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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2008, 02:51:30 PM »

Garlic grows well in clay, alluvial and sandy loam soils. Sandy loam, properly applied with fertilizer, generally produces big, compact and heavy bulbs of good quality. Heavier soils such as clay loam also give profitable yields if they are cultivated and fertilized properly. Garlic requires cool weather during the early stage of growth thus it is best to plant them on the months of October and November.

Garlic likes full sun and well drained soil. Garlic is quite tolerant when it comes to soil types and textures, but it definitely appreciates sandy-clay-loam that is friable (easily crumbled in the hand) and has a high organic content. It does best when the pH is in the 6.2 to 6.8 range. Make sure you take samples from several spots in your garden and mix them together to obtain a representative reading. The garden or field should drain easily - standing water just won’t cut it as the bulbs could rot in the ground. To increase the tilth of the soil (isn’t that a great word?), add organic matter such as well-composted manure. You can also green mulch, that is plant cover crops such as clover or buckwheat and then till them into the ground.

Prepare the pieces of cloves in the afternoon, the day before planting. Carefully separate the cloves from each other, taking care not to injure them. Choose only the big pieces for planting. Soak the cloves for two minutes in a solution of Malathion prepared by mixing three tablespoonfuls in five gallons of water). Treating the cloves with Malathion would kill the microscopic mites that cause “tangle top,” a common garlic disease. Drain off the solution and put the cloves in a clean container for planting.

Land Preparation

If the field is weedy and/or the soil surface is very irregular, plow and harrow the land thoroughly to kill weed seeds and to produce a fine, firm, smooth and level surface. Broadcast the recommended amount of fertilizers and mix thoroughly with the soil before leveling the field. For one hectare, use 125 to 175 kilos each of urea (45-0-0) and 14-14-14 or 12-24-12 NPK fertilizers. Mix the two fertilizers thoroughly. If urea is not available, use 235 to 270 kilos of ammonium sulphate. Mix with 115 to 130 kilos of 14-14-14 or 12-24-12 fertilizers.

After applying the fertilizers and levelling the field, spread rice straw evenly throughout the entire paddy to a thickness of about 5 cms. Irrigate the field just enough to moist the soil. In a few days, the field is ready for planting. In planting, mark the rows with the use of parallel lines of string spaced 20 cms. apart and placed just on top of the straw mulch.

Hold the clove between the thumb and forefinger and set one-fourth of the clove into the soil. Then press the soil slightly but firmly towards the clove. Plant the cloves at intervals of 20 cms. in the row.Garlic does not need much irrigation. As long as there is sufficient soil moisture, bulb formation would be normal. The plants are ready to be harvested as soon as three-fourths of the tops or leaves become fully ripe or dry. Lift the matured plants gently from the ground and then arrange the direct heat of the sun.

Pests and Diseases

The important pests of garlic are mites and cut worms. Cut worms can be controlled by spraying the plants with solutions of: EPN-300 at three tablespoonfuls in five gallons of water plus sticker; and Imidan 50 W.P. at three tablespoonfuls in five gallons water plus sticker. Against mites, use Tedion V-18 at three tablespoonfuls of water. Spray the plants once a week. Pink Root which can be prevented only by planting resistant varieties.


Many people make a big mistake at this point. They wait too long to harvest. Keeping garlic in the ground beyond a certain point does not result in bigger bulbs, but rather dried out, split and nearly useless ones. When to harvest? When the lower third to half of the leaves have turned brown, but there are still mostly green leaves higher on the plant, it’s time to harvest. Others suggest harvesting when the hardneck scapes are standing straight up but before the pods containing the bulbils open up. You can always test dig one or two plants. You should be able to see the shape of the cloves beginning to bulge through the wrapper. There is also a two to three week difference in the harvest dates of the several varieties. So watch you plants carefully. To get the bulb out of the ground, don’t just try to pull them. The stalk will break. You must dig, using a pitchfork or the like in order to loosen the soil. Then you can lift the entire plant out of the ground.

Don’t let the bulb stay in the sun very long as it will sun scald, which reduces its quality.


Storing garlic requires an even temperature (50-70° F seems to work) and a relative humidity averaging in the 50-60% range. Make sure they get plenty of air circulation. When storing in bulk, onion-type mesh bags hanging in a well-ventilated room is good. In a kitchen, a ceramic garlic keeper (or a burlap bag) will do fine. Do not store at high humidity or in the refrigerator - they will try to sprout and their taste heads south in a hurry.

source:, http://www.thegarlicstore.


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2008, 03:10:12 PM »
Planting potatoes using growths has been tried and found better than using the root crop itself. The former is more productive and grows faster. This is possible with the varieties Ackersegen and Mariella.

Manner of Planting

1. Select potatoes free from disease with growths around 1-3 cm. long.
2. Cut up the parts with growths that will serve as “cuttings”.
3. Plant these first in a pot.
4. When 4 or more leaves have come out, this can be transferred in the field.
5. Potatoes like clayey or sandy soil. Sieve the soil to remove dirt and clumps of soil. Mix the soil with animal manure (carabao, horse, cow, etc.) 1 part soil and 2 parts dried manure.
6. Make pots out of banana or nanka leaves or similar wide leaves.
7. Fill this with the mixture of soil and manure.

Cutting Up the Growths - The best time for cutting growths is from October to the first days of November.

1. Remove with the hand the growths from the flesh of the potato.
2. Cut up the potato with growths around 4-5 mm size.
3. Place the growths in the center of each pot and press gently until it is halfway down in the soil mixture.
4. Place these in the shade where there is no strong wind.
5. Water with hose 3-4 times a day.
6. In 3-5 days, roots and shoots will grow.
7. On the 7-8 days, put them in a place with adequate sunlight.
8. Put 1 gram urea and 2 grams single superphosphate in a liter of water, and spray this on the plants 2-3 times a day.
9. After 2 weeks, the plants will be about 7-10 cm. high. This can now be transferred to the field.
10. The mother potato from where the growths were taken can also be planted.

If the shoots are many, 2 growths can be taken from every root crop and planted immediately.


1. Make beds where the cuttings will be planted. Make the soil fine, and plant the cuttings 20-25 cm apart.
2. Apply fertilizers such as:
* animal manure - 2kg/sq m or 20 tons/ha
* superphosphates - 350gms/ha
* muriate of potash - 150 gms/ha
* nitrogen - 150 gms/ha
3. In planting, choose a time when it is not rainy. Transplant the whole plant from its pot so as not to hurt the roots. Place 1-2 plants in every hill (tundos). Put soil around each plant.
4. Water the plants 2 times a day for a week.
5. From transplanting, apply fertilizer 4 times: days 12-15,25-30,40-45,55-60.
6. After 3-4 weeks without rain, irrigate the plants as in ordinary irrigation.


1. Choose only matured root crops.
2. Store in a place with plenty of sunlight. Let this harden and turn green.
3. After 7-8 days, store in the usual way of storing crops.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2008, 03:13:57 PM »
There is one way of planting sweet potato (camote) that has been tried that can make it yield 20% more than the ordinary way of planting. In the manner tried, the stems to be planted are taken from healthy plants, two to three months old. The cut stems to be planted are watered first, then covered with a plastic sheet for two days When ready for planting, the stems will have developed small roots which will hasten the growth of the new plant. It is advised by a Puerto Rican researcher not to remove the leaves before planting, as this will reduce the roots that will eventually become crops.


Sweet potatoes can be harvested about 3 1/2 - 4 months after planting. If the harvesting is made too early or too late, only a few crops are harvested and the quality is not good. The over matured ones are fibrous and rot easily. Do not harvest sweet potato after a rain or when the ground is wet because the fruit contains much water then, which will make it rot easily. Besides, it is harder to gather and clean the crops when the soil is muddy it is easy to harvest when the soil is dry.

Procedure in harvesting:

1. Cut the vine first, roll it over to one side and plow the beds to bring out the crops.
2. If the harvesting is done manually, do not use pointed metal instruments but only wooden tools with a pointed end so as not to hurt the crop.
3. Carefully cut the vine in separating the crop so as not to hurt the crop.
4. Cut the vine closest to the crop.
5. Do not pile up the crops so as not bruise them.
6. Do not leave the newly harvested crops exposed in the sun. This will make them dry up and shrivel.
7. Put the crops under the shade.

