days and others — can harvest within 100 days from planting, and mature 30 days from germination.
Land Preparation

Plow and harrow the field lengthwise and crosswise, and leave it for seven days to allow the uprooted weeds to rot and their seeds to grow.
Plow and harrow as before, repeat a third time but deeper.
Make elevated beds about one-half meter away from each other.
Put fertilizer where plants will be grown mix this with the soil by means of a rake.

A hectare of land would accommodate about 100 grams of seeds. Apply a kerosene can of compost before planting.

Treat the seeds first in growth regulator like “Seet Treat.”
Mix one teaspoon Orthocide 50 WP per kilo of seeds to check whatever diseases they may have.
Prepare the planting of the seeds. To make them evenly apart, use a string attached to both ends — one at 10 cm, a second at 40 cm, etc.
With the aid of a pointed stick, make a hole one and a half (1-½) cm deep and 10 cm apart, following the distance of the string.
Drop two seeds in each hole and cover with fine soil. Water with fine spray so as not to dislodge the seeds or remove the top soil.
Cover with straw about 5-10 cm thick between the rows of plants, with space of about 5 cm from the plant. Do not cover the seed especially if it has not germinated. Keep away chicken from scratching the seeds away. The straw or dried leaves serve to protect the plants from strong rain or intense heat, and from growing weeds.
Water morning and afternoon in the first three (3) days after planting do not allow them to get dry. When the seeds germinate, water only in the morning. Ten days after all have germinated, water only in the afternoon when the ground is dry.
Dig a canal around the plot about 30 cm wide and 40 cm deep to where the water will run in case of heavy rain.
Before planting, mix a can of compost to every 2 sq. meters of plot. If animal manure will be used, apply this after the first plowing: one can per sq. meter. If chemical fertilizer will be used, have the soil analyzed first at the Bureau of Soils Laboratory. If not, the National Food and Agricultural Council recommends 8 bags of ammonium sulfate for every hectare of radish plants.
Maintenance - When the soil around the plant becomes compact, loosen it especially when the roots are beginning to grow. Be careful not to hurt the roots. If in spite of putting straw or dried leaves, weeds continue to grow, remove them manually.

Pests - To control insect pests, spray any of the following: Orthene 75 SP, SD, Tamaron 600 EC, Phosdrin 1.5 Ec, Hostathion 40 EC, or Vegetox, following instructions on the label, at an interval of 7 days. Trapping by means of light helps to control insect pests.

Diseases - A soil-borne or seed borne disease of radish attacks the new plant when the soil is very wet. As mentioned earlier, treat the seeds with orthocide or Spergon Fermate or Zerlate — one-half teaspoon per gallon water. The black rot disease has a V-shape on the leaves. The leaves turn yellow then fall off. There is a black ring around the body when the leaf is removed

Harvesting - Different varieties have different times of maturity, from 30 days from germination to 100 days after planting. Thus, it is good to know the variety to be planted, or try ten plants first. When overmature, radish is fibrous, porous and does not taste good. Pull up the crop when harvesting in early morning or late afternoon. Do not harvest when the sun is hot because it will wilt immediately. Wash, bundle and bring to market first hour in the morning. Do not pile them too high so as not bruise the crops, and to avoid heating for the crops under the pile.

Seeding - Get seeds only from healthy plants. Let these flower and bear seeds. Apply 2 grams ammonium sulfate, and water daily. Maintain with care until the fruits turn yellow. Select good seeds from good plants. When the pods are over mature, these will burst open. Dry the seeds in the sun to kill pests or disease. Before storing them, mix a little DDT or Orthocide 50 WP before packing. Put in a jar with fine charcoal at the bottom and over it a piece of cardboard with holes. Label jar. Seal the cover with masking tape until the next planting season.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2008, 07:44:51 AM »
Sweet Sorghum - Raw Material for Ethanol
By Pinoy Farmer | April 28, 2008

We dread the steady rise of fuel prices, but we are not without options. You have probably heard of ethanol and how groups, especially those who are espousing the cause of protecting the environment, are batting for widespread use of this alcohol.