Storing Procedure:

Sweet potatoes will last 2-3 months when properly harvested.

1. Use a right sized basket to contain the harvest of sweet potato - not overflowing so as not to bruise them. It is in bruises and hurts that rotting starts.
2. Because of this, do not use sacks for storing.
3. The storage place must be nearest to your house or the farm or wherever the crops will be transported with facility.
4. Use bamboo, cogon or coconut leaves for roofing and sawali for walls in storage places.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2008, 03:24:51 PM »
The Philippines, being reputed for its abundant tropical fruits, is also home to the world’s sweetest mangoes. In the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records, the Philippine mango was listed as the sweetest fruit in the world defeating other countries that also produce tropical mangoes (Magnifera indica). This citation opened a great opportunity for the country to establish domestic market and bright potential to compete in the world market both in fresh or processed forms.

Currently, mango ranks third among the fruit crops being produced by the country, next to banana and pineapple. The Philippines supplies its mangoes to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and recently to the United States and Australia. In terms of world production, the Philippines ranks 6th among the top 10 mango producing countries of the world with an average production of 1 million metric tons per year.

Picking the Sweetest Strain

The Philippine mango, i.e. carabao mango, is the country’s export varieties and is considered one of the best variety of mango in the world. Over the years, scientists and researchers have developed different strains of this sweet fruit to continuously improve its export quality. As of now, there are already 10 recommended mango strains for carabao mango registered and recommended by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC). One of these strains is the Sweet Elena, which was identified as the “sweetest of the sweetest” and the best mango variety in the country today. Sweet Elena was regarded as the sweetest and the biggest mango in the Philippines for three consecutive years by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

Sweet Elena is a new strain of carabao mango that originated in Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Two researchers from the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University, San Marcelino campus (RTMU-SM), Dr. Ester Mariñas and Prof. Remedios Lim, discovered and identified this mango variety.

According to the comparative study conducted, Sweet Elena is proven superior over other four leading mango varieties including Guimaras’ Talaban and Fresco, Ilocos region’s MMSU Gold, and Zambales’ Lamao. Sweet Elena is superior in terms of weight, sweetness, soluble solids, edibility of flesh, and physical appearance.

In terms of weight, Sweet Elena has the highest fruit weight of 357.33 grams, which is 68 grams heavier than that of Talaban, the largest among the mango varieties studied. In terms of sweetness, Sweet Elena is not far from varieties like MMSU Gold and Talaban. It has 18.98 total soluble solids (TSS) compared to MMSU Gold and Fresco which both have 19 TSS. Sweet Elena has 81.61 percent edible portion or flesh and so far the highest among the varieties of mango identified in the country. As to the physical feature, it is attractive with the presence of red tint at the base of the fruit.

Getting Physical

Smooth and big on the outside, fleshy and sweet on the inside that’s Sweet Elena for you! Physically, Sweet Elena has exceptionally smooth skin, small seed and has unique reddish color on its base. It weighs 357.33 g and is 13.70 cm long. It is 7.43 wide and 6.32 cm thick making Sweet Elena obviously bigger than most mango varieties. Its ovoid shape also adds to its appeal. Its skin, unlike ordinary mango varieties, is orange. It is also smooth and is about 0.08 mm thick and the skin weighs only 39.58 g Its flesh is 81.61% edible, which means only a little part of Sweet Elena is put into waste.

It has yellow to orange tinge, juicy and has moderate aroma. Its softness and scanty fibers makes it worthy of being the best mango of all. The seed of Sweet Elena is flat, 27.80 g in weight; 9.68 cm long and 3.73 cm wide. Its tree stands 15.3 m tall and bears fruit annually from December to April. This tree yields 100-120 kaings of mangoes every harvest. (MIN Info News, April-June 2003 wherein Sweet Elena was declared the 2002 PINAKA Winner)

Sweet Elena has already been registered with the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) on 18 October 2002 with the certification of registration awarded to Mrs. Penida Moselina Malabed, owner of the mango tree in Sta. Cruz, Zambales where the Sweet Elena was first identified by RMTU researchers. The study was conducted for three years in coordination with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

The certificate of registration was awarded in 2003 by Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Luis P. Lorenzo during the 2003 Mango Forum. Today, 1.5 ha is planted to Sweet Elena at the RTMU San Marcelino campus to maintain a source of quality planting materials.

Expanding the Sweet Elena

Aside from the 1.5 ha that has been allotted to plant Sweet Elena at the photos by mmojica RTMU San Marcelino campus, some 1, 000 seedlings are also being grown at the DENR-PAWB-Dizon Botanic Fruit Garden, Ninoy Wildlife Parks, Diliman, Quezon City. These seedlings are pest and disease-resistant with superior fruiting quality.

As part of the government’s effort to maintain a gene bank of Zambales’ Sweet Elena, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) is funding a project on the “Establishment of Scion
Grove and Germplasm Production of Mango (Sweet Elena)” in collaboration with the local government unit (LGU). Also, the establishment of scion grove is done in partnership with farmer stakeholders.

The project is in cooperation with the Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CLIARC) with the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) of Zambales and the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of Palauig as implementing agencies. The project was initiated in January 2005 and will last up to December 2008.

The specific objectives of the project include: 1) establish scion grove; 2) produce Sweet Elena grafted seedlings from 2000 to 5000 seedlings; 3) establish one to two nurseries for propagation of Sweet Elena grafted seedlings; and 4) promote Sweet Elena through propagation of grafted seedlings and participation in trade fairs.

The site for this project is in Locloc, Palauig, located at the northern part of Zambales with an elevation of 10-40 meters above sea level. The place is accessible by any type of transportation.

source: Rita T. dela Cruz of


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2008, 03:29:56 PM »
An ideal tree to grow in the city or country is moringa (Moringa oleifera). Moringa will give you food, fodder, fuelwood and shade. Its pods make a tasty, nutritious vegetable. You can eat its tender leaves and flowers too. The leaves also make excellent livestock feed. Best of all, this useful tree grows quickly and easily in many different climates.

Where to plant Moringa

You can almost always make space for a moringa tree. If you have no space at all to grow your own tree, see if you can get your neighbours’ help to grow moringa trees on common ground such as the roadside, beside a playground, or even around a garbage dump. The soft foliage and large bunches of scented white flowers will make the surroundings look pretty. And you can all share the pods, which can be harvested over several months of the year.

The moringa tree needs lots of water but doesn’t like to be waterlogged. So the best place to plant it is near a drainage channel where its roots can reach the water but do not stand in it. It is often planted where waste water from the kitchen can be channeled past it. This way, the waste water is put to good use and no extra water is needed for the tree.

Moringa grows best in sandy soil but will also grow in most well-drained soils. However, it does not grow well in stiff clay soils which can get waterlogged. And its growth will be stunted in dry, shallow soils. Moringa establishes best when it gets plenty of water, but once it is established it can survive severe drought.

How to Plant Moringa

The easiest and fastest way to start a moringa tree is from branch cuttings. Even branches used as fence posts often take root and grow into full-sized trees. You can also grow moringa from seed, but this is a little more difficult and takes longer to give you a yielding tree. Try growing from seed if you cannot get branch cuttings. Researchers at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute found growth rates as high as seven metres in the first year from seed, with extremely high fruit yield. The main danger with seedlings is getting too much moisture before they become woody.

Moringa branch cuttings will root without much care, but they grow best if you plant them at the start of the rainy season or another time when the weather is mild. Avoid planting cuttings in very hot or cold weather.

Choose a healthy, mature tree from which to take your cuttings. If possible, find out which trees bear the largest number of pods and the best-tasting ones. Take cuttings from those trees. It is always better to take cuttings from several different trees rather than just one. This way, if a disease or pest strikes, some of your trees will have a better chance of surviving.

Find a straight mature branch with some hard wood. Cut off about one metre from the end of the branch, just below a node. Then cut off the leaves and tender growing end of the branch, cutting just above a node. This is your branch cutting.

If you have to climb the tree to get the cutting, be careful because the branches of moringa trees break easily.

Dig a pit 50 centimetres wide, 50 centimetres long, and 50 centimetres deep. Place a layer of well-rotted manure on the bottom. Make a mound of sand about 15 centimetres high in the centre of the pit, and scoop out a hole in the mound to hold the cutting. Surrounding the cutting with sand helps to keep it from rotting and helps it to grow roots more quickly.

Plant the branch cutting upright in the sand mound that you have scooped out. Pat the sand firmly in place around it. Fill the pit with the soil you have already dug out and press it firm. About 50 centimetres of the cutting should be underground. Water regularly, and take care to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Soon the cutting will start sprouting new growth. This means it has rooted.

Water your new tree regularly until it is well established, and protect it from browsing goats and cattle.

How to Use Moringa

Use the green pods as a vegetable. Pick the pods when they are plump and firm but still tender. Cut them into pieces that are five centimetres long. Steam lightly. Eat the soft flesh and seeds inside and discard or compost the fibrous outer skin. Moringa is delicious cooked with spices and mixed with other vegetables such as eggplant, or legumes such as pigeonpea or cowpea. You can also cook the young flowers and tender leaves of the tree. But be sure to dry them completely after washing. Cover and cook the leaves and flowers in their own juices. If you add water to cook the leaves, they turn bitter.

Make moringa a part of your regular diet. It contains many good nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Other Uses for Moringa

Moringa leaves make good nutritious fodder for livestock. Moringa wood is a soft wood. It cannot be used for building but it is good for fences, trellises and other light support poles. In fact, if you have a row of moringa fence posts, you will probably soon have a row of growing moringa trees which you can use as a living fence.

Common Names

Common names for Moringa oleifera include: horseradish tree, ben oil tree, benzolive, benzolivier, ben oléifère, bambou-bananier, graines benne (Haiti), drumstick (India), sohnja (India), resedà, ben, ángela, jazmín francés (Puerto Rico), palo de aceite, palo de abejas, libertad (Dominican Republic), paraíso (Mexico and Central America), murunga-kai (Philippines), malunggay (Philippines), saijhan (Guyana).



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2008, 03:33:50 PM »
There are two kinds of bell pepper — one is the pungent kind and the other not. The first is used in food manufacturing where they are processed as spice and sold as food condiments. The other, non-pungent, is the ordinary kind sold in markets. A hectare of pepper can accommodate 27,600 plants that are about 60 cm apart from each other. Bell pepper likes a warm climate, fertile soil that does not lodge water; it is good to plant it at a time when the sun shines abundantly in that place.

Commercial Scale Planting - As in the preparations for other plants

1. Plow the field to remove weeds and their roots. Harrow afterwards.
2. Repeat after a week so as to remove remaining weeds whose seeds have now germinated since the first plowing.
3. Repeat a third time after 5 days for same reason.
4. Dig holes 60 cm apart from one another, 15 cm deep.
5. Before transplanting the seedlings, put about 4 cm deep compost at the bottom (if in summer) and 10 cm compost on top (in rainy weather) to facilitate watering.
6. With this preparation, prepare the nursery for the seedlings.

Preparation for the Nursery - The nursery bed for bell pepper is about 1 meter wide with the soil about 10 cm high.

1. Mix a can (kerosene can) of compost for every square meter bed.
2. Place dried coconut leaves about 5 cm thick over the bed for burning. Remove the pieces left unburned. Water very well the nursery bed and compact the top with the aid of a spade or flat wood.
3. Line the bed with strings crossing one another, about 6 cm apart. Thrust a stick to make a hole at every intersection into which drop 3 seeds.
4. Cover with fine oil about 1 cm deep and press with the finger.
5. Use spray water in watering so as not to dislodge the small seeds. Water only during early morning and late afternoon. If it rains, put a roof over the seedlings.

Fertilizer - The best fertilizer for soil is compost (or decomposed farm wastes). In itsabsence, the following commercial fertilizer may be used as follows:

1. Mix 80 grams urea in 16 liters with 3 tablespoons Lannate-Benlate combination. Fungicide and pesticide may also be included. Spray every seven days.
2. When the seedlings are about 4 weeks old, pass a sharp knife through the rows, about 2 cm deep or more to make the branches grow from the main stem.
3. The seedlings can be transferred to the field in about 5 weeks.

Transplanting of Seedlings

1. Spray on the plants about 24 grams fertilizer (12-24-12) dissolved in a gallon of water, to ensure that the newly transferred plants will live.
2. Water the area well and ensure that the plants are rinsed.
3. Make a hole about 9 cm square in compost, and plant the seedlings in it about 1/3 deep (of its whole length).
4. For five days, water and cover with banana leaves during the day and remove the cover at night.
5. Cover the surrounding areas with straw, dried leaves or branches about 5 cm thick to protect the area from erosion during rains and from drying up in the heat of summer. This also adds to the fertility of the soil and keeps it soft.
6. Always clear the area of weeds.

As much as possible, in the care of plants, it is best to have the soil analyzed at the Bureau of Soils Laboratory to know that fertilizer would be best to use. But if this is not possible, the most common way of spraying chemical fertilizer is as follows:

More or less, the equivalent of:

* 60 kilos nitrogen = 6 bags ammonium sulfate (20-0-0)
* 129 kilos phosphorus = 13 bags solophos (0-20-0)
* 96 kilos potassium + 3 bags muriate of potash (0=0=60)

In planting, apply all of the nitrogen and potassium, and half of the phosphoric (P) fertilizer. Apply the remaining half P when the plants are flowering.

1. Apply on tablespoon on either sides of the plants 10 cm away from the plant. Cover with fine soil 1 cm thick.
2. Water a little to make the fertilizer penetrate.
3. If not watering or irrigation is possible, do not apply fertilizer because the roots will anyway not benefit from it.
4. To prevent lodging of water in the plants area, dig canals at the sides of the plots to where the water will run. For every 10 m make it 30 cm wide and 40 cm deep so as not to injure the plants.

Watering - Irrigation for pepper is not very necessary if these will be planted in September and October when there is rain. But if planted in summer, irrigation is necessary. Do not let the ground crack in dryness. Always wet the surrounding area of the plant especially at the base where the roots are the mouth of the plant.

Support - In rainy weather when the plants are flowering, put up props to support the pepper fruits from lowering to the ground.

Pruning - Prune the plants and remove dead branches and stems and excessive leaves to promote good fruit bearing.

Pests - The pepper plants enemies are pests, diseases and excessive exposure to heat during summer. The last is helped by covering the fruits with cut grasses or tying leaves and branches to shade the fruits from the suns heat.


Harvesting depends on the needs of the consumer. If it is for the market, the fruits are harvested while still green; if it is to be processed, it should be red or half red before picking.

1. Pick the pepper fruits toward evening. Trim, wash and wipe, and arrange according to sizes.
2. Ripening of immature pepper can be hastened if sprayed with ethrel or stored in 20°C-25°C and 85-90% humidity. To prolong its shelf life, paint it with molten candle.
3. Harvest every 5 days. On the 5-8 day, harvest is most abundant. This will further increase if weeds around the plant are kept controlled, fertilizer applied, and maintained with adequate watering.

Drying of Seeds - If the seeds are intended for immediate planting, they can be planted from the fresh pepper. But if planting will be in the next season yet, these should be stored properly.

1. Get seeds only from healthy and good ripe pepper. Dry these in the sun for 3 days (about 6% humidity left).
2. Do not expose in the sun when the heat is most intense (from noon to 2:00 pm).
3. In storing the seeds in a jar with cover, put powdered charcoal at the bottom, about 2½ cm thick, which will absorb the humidity. Cover this with a perforated cardboard and put it on the seeds.
4. Allow 2 cm space from the lid.
5. Cover with a perforated cardboard again and put fine charcoal on it before putting on the lid.
6. Close with a tape and open only when the seeds are ready for planting.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2008, 03:43:12 PM »
Papaya is a luscious fruit that has been taken for granted. The total crop area in the Philippines planted to papaya amounts to only 8,720 hectares or 0.1 percent of our agricultural land. Yet no one can deny its tastiness as a dessert or as an indispensable vegetables dish of various recipes. Papaya fruits are good sources of Vitamin A, B and C. It is a familiar meat tenderizer because for clearing fruit juices, on fermenting liquors, pre-shrinking the quality of wool and as soap for washing clothes. Papaya possesses medicinal values.