Ethanol is a renewable fuel that is considered environment friendly and could help reduce the country’s dependence on oil imports. It is a high-octane, waterfree alcohol produced from the fermentation of sugar and converted starch, such as that from corn, potato, and sugarcane.

Ethanol is widely used in countries such as Brazil, the United States, Canada, Thailand, Japan, China, and India. The Philippines has also started programs on ethanol.

In May 2005, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo launched the National Bioethanol Program of the Philippines in San Carlos City, Pangasinan to mark the signing of contracts for a P1.5 billion-ethanol and power generation plant, which is the first in the country.

Wanted: Alternative Raw Material

Raw materials cannot keep up with the demand of producing ethanol. This is one of the reasons why scientists from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) conducted a study to determine the advantages of using sweet sorghum, a grain sorghum with sugar-rich stalk, as raw material for ethanol production.

Sweet sorghum is one of the two fundamental seeds which the Government of India, through ICRISAT, turned over to the Philippines for testing, and probably use, if found to be viable under Philippine conditions. Sweet sorghum has a wider range of adaptability, more rapid growth, and higher sugar accumulation and biomass production potential than sugarcane.

Ethanol in Fuel

Pure ethanol is not used as a motor fuel, instead, a percentage of ethanol is combined with unleaded gasoline. Combining ethanol with unleaded gasoline makes for lower fuel cost, increased fuel octane rating, and decreased harmful emissions.

Although any amount of ethanol can be combined with gasoline, the combinations, E10 and E85 are the most common. E10 simply means that the fuel is made up of 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded gasoline. E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline.

E10 is recommended by most automakers because of its clean-burning, yet high performance characteristics. In the United States, almost one-third of the country’s gasoline has been blended with ethanol since 2004.

E85, however, is recommended as alternative fuel for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). If E85 is not available, these FFVs can operate on straight gasoline or any ethanol blend up to 85%.

Sweet Sorghum’s Edge

The cost of cultivating, crops growth duration, and water requirements of sweet sorghum are far lower than that of sugarcane. While sugarcane is cultivated for a year or more, sweet sorghum takes only four months. Sugarcane requires around 36,000 cubic meter of water in a cropping season, sweet sorghum only requires 8000 cubic meters. Studies show that the cost per liter of ethanol production from sweet sorghum is lower than that in producing from sugarcane molasses. Producing ethanol from sweet sorghum is also less polluting.

Sweet sorghum is found to grow well in the northern part of the country. If the National Bioethanol Program of the government pushes through, we can stop holding our breaths for those fuel prices rollbacks, and bat for a certain degree of self-sufficiency in our fuel needs.

source: Maria Lizbeth Severa J. Baroña of


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2008, 07:47:41 AM »
Production Guide on Amaranth or Kulitis
By Pinoy Farmer | April 28, 2008

Common Names/Local Names: Amaranth, Chinese spinach, tampala, pigweed (English), Kulitis, Uray (Tagalog)


Tiger leaf - spineless, leaf soft tender and variegated in color
Red leaf - spineless, often used as an ornamental plants in certain areas
Green Leaf - spineless
Uray - spiny, It has a reddish color on the undersurface of the cotyledons and on the stem
Botanical Description

The edible amaranth (A. tricolor L or A. viridis L) is an annual leafy vegetables belonging to the amaranthaceae or amaranth family.

Amaranthus - Erect annual, strongly branching, up to 2.5 m tall, with strongly branched tap root. Leaves alternate, long petiolate, simple and entire. Flowers in axillary clusters, upper clusters often leafless and in panicled spikes, unisexual, solitary in the axil of a bract, witrh 2 bracteoles, 3-5 tepals either free stamens as many as tepals (male flowers) or ovate or oblong ovary with 2-3 stigmas (female flowers). Fruits a dry capsule, dehiscent or indehiscent.Seeds shiny black or brown.