Papaya can be easily grown in home yard gardens. It can also be a profitable enterprise. Under ordinary farm condition, production cost amounts to only P2,700 per hectare on the first year and P1,500 per hectare on the second year. The net profit on the first year may be less than P400 per hectare; but in the second year the returns can reach as high as P4,000 per hectare. The productive life of a papaya plant is about 3-1/2 years. This means that after establishing the plantation, income will flow with little effort provided you have a ready market.


There are several cultivars you can choose from whether for backyard or commercial planting:

1. “Cavite Special ” is a popular semi-dwarf type that blooms 6 to 8 months after planting. The fruit weighs from 3 to 5 kilos each and mainly eaten fresh.
2. “Sunrise Solo” is a new improved high quality selection with reddish orange flesh, each fruit weighing half a kilo.
3. “Waimanalo” is high quality variety with orange yellow flesh, each fruit weighing from one-half to one kilo.
4. “Sinta” is the first Philippine-bred hybrid papaya, semi-dwarf, profile, sweet and flesh and weighs 1.2-2.0 kg./fruit.


Land preparation for papaya orchard is similar to other upland crops. First clear the fields; then plow and harrow alternately about 2 to 3 times to kill weeds and provide good internal drainage. The distance of planting papaya ranges from 2 to 3 meters depending on the variety.

Papaya plants are usually planted by direct seedling in the field. Place 5 or more seeds in each hole; then cover with ¼ inch of soil. When fresh seeds are used, seeds will germinate in 10 to 14 days after planting. Seed germination is better and faster if the gelatinous envelope (sarcotestae) surrounding the seed is removed by means of the fingers. In some cases, seedlings are started in the nursery by sowing seeds in seed plots or individual containers such as in cans or plastic bags. Sow 3 to 4 seeds per container. Use sterilized soil to avoid nematode infestation and damping-off. Seedlings in the nursery should be grown under full sunlight to produce vigorous and hardy seedlings. Care should be taken not to disturb the root system. Constant watering is essential until plants are well-established. Seedlings are transplanted when there are 3 to 4 leaves.


Thin papaya seedlings in the field 4 to 6 weeks after emergence. Leave only 3 of the strongest seedlings in each hole. Save plants that are spaced far enough from one another to allow minimum competition for sunlight and nutrients.

The second and final thinning in the field should be done as soon as flowers appear. This is usually 4 to 6 months after seed germination. At this stage, leave one tree seedling per planting hole. In plantation where female trees are grown, some pollinating trees of either male or hermaphrodite forms should be preserved during the thinning process. Allow one male plant to grow for every 15 to 20 female trees for pollination purposes.


Establishment of Windbreaks

Windbreaks are necessary in areas where strong winds prevail. Local materials used as windbreaks are ipil-ipil and madre de cacao. The distance between windbreaks varies with location. Where winds blow horizontally across the plantation, a common rule of thumb is to space windbreaks at a distance of 20-30 times the height of windbreak trees. Where winds come in different directions and angles, it is necessary to have windbreaks half as close.

In general, a good windbreak should be permeable, allowing some air to pass through.


Factors such as soil types, rainfall, locations, cultural practices, and age of plant influence fertilization practices. Start fertilizing when seeds are planted or when seedlings are transplanted in the field. Mix a handful (5-10gms.) of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) with the soil at the bottom of the hole before planting. As papaya seedlings grow larger, more fertilizer is applied.

Guide for papaya fertilization in the Philippines:

1. Apply 60 grams of ammonium sulfate as soon as plants are well-established and show new growth.
2. Apply the same amount at intervals of six weeks until plants are one year old.
3. Thereafter, apply 225 grams of ammonium sulfate per plant every three months.
4. Apply 450 grams superphosphate per plant at the start of rainy season every year.
5. In potassium-deficient soils, complete fertilizer with ratios 2:1:2 or 2:1:3 is recommended.

Weed Control

Weeds can be controlled by mechanical and chemical means. Hand-weed when papaya plants are less than 2- ½ meter high. Always keep one meter area around the trunk free from weeds.

In large commercial papaya plantation, weed control is done by using herbicides. Spray pre-emergence herbicide to hinder weed control for six months without much damage to plants. Spray post-emergence herbicides such as Paraquat of Gramoxone plus a surfactant, at intervals between sprays 5-6 weeks. Since papaya seedlings are very sensitive to chemical sprays, remove weeds close to the seedlings manually.


Papaya can be grown as intercrop with coconuts, coffee, pineapple or assorted vegetables. Inter-cropping with papaya increases total farm income and reduces weeding expenses. It is important to provide fertilizer requirement of the intercrop.


Harvesting is a simple operation when papaya trees are short and the fruit can be reached by hands. The first harvesting starts on the 7th to 8th month after planting. Pick all fruits showing a tinge of yellow at apical end.

Place harvested fruits in picking bags, galvanized containers or pails. Allow fruits to mature more fully to develop better flavor. However, this shortens shelf life and make them more susceptible to fruit fly infestation.

When papaya trees grow older, harvesting is done with the use of ladder. It is a tedious, time-consuming and costly method of harvesting. Farmers in Cavite use a long pole to strike the apical end of the papaya fruit to detach it from the tree while the fruit is caught by hand.

The papaya plant will keep on fruiting for many years but production declines rapidly as it grows older. Old trees grow slower and produce lesser fruits. The productive life span of papaya plantations end after 3-1/2 years. The yield of well-managed papaya plantation is 35 to 40 tons of fruits per hectare which is roughly 4 times the average yield (national) of 10 tons per hectare per year.



1. Phytophtora blight - caused by Phytophtora palmivora. Common symptoms are found on stems and fruits. Small, water-soaked, discolored spots may occur anywhere on the stem, around the fruit or leaf scars, especially during fruit production. These infected areas enlarge and often completely encircle stems of young trees. Green fruits are resistant to infection but can be invaded through the wound or through the peduncle from the stem cankers. Infected mature fruits that hand on the tree shrivel as disease progresses, turn dark brown, become mummified and fall to the ground. Mummified fruits become reservoir for fungus and source of infection.

Control - remove rotting fruits from the tree as these serve as reservoir of spores from fungal mass which is carried by rain or wind to healthy parts of plants. These spores may infect non-injured leaf tissue, stems or fruit. Good drainage conditions reduce infection and use of protectant spray such as copper sulfate or DithaneM-45 fungicides limit extent of injury.

2. Anthracnose - Affects both plants in the field and the fruits at harvested. First symptom is usually a small, round, water-soaked area on ripening portion of the fruit. As fruit ripens, these spots enlarge rapidly, forming circular, slightly sunken lesions; these enlarge up to 2 inches in diameter as fruit matures. Fungus frequently produces large, light orange or pink masses of spores in the center of the lesions. Sometimes spores are produced in concentric rings similar to a bull’s eye. In addition to producing this surface damage, the fungus also advances into the fruit.

Occasionally, green portions of the papaya become affected with anthracnose. Disease first appears as a small, water-soaked lesion. Soon after fungus penetrates the fruit, latex comes out in sticky mound of horns. These lesions enlarge to ½ inch in diameter as fruit remains green and eventually plant dies. Infected petioles may act as source of inoculum for infection of fruit.

Control - Control of this disease can be achieved only by means of a thorough spray program. In rainy areas with high temperatures, spray Dithane M-45 at 7 to 10 days intervals. Copper-based fungicides also provide good control.

3. Papaya mosaic - Initially, leaves develop rugged appearance. Undersides of leaves show thin, irregular, dark-green lines etching the borders of cleared area along veins. Younger leaves of crown are generally stunted and severely chlorotic with veins banding; transparent oily areas are scattered over leaf or along leaf veins. In mature leaves, chlorotic patters is light color between veins accompanied by numerous small rinds ranging from transparent yellow to tan yellow. In several affected areas, defoliation progresses upward until only a small tuft of leaves remains at the crown. Stems of infected plants show pinpoint-sized, water-soaked spots may develop into linear or concentric ring patterns, w/c become larger and more intense in color. This is generally transmitted by green peach aphid, Myzuz persicae.

Control - The only satisfactory way of controlling mosaic is by destroying source of the virus. A strick roguing program should also be followed:

- Spray all infected trees with insecticide to kill aphid carriers.
- Cut all infected trees and remove them from growing trees and other cucurbit plants.
- Avoid nearby cultivars of cucurbit plants.
- Control aphids with pesticides since they are disease-carriers.

Insect Pests:

1. Mites - They colonized on different parts of plants and feed on plant, causing premature leaf drop, reduce tree vigor and produce external blemishes on fruit. They puncture plant tissues with their needle-like mouthparts and feed on tissue juices. Some mutiply rapidly throughout the year and cause widespread damage in a very short time.

Control - Control mites by sulfur dustings. Spray Malathion at rates recommended by manufacturers.

2. Fruit fly - These infest papaya when fruits are allowed to ripen on the tree beyond recommended picking stage. Fruits harvested in the mature green stage are not infested due to the milky substance they exude when fruit is punctured.

Control - Sanitation is important. Destroy all dropped and pre-mature ripe fruits and suspected of being infested to prevent larvae from developing into adults flies.


Bruised papaya leaves are used as poultice in treating rheumatism. In nervous pains, leaves can be dipped in hot water or warmed over a fire and applied. As purgative, one tablespoon of the fresh fruit juice mixed with honey and 3 to 4 tbsp. of boiling water is taken one draught by an adult; two hours later, it is followed by a dose of castor oil. This treatment is repeated for 2 days, if necessary, for children aged 7 to 10 years old. The children under 3 years, half the dose is given.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2008, 03:56:19 PM »
Cassava is a shrub that is grown chiefly for its roots.

It has its origin in South America and is now widely grown in tropical Africa.

At its base the plant consists of one or more stems 2 to 3 centimetres in diameter; usually each stem divides into three branches, and each branch in turn divides into three, and so on.

When a stem is cut, the sap that flows is white and looks much like milk. Inside the stem is pith. The stem of cassava is not very hard; it is easily broken by a strong wind.

Cassava leaves have a long stalk and a much divided leaf- blade.

The leaf veins are green or red.

A cassava leaf

The flowers are pink, red, yellow or green. There are both male and female flowers in the same cluster.

The fruit is divided into three parts. Each part contains a seed. When the cassava fruit is ripe, it opens.

The farmer grows cassava chiefly for its roots. Some of them become large and fat by storing up food reserves. Other thinner roots continue to feed the plant.

Different kinds of cassava

Cassava roots contain a poison, prussic acid.

Some contain a great deal of poison; these are mainly the bitter tubers. Others, the sweet tubers, contain little poison.

The poison can be removed by thoroughly washing the root; by drying it or by cooking it thoroughly.

Before giving cassava to people or to animals, it must always be well cooked.

Where is cassava grown?

- Climate

To grow well, cassava needs a warm, humid climate.

If the rainy season is long, cassava roots grow rapidly.

Cassava is also a plant that will resist drought.

With less rain, the yield is small.

Cassava stems are not tough and dislike high winds.

- Soil

Cassava is a very strong grower. It will grow even in very poor soil.

But cassava grows best in soil that is permeable, not too compact, in which air and water circulate well. Then the roots fatten up and do not rot.

Cassava makes the soil poor. Besides the fat roots that store up food, many little roots take water and mineral salts from the soil.

After a crop of cassava, the field is very poor and must be left fallow.

How to grow cassava

The place of cassava in a crop rotation

Usually, cassava follows several other crops.

For example, first maize, okra, groundnuts are sown, then plantains are planted, and finally cassava.

In some places, cassava is planted at the same time as yams, or soon after.

The cassava cuttings are placed in the sides of the mounds for yams.
In other places, maize is grown between the cassava plants, or beans, fonio or groundnuts.

It is better not to grow several crops together.

Preparing the soil for cassava

To develop well, cassava roots need soil that has been loosened by the hoe or plough. So till deeply, to 20 or 25 centimetres, so that the roots can get well down.

After tilling, at the beginning of the rainy season, make mounds or ridges. This breaks up the soil and it stores up water; the roots have plenty of loose earth in which to develop.

If fertilizers or manure are used, work them into the soil when it is tilled.

Yields are high when the plant finds plenty of nourishment in the soil. Farmyard manure, compost and green manure are the best fertilizers for cassava.

For green manure, sow leguminous cover plants such as:




Phaseolus or beans.

Sow them a little before the rains, and dig them in after 5 to 18 months of leafy growth.

You can also use farmyard manure or compost. These organic manures enrich the soil with organic matter and mineral salts.

To complete the manuring, you can apply mineral fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.1

1 The use of mineral fertilizers may be profitable if the farmer sells the cassava to gari or tapioca factories. Many experiments made in Ghana and Nigeria have shown that yields per hectare are increased chiefly by nitrogen fertilizers such as ammonium sulphate (21% nitrogen), urea (46% nitrogen) and phosphorus fertilizers such as single superphosphate (16 to 20% phosphoric acid}, triple superphosphate (46% phosphoric acid) and ground natural phosphate (20 to 40% phosphoric acid). Potassium fertilizers such as potassium chloride (60% potassium) and potassium sulphate 150% potassium! have a less marked effect. However, the yield of cassava falls greatly when the soil lacks potassium fertilizers. If the farmer applies fertilizers and looks after his plantation well, the yield of cassava reaches 25 to 65 tons per hectare.

How to propagate cassava

Cassava is propagated by cuttings, by planting pieces of stem.

The roots of cassava are not used for making a new plantation, and thus all the harvest can be eaten or sold.

To make cuttings, choose stems 2 to 4 centimetres thick, from the strongest plants which are not diseased and which have already produced tubers.

After the harvest, tie the selected stems in bundles. Wait at least 10 days before planting them.

Keep the bundles in a cool, dry place until planting time.

But remember that the cuttings must not be made from the stems until you are ready to plant.

Cut each stem into pieces 20 to 30 centimetres long. There should be 4 to 6 growth buds on each piece. Each stem can be made into 4 or 5 cuttings.

How to plant cassava

To plant cassava, push into the soil the end of the piece of stem that was nearer to the ground.

Plant the cuttings in mounds or ridges. Plant when the soil is quite wet, after the beginning of the rainy season. Plant the cuttings either straight or slanting. Push them well into the earth, leaving only 2 or 3 buds above ground.

Cassava cuttings may be planted straight or slating

Press the earth well down round the cuttings. Then the roots that develop will be well nourished by the soil.

Usually the rows are 1 to 1.5 metres apart, and the plants 1 metre apart.

With this spacing, there are between 7 000 and 10 000 cassava plants to the hectare.

But the number of cuttings to the hectare varies with the region, soil and variety.

If cassava is planted at the right density, the yield is heavy; the roots occupy all the soil and fewer weeds grow, so that fewer cultivations are needed.

Looking after the plantation


Weed when the cassava plants are 20 to 25 centimetres high, that is, 3 or 4 weeks after planting.

Weed a second time 1 or 2 months after the first. Earth up the plants at the same time; this greatly helps the formation or tubers, and prevents the wind from blowing the plants down.

After this, the cassava plants are big enough to prevent weeds from growing.

When rain spoils the mounds, they must be remade.

When the soil of the mounds gets too hard, break it up with a hoe, so that water and air can get in to nourish the roots.


- Mosaic

Cassava is often attacked by what is called mosaic disease.

Leaves of plants attacked by mosaic look as though crumpled, and show light spots. If the attack is serious, yields are sharply reduced.

Means of controlling mosaic disease are not yet known. To avoid it, do not take cuttings from plants attacked by the disease.

Choose varieties of cassava that have been bred for resistance to the disease.