A. tricolor - Erect annual up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves elliptical to lanceolate or broad-ovate, dark green, light green or red. Clusters of flowers axillary, often globose, with a reduced terminal spike, but occasionally the terminal spike is well developed. Teplas 3. fruit dehiscent, with a circumscissile lid. Seeds black, relatively large; 1200-2900 seeds/g. cultivated

A. dubius - Annual sometimes biennial, up to 2 m tall, erect, strongly branching, Leaves ovate or rhomboid ovate, shortly cuneate at base, dark green. Lower clusters of flowers axillary, upper clusters leafless and in lax panicled spikes. Tepals 3-5. Fruits dehiscent, with a circumscissile lid. Seeds black, very small; 3000-4800 seeds/g. cultivated vegetables, sometimes escaped as weed.

A. cruentus - Tall annual, up to 2.5 m. Leaves lanceolate, accurate and often short decurrent at base, grayish-green. Clusters of flowers in large axillary and terminal panicled spikes. Tepals 5. Fruit dehiscent, with a circumscissile lid. Seeds dark brown to black; 2,500 - 3,000 seeds/g. seeds of grain types are light yellow. Cultivated as vegetable or grain.

A spiny relative of kulitis called uray (A. spinosus L) is a common vegetable in some regions in the Philippines. Though, spiny, it makes excellent greens or potherbs when used in the same way as spinach.


It is highly adapted under lowland condition. Grow well at day temperatures above 25°C and night temperatures not lower than 15°C. Amaranthus are quantitative short day plants. It consumes high amount of water and uses 6 mm/day. Amaranthus prefers fertile, well drained soils with a loose structure.

Uses / Importance

Amaranth is one of the most delicious leafy vegetables. It is a good crop for greens especially during the summer months when it is hard to grow and other kinds of vegetables. Amaranth is used in stews, ?sinigang? and other dishes wherever spinach (Spinacea oleracea L).

Many wild Amaranthus species are used as pot herbs. Used as ornamentals are A. tricolor forms with red, yellow and green coloured leaves or leaf sections and A. cruentus with large bright red inflorescences. Amaranthus weeds are used as for fodder (pigweed).

Vegetable amaranths are recommended as a good food with medicinal properties for young children, lactating mothers and for patients with fever, hemorrhage, anemia or kidney complaints. The wild A. spinosus L. used as a depurative against venereal diseases and as dressing on boils.

Nutrient Value

Amaranth is a rich source of calcium, iron and vitamin A as shown in below.

Nutritional values of amaranth (Raw and Boiled/100 grams edible portion)

Nutrients Raw Boiled
Moisture (%)
Food energy (cal.)
Protein (g)
Fiber (g)
Total Carbohydrates (g)
Ash (g)
Calcium (mg)
Phosphorus (mg)
Iron (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Vit. A (I.U.)
Thiamine (mg)
Riboflavin (mg)
Niacin (mg)
Ascorbic acid (mg) 84.4
120 83.9





Amaranth is propagated by seeds. Depending on the cultivar, photoperiod and cultural practices, flowering may start 4-8 weeks after sowing then the seeds mature after 3-4 months (it will serves as the source of planting materials). However, A. dubius will continue its generative stage for a much longer period and when cut regularly, the plant may become shrubby and perennial but even at its mature stage the leaves are succulent which is suitable for consumption as vegetables.

Preparing the field

Amaranth requires thorough land preparation with twice plowing and harrowing and well prepared bed for good growth.


Amaranth is planted either by direct seeding or transplanting. The choice of planting method depends on availability of seed and labor and may also vary with growing season. Direct seeding is appropriate when plenty of seeds is available, labor is limited and during the dry season when frequency of watering is less. Transplanting is preferred when there is limited amount of seed, plenty of labor and during the wet season when heavy rains and flooding are most likely to wash out the seeds.

However, the most common practices is sowing directly in rows with 0.5-1.0 cm deep and space rows 10-20 cm apart. Sow the seeds 5 cm apart within the row and cover with a layer of compost or rice hull, or broadcasting with a seed rate of 2-5 g/m2 (20-50 kg/ha). If transplanted, the seed requirement is only 2 kg/ha with plant densities of 400 plants/m2.


Although amaranth is a low management crop and can grow in poor soils, yield increased with fertilizer application. A combination of both inorganic and organic fertilizers improves yield and maintains soil fertility. The amount of fertilizer to apply depends on soil fertility, soil type, fertilizer recovery rate, and soil organic matter. A soil test is highly recommended to determine the available N, P, and K. Fertilizer recommendations depend on local conditions, consult your fertility management specialist or conduct soil analysis to determine optimal rates.

Water Management

Amaranth is relatively drought tolerant, insufficient water will reduce yield. Water should be applied especially just after sowing or transplanting to have a good stand. As a rule, the plants should be irrigated if wilting occurs at noontime. During the rainy season, drainage is essential for plant survival and growth. Raised beds, clean furrows and large drainage canals facilitate quick drainage of excess water after heavy rain. Another way to gauge soil moisture content is to take a handful of soil from the bottom of a 15-cm deep hole. Squeeze the soil. If it holds together when you release your grip, there is sufficient soil moisture; if the soil crumbles, it’s time to irrigate.

Irrigate thoroughly to maintain vigorous plant growth. Avoid over-irrigation, which may enhance disease development and nutrient leaching. Drip irrigation or micro-sprinkler irrigation is recommended in areas with limited water supply. If sprinkler irrigation must be used, avoid late evening irrigation to prevent diseases.

Weed Management

Weeds compete for light, water, and nutrients, thereby resulting in reduced yield. It may be controlled using a combination of methods. Choose the most appropriate method(s) for your location. Thorough land preparation is the first key to effective weed control. Amaranth is small-seeded and slow to germinate, therefore, weed control is essential in their early stage. A seedbed free of weed seeds allows amaranth seedlings to get a head start on the weeds and establish a canopy that can shade out emerging weed seedlings. Hand or hoe weeding can be performed as needed.

Pests and Disease Management

Insect pests and diseases must be controlled to ensure good yield and marketable quality. Amaranth is susceptible to damage by foliar insects such as leafminers, leafrollers cutworms, aphids, flea beetles, and mites.

Traditional method of spreading wood ash to dispel insects have been replaced by spraying regularly up to twice a week with insecticides. Chemical pesticides should be used mainly as a corrective measure. Choose a pesticide that targets the specific insect that is causing the damage, and try to avoid pesticides that kill or inhibit the development of beneficial organisms. Choose pesticides that have short persistence, i.e., the effects last only a few days. Pesticides should be applied in the evening, and workers should not be allowed into the field until the recommended waiting period (usually 12 to 24 hours) has passed . An alternative but effective method of controlling insect pests is to cover the bed with a fine screen or nylon mesh netting (32-mesh or finer).


Amaranths are ready for harvest in 20-45 days after planting or sowing depending on variety and plant type. Plants may be harvested once or several times. Once-over harvesting is adapted for short maturing and quick growing varieties such as A. tricolor. Whole plants are pulled from soil with roots, washed and tied in bundles. With multiple harvests, young leaves and tender shoots are picked at 2-3 week intervals. Eventually, the plants begin to flower and develop fewer leaves. Frequent harvesting of leaves and shoots delays the onset of flowering and thus prolongs the harvest period. Amaranth and other leafy vegetables have large surface-to volume ratio and lose water rapidly. To reduce water loss, harvest during the cooler time of day, such as early morning or late afternoon.

Post-Harvest Handling

Since amaranth wilts rapidly, common practice in markets and shops is to sprinkle with water to keep its fresh appearance. If uprooted, the vegetables can be kept fresh for some days by putting it into basin with the roots in the water and sold in bunches or by weight.