To prevent mosaic spreading in a region, burn all the plants attacked by the disease.

- Rot

Rot damages the roots, especially after 10 months of leafy growth.

Rot often occurs when the cassava field has been flooded for several days. The tubers turn soft and give off an unpleasant smell; they are no longer any good for human or animal food. This means a big loss to the farmer.

To avoid rot, do not plant cassava in a place that is often flooded.

If a cassava field is flooded after heavy rain when the tubers are already ripe, you must get the cassava out of the ground very quickly, before it starts to rot.


- Rodents

Agoutis, rats and rabbits are the chief rodents that may cause great damage in a field of cassava. These animals eat the stems, the young shoots, and especially the roots.

- Wild boars, pigs and other animals

Other animals such as the wild boar and the pig are equally damaging to cassava.

They are very fond of it, and with their powerful snouts they push over the plants and dig up large quantities of roots.

Control all these animals by putting poison in the fields, by laying traps, or by digging deep ditches round the cassava plantations.

- Insects

- In very dry regions, when cassava is planted a long time before the rains, termites eat the cuttings.

To avoid this damage, wait for the rainy season before planting,

Or you can dip the cuttings in insecticide just before planting them.

- Thrips and certain other insects feed on sap by piercing the stems and leaves of cassava. Other insects eat the leaves and the young shoots. When they come in large numbers they may cause great damage. They are controlled with insecticides such as BHC.

- Red spiders are tiny red creatures no longer than 0.5 millimetre.

Large numbers of them live on the lower surface of cassava leaves. The same red spiders attack castor oil, cotton and rubber plants. They feed on the sap of the plant by piercing the leaves. The leaves attacked get brown spots on the underside. The plants attacked do not grow well, and do not yield much cassava.

To control red spiders, the plants may be sprayed with soapy water and nicotine, with rotenone, white oil, etc.

When diseases, animals and insects cause serious damage, you should quickly inform me agricultural extension officer. He will tell you what to do to control diseases effectively or to get rid of pests.

How to harvest and store cassava


Depending on the variety, harvesting of cassava for food may begin from the seventh month after planting the cuttings for early varieties, or after the tenth month for late varieties.

Before this, the tubers are too small. In addition, they still contain too much prussic acid.

At harvesting time, that is, between the sixth and the twelfth month, each fully grown tuber of cassava may weigh 1 or 2 kilogrammes, depending on the variety.

In small family plantations you can harvest me tubers as you need them. Without cutting the stems, begin by taking the biggest tubers from each plant, leaving the smaller ones time to fatten up.

If you are selling to a factory, you must harvest all the cassava at the same time. The production of roots and starch is highest 18 to 20 months after planting.


Once lifted, cassava cannot be kept for long. The roots begin to spoil as soon as they are out of the ground.

That is why on a family plantation, you should not harvest more roots than you can eat while they are fresh, or sell immediately.

Cassava keeps longer when it is left in the ground, but the soil must not be too wet.

A cassava root

When you lift the cassava, take good care not to break it. Tubers damaged in lifting go bad even more quickly.

The use of cassava in food

Many peoples of tropical Africa make cassava their staple food.

Cassava tubers can be eaten whole.

But as a rule they are turned into flour or paste.

The reasons for this are:

- to get rid of the poison;

- to keep the cassava for a long time;

- to get foods with a more pleasant taste.

Fresh cassava and cassava paste

For eating fresh, the sweet varieties are chosen for preference. The poison in cassava is mainly in the peel. Wash the cassava carefully, cut the roots into pieces and steam them.

To make a paste, pound pieces of tuber in a mortar. The pastes are known as foutou, foufou, foufouin or tchokoro.

Dried casava and cassava flour

The fresh roots are peeled, sliced into rounds, and dried in the sun.

Sometimes, instead of being sliced, cassava is grated and then pressed into little balls which are dried.

The balls and the slices can be kept for a long time.

To make flour, the slices or balls are pounded in a mortar, or ground in a mill.

This flour contains all the food elements of cassava. Do not confuse flour with starch.

Cooked cassava flours

Gari and atcheke are much liked in Africa.

To make gari, peel and grate fresh cassava. Then press it in baskets or sacks for three or four days, until it begins to ferment. After rubbing it through a sieve, heat it, dry, in a pot, stirring all the time to prevent sticking. Afterwards, remove impurities with a sieve.

To make atcheke, cassava is prepared as for gari. But the flour is steamed instead of being cooked dry in a pot.

Starch and tapioca

- Starch

After peeling, washing and grating the cassava, the pulp is mixed with water. Then the resulting liquid is strained through a cloth. This is done several times.

The water that passes through the cloth contains the starch. The liquid is allowed to stand for several hours. The water at the top is removed and the starch is left at the bottom of the vessel.

- Tapioca

The damp starch is used to make tapioca. As in making gari, the starch is heated in pots and stirred all the time.

After cooking, it is allowed to get cold, and then the tapioca is sieved to separate the lumps of different sizes.

Cassava leaves

In some places cassava leaves are much liked.

In southern Cameroon cassava leaves are often eaten as a vegetable. They are in fact rich in vitamin C and mineral salts, and contain some protein.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2008, 04:01:22 PM »
Yam is the name given to many plants with tubers belonging to the family of Dioscoreaceae. Yams, or Dioscorea, are herbaceous plants. Their stem consists of two parts: an aerial stem which climbs bv winding round a stake and lasts only a year; and an underground stem that can live a long time.

The underground stem thickens to produce one or more tubers called yams

Cross section of a yam

The tubers contain reserves to feed the plant and enable it to produce fruits and seeds.

But the tubers are lifted before the plant makes seeds.

When they are ripe, the tubers are brown in colour on the outside, but the flesh is white, yellow or red. Their weight varies between 2 and 5 kilogrammes.

In rich, well- worked, deep soil and on mounds, yams can reach weights of 15 to 20 kilogrammes and more.

The aerial stem may be smooth, may bear thorns, or may be covered with little hairs.

Depending on the variety, the aerial stem of a yam may be round in section, or square.

The leaves are alternate or opposite, smooth or hairy. They are usually heart- shaped. In certain species small tubers called bulbils are found in the axils of the leaves

Piece of yam stem

The flowers, white, green or red, are arranged in clusters or in spikes; the male flowers are separate from the female flowers. Some varieties of yam bear male and female flowers at the same time; others bear only male or only female flowers.

The fruits are divided in three parts and each part contains two seeds.

There are many varieties of yam

To recognize them we look at:

- the section and appearance of the aerial stem;
- the direction in which it winds round the stake;
- the shape of the leaves and their position on the stem;
- the colour, shape and taste of the tubers;
- the presence or absence of bulbils.

Yam stem winding round a stake

Yams may be classified in six groups:

- Dioscorea alata

The stems wind in a counterclockwise direction. They are smooth and thornless. They are four- sided. The leaves are simple and opposite. The aerial stems and the leaf- stalks are winged.

Each plant of Dioscorea alaa often produces only one tuber, more rarely two tubers. The tubers are covered with rootless.

This variety is quite robust, and gives a big yield. The tubers stand transport well and keep well.

This is a late or medium early variety of yam. The growing period is 8 or 9 months.

Leaf and tuber of Dioscorea alata

This variety is generally called the water yam.

Other names are:

Ivory Coast: bt- bt and nza
Guinea: gbra- gu (Malink) or khabi- gbouel; (Soussou)
Benin: sakarou (Bariba)
Mali and Senegal: anda- ba (Bambara)

- Dioscorea cayenensis (Guinea yam)

There are great differences among the varieties of Dioscorea cayenensis.

Some are early varieties harvested only once; they are usually planted when the rainy season has already begun. In west Africa these varieties are harvested between November and January. In Ivory Coast they are called lokpa.

Other varieties, late or medium early, are harvested twice. These yams are planted early, often before the rainy season has begun.

The first harvest is about 6 months after planting (August- September). The mature tuber or tubers are removed carefully, and the roots left undisturbed.

The second harvest is taken 4 to 6 months later ( December- January ). Only the tubers from this last harvest are used for planting.