Amaranth is recognized as an easy to grow and very productive crop. It is probably the highest yielding leaf vegetable of the tropics with its excellent nutritional value thus of high importance for human consumption and as a cheap green vegetables for city dwellers. Research should focus on optimization of cultural practices, effective pest control with fewer residues and plant nutrition.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #43 on: May 03, 2008, 11:14:39 AM »
New Technology of Extracting Coconut Oil
By Pinoy Farmer | May 1, 2008

Here’s a new technology of extracting coconut oil that can triple the income of coconut farmers. Dr. Pham Binh Chay, a researcher of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), University of the Philippines Bahos, has developed a better method of getting oil other than the traditional, tedious and uneconomical “copra system.”

The new technology is using “gamanase,” a bacterial enzyme which has the ability to break the cell wall surrounding the fresh coconut by decomposing the strands of complex carbohydrates which constitute 70 percent of the wall into simple substances or sugar and allow the oil its components to leak out.

Pham says that through the gamanase method, super quality oil that is colorless, tasteless and smells like fresh coconut meat can be extract

Compared with the copra method, as much as 20 percent more oil is recovered by using the enzyme.

Aside from the oil, two other by-products with economic significance are produced by this new technology: the protein-packed “supernatant,” which can be solidified to enrich hamburger patties, produce textured vegetable proteins and other foods; and fiber that can be added to flavc crag and biscuits.

In a nutshell, the steps involved to squeeze out the oil from the coconut shell through the gamanase method are as follows:
• Pick 11 to 12 months old coconuts.
• Remove meat and place in a clean container.
• Shred meat using a special grater, then place shredded meat in a large tank that combines blender and homogenizer.
• Add water three times the volume of meat. Let stand for few minutes, then transfer slurry to another tank.
• Add gamanase while stirring.
• Leave slurry for three hours. (The slurry will slowly separate into three parts - the oil on top, the supernatant in middle, and the fiber at the bottom).
• Remove crystal white fiber first, then the supernatant, using a siphon or hose. (Mix supernatant mixed with hydrochloric acid, filter to isolate protein then, dry).
• Filter oil to remove unwanted solids.
With the oil, supernatant and fiber recovered through enzymatic processing, the coconut farmers can triple their income. (BPG).



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Cocoa and Chocolate
By Pinoy Farmer | May 2, 2008

The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) is a native of the dense tropical Amazon forests where it flourishes in the semi-shade and high humidities, but wild varieties also occur from Mexico to Peru. The Mayas of Yucatan and the Aztecs of Mexico cultivated cocoa long before its introduction to Europe, and Montezuma, Emperor of the Aztecs, is stated to have consumed regularly a preparation called chocolate made by roasting and grinding the cocoa nibs, followed by mashing with water, maize, anatto, chilli and spice flavours. The richness of this mixture no doubt had some connection with the Aztec belief that the cocoa tree was of divine origin and later led the Swedish botanist, Linnaeus, to give the name Theobroma - Food of the Gods - to the genus including the cacao species. The Aztecs also considered the drink to have aphrodisiac properties.


The genus Theobroma consists of some twenty-two species of small bushes and trees.
Theobroma cacao is the only one of commercial value and this species is divided into two main groups:
There is a third group known as Trinitario which is basically a cross of the two.


The growing conditions required by the cocoa tree are fairly precise and the areas of cultivation lie within 20 degrees latitude of the equator.
The temperature in cocoa growing areas is usually between 30C and 32C. The minimum
allowable is 18C. Rainfall levels of 1,150 to 3,000mm are required.
Soil conditions can vary considerably but a firm roothold and moisture retention are
necessary. It is traditional for cocoa to be grown under shade trees although such conditions resemble those in its natural habitat it has been shown that higher yields can be obtained without shade if sufficient moisture and nutrients are made available.
Propagation by seed is the most economical way of increasing stock but vegetative
methods can also be used and these provide a more consistent and reliable method of
reproducing trees of particular strains.


Cocoa beans are fermented not just to remove the adhering pulp but also develop the distinctive flavour of cocoa. Correct fermentation and drying of cocoa is of vital importance and no subsequent processing of the bean will correct bad practice at this stage. A good flavour in the final cocoa or chocolate is related closely to good fermentation but if the drying after fermentation is delayed moulds will develop which will produce very unpleasant flavours.
After the pods are cut from the trees the beans with the adhering pulp are removed. Fermentation is carried out in a variety of ways but all depend on heaping a quantity of fresh beans with their pulp and allowing micro-organisms to ferment and to produce heat. Most beans are fermented in heaps. Better results are obtained by the use of fermentation boxes which give more even fermentation.
Fermentation takes five to six days. Forastero beans take rather longer to ferment than Criollo.
During the first day the adhering pulp becomes liquid and drains away. By the third day the mass of beans will have fairly even heated to 45 deg. C and will remain between this temperature and about 50 deg. C until fermentation is completed. It is necessary to occasionally stir the beans to aerate and to ensure that the beans initially on the outside of the heap are exposed to temperature conditions prevailing in the interior.


After fermentation the beans are placed in shallow trays to dry. In some growing areas where the main harvest coincides with the dry season, sun drying is adequate. The beans are dried by being spread out in the sun in layers a few centimetres thick. Sun drying trays may be movable on rails so that they can be pushed under canopies. Where the weather is less sunny, artificial driers are used. There are numerous types of dryers but an essential feature of all must be that any smoky products of combustion do not come in contact with the beans otherwise taints will appear in the final product. Some system involve the complete combustion of the fuel so that the flue gases can be used to dry the beans.


The beans are cleaned to remove the following extraneous matter: bean clusters and other large pieces using rocking and vibratory sieves; light material like dust, loose shell and fibre using a gentle upward air stream; iron particles using a magnetic separator and stones and heavy material using a fluidised bed with air aspiration to lift the coca beans. It may also be necessary to grade the coca beans according to size to ensure even roasting.


This is the most important stage in the development of flavour. This can be achieved by roasting the whole bean, the cocoa bean cotyledon or even the ground cocoa bean cotyledon (cocoa mass). For chocolate production the roasting temperatures are 100C to 104C. For cocoa powder production higher temperatures of 120 to 135C are used.

There are many designs of roasters:

Both batch and continuous systems. The operation is controlled so that: the nib is heated to the required temperature without burning the shell or the cotyledon and producing undesirable flavours; the heat is applied evenly over a long period of up to 90 minutes to produce even roasting; the nib must not be contaminated with any combustion products from the fuel used and provision must be made for the escape of any volatile acids, water vapour and decomposition products of the nib. After roasting the beans are cooled quickly to prevent scorching


The shell will have been already loosened by the roasting. The beans are then lightly crushed with the object of preserving large pieces of shell and nib and avoiding the creation of small particles and dust. The older winnows used toothed rollers to break up the beans but modern machines are fitted with impact rollers. These consist of two hexagonal rollers running in the same direction that throw the beans against metal plates . The cocoa bean without its shell is known as a cocoa nib. The valuable part of the cocoa bean is the nib, the outer shell being a waste material of little value.


The crushed material is winnowed to remove the broken pieces of shell. This is achieved by sieving and blowing air through the material.


Alkalisation is a treatment that is sometimes used before and sometimes after grinding to modify the colour and flavour of the product. This was developed in the Netherlands in the last century and is sometimes known as Dutching. This involves soaking the nib or the cocoa mass in potassium or sodium carbonate. By varying the ratio of alkali to nib, a wide range of colours of cocoa powder can be produced. Complete nib penetration may take an hour. After alkalization the cocoa needs to be dried slowly.


The cocoa nib is ground into cocoa liquor (also known as unsweetened chocolate or cocoa
mass). The grinding process generates heat and the dry granular consistency of the nib is turned into a liquid as the high amount of fat contained in the nib melts.

Production of cocoa butter

Cocoa butter can be extracted using extrusion, expeller, or screw presses. Cocoa butter can be produced from whole beans, and mixtures of fine nib dusts, small nibs, and immature beans.
Sometimes, whole nibs are pressed when the expeller cake is needed for the manufacture of coatings and therefore must be free from shell and as low as possible in cocoa butter content.
When pressing whole beans, very light roasting or even no roasting is needed, and this gives the mild-flavoured cocoa butter that is desirable for milk chocolate.