The medium early varieties are: gnan and klingl or krengl, which grow in 6 to 7 months.

The late varieties are: sepelo and kangba, which cannot be harvested before 8 or 9 months.

The stems of Dioscorea cayenensis wind in a counterclockwise direction. They are round and often have thorns.

As a rule, each plant produces one yellow fleshed tuber, the shape of which is very varied.

- Dioscorea dumetorum

The stems wind in a clockwise direction. They are oval and are generally covered with hairs. The leaves are alternate; they have three leaflets.

This variety is well suited to conditions in savanna country; it withstands drought well and even sometimes comes through brush fires without much harm.

Each plant of Dioscorea dumetorum may have several tubers. The tubers have no rootless, but are smooth except for wrinkles running across them.

- Dioscorea trifida (cush- cush yam)

This yam is still little known in Africa.

The stems wind in a clockwise direction. They are four- sided.

The leaves are alternate and deeply divided into three to six lobes.

Each plant produces several small, elongated tubers.

- Dioscorea esculenta

The stems wind in a clockwise direction and have thorns.

The leaves are alternate and are entire, or deeply divided into several lobes.

This is a late variety that grows in 9 to 10 months.

Each plant produces a large number of small tubers between 30 and 40. It is popularly called the white man’s yam. Names for it are:

Ivory Coast:
brofi mbou (Abb)
bofou shi (Attic)
brofou douo (Baoul)

Togo and Benin:
anago- t (Ew- Mine)

- Dioscorea bulbifera

This variety of yam grows in 9 months. It is chiefly grown in western Cameroon. Names for it are:

anda (Malink)
dan or dana (Soussou)

danda (Bambara)

nbaniok (Kabrai)

The stems wind in a clockwise direction and are thornless.

The leaves of Dioscorea bulbifera are alternate, large and hairless.

Leaf and aerial tuber of Dioscorea bulbifera

Little aerial tubers, called bulbils, are to be seen in the axils of the leaves.

These bulbils develop by the transformation of buds.

They may be as much as 10 centimetres long. They have white, firm flesh and are good to eat when cooked.

These bulbils store food reserves, just like underground tubers. The underground tubers are smaller.

Where are yams grown?

- Climate

To grow well, yams need a warm, humid climate, with abundant, prolonged rain.

Yams cannot be grown in very dry regions, or where the sunlight is too strong. Yams need shade during the early stages of growth.

This is why in Africa, yams are grown in regions between the dense forest and the dry, treeless savanna.

- Soil

Yams grow well in rich, deep, permeable soil that is not too sandy.

The tubers do not grow well in heavy soils.

Swampy land that is flooded for several days during the rainy reason is not suitable for growing yams.

How to grow yams

The place of yams in a crop rotation

It is best to plant yams at the beginning of the rotation, as a first- year crop after clearing the land.

If yams are grown after a long fallow, they find plenty of mineral salts in the soil, and yield many good tubers.

How to prepare the soil for yams

Before planting yams, the soil must be well prepared.

- Clear the land before the rainy season. Cut down the trees, cut the branches. Stack the trees and branches and burn them.

Do not cut all the trees. Leave some of the little ones. They can be used as supports for the aerial stems of the yams. These natural supports will later be supplemented by stakes.

- Till the land to a depth of 20 to 40 centimetres.

- At this time add organic manures, well- rotted farmyard manure, compost or green manure, at 10 to 40 tons a hectare.

Inorganic fertilizers may be used to get a greater yield.

The amounts vary according to the country, region, or even the soils in the same field.

Research stations like IRAT’ make a special study of food crops, and advise farmers.
In Liberia, it is known that the application of potassium (K) fertilizers is valuable in increasing yields.

In Nigeria and Ghana, the agricultural service advises that yams should be given the following fertilizers:

250 kg/ha ammonium sulphate;

65 kg/ha single superphosphate;

215 kg/ha potassium chloride.

The farmer who wants to make progress should all the time ask for advice from the agricultural service.

- In many African countries, yams are planted in mounds 30 to 40 centimetres high and 1 or 2 metres apart. These mounds are made at the beginning of the rainy season. The soil which has thus been well loosened holds plenty of water.

Sometimes the mounds are only made 2 or 3 months after planting. This earthing up encourages the development of tubers but takes a lot of work from the farmer.

If the soil is fairly deep and is deeply tilled, it is not always necessary to make mounds. In that case, more tubers can be planted and the density is greater.

Yams are planted at the beginning of the rainy season. Plant them 5 to 10 centimetres deep 1 metre apart in all directions or 90 centimetres by 1 metre. This gives the tubers plenty of room to fatten up, and the plant makes use of all the rainy season water.

How to propagate yams

Many kinds of yam bear flowers which fruit and produce seeds. So it is possible to obtain new yam plants by sowing these seeds.

But this way of propagating is no use to the farmer. The new plants grown from seed are not always like the parent plants. Often the yield is less, the tubers are much too small and of bad quality and contain a poison called dioscorine.

For all these reasons, it is better to propagate by cuttings. But here care is needed Take cuttings from ripe tubers, and not from the aerial stems, as is done with cassava. These root cuttings make plants which are like the parent plant, and give good yields.

For the cuttings use pieces of tuber or small whole tubers. To get regular sprouting and good yields, the cuttings “whether whole tubers or pieces) should weigh between 250 and 400 grammes.

The amount of yams planted represents a considerable part (about a quarter) of the harvest. That much of the harvest must be set aside and well stored for use in planting later.

Plant only fully ripe tubers. It is best to use the part of the tuber nearest the crown. This top of the tuber contains many growth buds and shoots more quickly than the rest of the tuber. For this reason, tops of tubers must all be planted in the same field.

The remaining yam tubers are planted in another field. They sprout less quickly.

With the Dioscorea bulbifera variety of yams, the bulbils can be planted in the same way as tubers. Wait until they are quite ripe, when they are easily removed from the stem.

Do not plant tubers or bulbils that are damaged, rotten or diseased.

Small yam tuber used for planting

How to plant yams

The bulbils, pieces of tuber or small tubers are planted in the top of the mound at a depth of 5 to 10 centimetres, and covered with soil. When there is too much sun or the light is too strong, cover the mound with grass, so that the sun will not dry out the young plant and the rain will not wash away the soil and the tubers

- In savanna country where there is a long dry period, stakes are not used.

The aerial stems trail on the ground. By covering it, they prevent weeds growing, and protect it against dryness.

A yam mound

Looking after the plantation


For a good harvest, hoeing must be done two or three times during the early stages of growth.

When this cultivation is being done, the mounds are remade at the same time.

Later, the abundant vegetation of the yams prevents the growth of weeds.

It is then not necessary to hoe.


Yams have few diseases.

However, rodents, some insects and fungi cause damage.

Damaged tubers rot quickly and cannot be kept for long.

Harvesting and storing yams


Depending on the variety, yams are harvested 6 to 12 months after planting. Lift the tubers when the leaves and stems turn yellow and dry.

Do not leave the ripe tubers too long in the ground, otherwise they become bitter and may rot.

With some varieties, only one crop is harvested. Others are harvested twice.

At the first harvest, after 6 months, the biggest tubers are lifted.

The second harvest is taken 3 to 6 months after the first.

Or the crop may be harvested as and when needed.


Early varieties, such as lokpa, do not store well. These yams should be eaten immediately after lifting.

Late varieties, such as Dioscorea alata, may be stored for 5 or 6 months.

But they must be kept dry and protected from rats and other rodents.
They should be under a roof, on dry ground or on boards supported on posts.
To prevent rot, the tubers should not be heaped up too much.

The use of yams in food

Yams are the staple food of many peoples of Africa.

Yams are eaten fresh, or are treated and preserved.

Most varieties of yams, especially the wild species that are not cultivated, contain a poison (dioscorine). But this poison is removed by washing the yams several times in salt water and by cooking them well.

This is why yams must never be eaten raw, but only when they are thoroughly cooked.

Fresh and mashed yams

When yams are eaten fresh, either boiled or fried, peel them first, cut the tubers into pieces and wash them carefully. The boiled yams are pounded to make mashed yams.