Hydraulic presses

Hydraulic presses are used to produce cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Cocoa powder can be prepared by the hydraulic pressing of finely ground cocoa liquor. This can be achieved by compressing the liquor in heavy steel pots until a predetermined amount of cocoa butter is squeezed through very fine mesh screens or filters situated at each side of the pot. The pots, each with a capacity of about 18kg, are mounted in a horizontal frame and the cocoa liquor, heated to 93-102 deg. C, is pumped in at a pressure of up to 300lb per square inch. Cocoa butter immediately starts to be forced out through the filter screens and when the pots are full the pressure pump is turned off and a hydraulic ram set in motion. A pressure of up to 6000lb per square inch is then applied. Cocoa butter runs from the pots to a trough and eventually to a collecting pan situated on a balance. When the required amount of cocoa butter has been extracted the ram is reversed to the starting position, the press pots open up and the cocoa cakes from each pot are deposited on a conveyor and taken away for grinding. The extracted cocoa butter will need to be cleaned to remove non-fat solids in suspension, this can be done by filtration or centrifugally. Cocoa butter produced by this method is normally a very pale yellow
colour and it sets at a fairly hard fat showing crystal formation. Its melting point is 35 deg C .


Cocoa beans for expeller pressing are either very lightly roasted at low temperatures or not roasted at all. They may be just warmed sufficiently to loosen the shell. The beans are steamed before being fed to the press to soften them and help release the cocoa butter. Basically the expeller press consists of a tapering tube perforated along its length in which is situated a rotating screw. The cocoa beans are fed into the tube where they are subjected to shearing and increasing pressure by the action of the rotating screw. Cocoa butter is forced out through the perforations in the tube. The tube is terminated by an adjustable cone which gives a variable gap between the tube and the cone. Thick flakes of expeller cake are extruded through this gap. The extracted fat must be filtered or centrifugally separated to remove cocoa solids. Expeller cake contains 8-9 percent fat and this can be extracted using organic solvents.

Solvent extraction

Cocoa butter can be produced at the large scale by solvent extraction. It should be noted that it is unlikely that solvent-extracted cocoa butter would alone account for the added cocoa butter in a chocolate. Generally, it would be incorporated in a butter blend at the rate of 2 to 5 percent.

The production of cocoa powder

The cocoa powder is taken from the press as a cake. It is broken in a mill. The resulting powder is sieved through fine silk, nylon or wire mesh. Most cocoa powders are made from mass which has been treated with alkali with the purpose of controlling the colour of the powder and improving the dispersability.

The production of plain chocolate

To produce plain chocolate mass is mixed with sugar and sufficient cocoa butter to enable the chocolate to be moulded. The ratio of mass to sugar varies according to the national taste.


The mixture is ground to such a degree that the chocolate is smooth to the palate. At one time this was done by a lengthy process in melengeurs - heavy granite rollers in a revolving granite bed - but nowadays grinding is done in a series of rolls.


After grinding the chocolate is conched. The original conche was a tank shaped rather like a shell in which a roller is pushed to and fro on a granite bed. During the conching process which may last for several hours the chocolate is heated, this helps to drive off volatile acids, thereby reducing acidity when present in the raw bean, and the process finishes the development of flavour and makes the chocolate homogeneous.


After conching the chocolate has to be tempered before it is used for moulding. Tempering
involves cooling and reaching the right physical state for rapid setting after moulding.

The production of milk chocolate

Similar processes are involved in the manufacture of milk chocolate. The milk is added in various ways either in powder form to the mixture of mass, sugar and cocoa butter, or by condensing first with sugar, adding the mass and drying this mixture under vacuum. This product is called crumb and this is ground and conched in a similar manner to plain chocolate.

Source : Intermediate Technology Development Group


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