Dried yams and yam flour

The fresh tubers are peeled, sliced, and dried in the sun.

Sometimes yams are steamed before being dried in the sun. And sometimes after a meal, the remains of foutou (mashed fresh yams) are carefully gathered up and made into little balls which are then dried in the sun.

Like cassava, the slices or yam and the balls of foutou can be kept for a long time once they have been well dried.

To make flour, the slices or the little balls are pounded in a mortar, or ground in a mill. The flour thus produced is used to make a dough.



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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2008, 04:05:44 PM »
Description of the plant

The sweet potato is a climbing herbaceous plant. It may live for several years, but often it is harvested after 3 months, without waiting for it to flower.

The stems may grow to 2 or 3 metres in length; they are thin and climbing or creeping. They have nodes at varying distances apart. It is thought that the varieties with short inter- nodes yield more heavily than those with long inter- nodes.

The leaves vary greatly in size and shape. Depending on the variety, they may be entire, heart- shaped or deeply divided with three, five or seven lobes. The leaf veins and the leaf- stalks are green or red.

The flowers, usually violet, sometimes white, are clustered in the leaf axils. Many varieties of sweet potato in cultivation do not have time to produce flowers and fruits before the harvest.

The most important part of the plant is the roots, because they can develop into tubers.

The tubers are parts of the creeping roots that have built up food reserves.

These tubers are produced at points where the roots cease to spread out near the surface and turn downward into the soil. By making mounds that are not too wide, the formation of tubers is helped.

Leaves and tubers of sweet potato

Varieties of sweet potato

Varieties of sweet potato differ greatly in the number, shape and size of their tubers and in the color of the peel and flesh of the tubers.

Sweet potatoes may be round or elongated. In colour they are white, yellow, red or violet, with soft or firm flesh. They may weigh between 0.3 and 3 kilogrammes.

Where are sweet potatoes grown?

- Climate

Sweet potatoes grow well in warm, sunny and humid regions. At the same time, they withstand drought very well. For that reason, they are suited to dry savanna country.

Sweet potatoes need regular rain to grow, especially when the leaves are coming into growth. But if there is too much rain at harvesting time, the tubers rot.

- Soil

The sweet potato will grow in poor soils. The most suitable soil is a light, well- drained, sandy loam. If the soil is too rich in organic matter and nitrogen, the plant produces a great deal of useless stem and leaves, and only after a long time produces a very few tubers.

How to grow sweet potatoes

As a rule, sweet potatoes are grown on ridges or mounds after deep tilling.

This way is better than growing them on the flat.

The mounds and ridges protect them from too much moisture. The ridges are made about 75 centimetres apart.

But it is still better to plant sweet potatoes on round mounds 30 to 40 centimetres high and 1 metre apart. The mounds should be made as narrow as possible.

This forces the plant to bend its roots downward quickly. In bending, the roots build up food reserves and develop tubers.

The farmer must know his varieties well. He must know how long they take to form tubers, and see to it that the harvest will be in the dry season.

It is better to plant several times, at intervals, so that the whole plantation does not become ready for harvest at the same time. By doing this, you can lift the sweet potatoes as and when you need them.

Propagation of sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are propagated from cuttings or from tubers.

- Propagation from cuttings

Propagation from cuttings is possible only when the sweet potatoes remain in the field all through the year. The cuttings should be 20 to 40 centimetres long, with three to five growth buds. It is best to take them from the tips of young stems. Take the cuttings only when you are ready to plant them, and keep them in the shade until they are inserted in the soil. Propagation from cuttings is the most economic way of increasing your plants.

Plant cuttings at a slant, leaving 3 or 4 centimetres above ground, and press the soil down firmly. If you plant them on mounds, you can put four or five cuttings in a circle on each mound. This will give you a planting density of between 15 000 and 30 000 plants to the hectare.

- Propagation from tubers
If you do not have any plants of sweet potatoes with enough leafy growth to provide cuttings, you can propagate from tubers.

In this case, the tubers must be made to sprout in a cool nursery bed. If the tubers are large, cut them into several pieces. After about a month, remove from the tubers the young shoots that are 15 to 20 centimetres long and plant them.

This method of propagation from tubers is usually done only on a part, say one third, of the area on which sweet potatoes are to be grown. Later, cuttings from the plants thus obtained can be used to enlarge the plantation.

Looking after the plantation


One or two cultivations in the early stages of growth are enough. In 4 to 6 weeks after planting, the plant’s own leafy growth will closely cover the soil.

When cultivating, remake the mounds at the same time.


Sweet potatoes attacked by diseases and insects yield only a small harvest of poor quality.

You must wait 3 to 5 years before growing sweet potatoes again on the same field.

- Rot and fungi

Diseases that kill the growing plants are caused chiefly by various fungi. Some fungi make the leaves turn yellow and wither. Other fungi make the stems or tubers rot. Signs of the disease are yellow leaves and black marks inside the stems and tubers.

Other fungi cause the young plant to rot. It stops growing. The roots and the tubers already formed turn black. It is not long before the whole plant withers and dies.

To control most forms of rot, you must choose resistant varieties. Do not use for propagation cuttings or tubers taken from plantations attacked by rot.

Do not grow sweet potatoes on the same soil 2 years in succession.

- Insect pests

Sweet potatoes may be attacked by certain insects, especially by weevils.

The adult insects eat the leaves, stems and tubers. The female insects lay their eggs in the stems or roots; the larvae tunnel into the tubers. Serious damage is caused by weevils.

To control the weevils, use insecticides. Before planting tubers and cuttings, dip them in a solution of Dieldrin.

In places where harvested sweet potatoes are stored, they can be fumigated with phostoxin in tablets.

Yields of sweet potatoes and storing


Depending on the varieties of sweet potato and on the way they are grown, yields vary from 4 to 7 tons per hectare on average. On a modern and well- cared- for plantation, yields may be much higher, and may even be more than 20 tons per hectare.


The length of time for which sweet potatoes can be kept differs with the varieties and the harvesting season. If they are harvested in dry weather, the tubers may be stored for 2 or 3 months.

But part of the harvest may be destroyed by rot during storage. Damaged tubers are most quickly attacked. Damp conditions encourage rot.

To prevent rot, dry the tubers in the sun for a time after harvesting.

For good keeping, the tubers of sweet potatoes should be harvested when they are quite ripe, when the stems and leaves have turned yellow. Take care not to damage the tubers. Remove all diseased and damaged tubers. Dry the tubers in the sun. Store them under cover in a dark, dry, cool, well- aired place. Put them on dry ground or on boards supported on posts, and do not heap them up too much.

Sweet potatoes in human food

Sweet potatoes are of great value as an energy food.

The sweet potato, especially the coloured varieties, contains vitamins. The yellow ones are the richest in vitamins.

The tubers contain much starch, and this can be extracted from the tubers in factories.

The sweet potato can also be used for making alcohol. The leaves of the plant are used for food, both for people and animals.


Tania and taro (gabi)


Tania and taro are alike. They belong to the same family, the Araceae.

But tania and taro are two different plants.

- Tania goes by the scientific name of Xanthosoma. It is grown chiefly in Cameroon.

- Taro (or cocoyam) goes by the scientific name of Colocasia. It is grown all over Africa.

Description of the plant

Tania and taro are distinguished by the shape and arrangement of the leaves.

Tania or Xanthosoma

Some varieties of tania have an aerial stem. It may reach 1 metre in length in the adult plant.

The leaf blade of tania is divided by a notch which makes the leaf arrow- shaped.

The leaf-stalk is attached to the edge of the leaf at the middle of the notch.

The leaf is bigger than the taro leaf; it is more sheath- like, thicker, stiffer and more shiny. It is permeated with a sort of wax.

Tania (Xanthosoma) plant

Tania leaf

The leaf-stalks are long, stiff and thick. They are flattened at the part attached to the leaf. The leaf-stalk of tania is a direct continuation of the midrib.

As a rule, the underground stems and tubers are well developed. They weigh between 1 and 5 kilogrammes and are rich in starch.

Taro or cocoyam (Colocasia)

Taro never has an aerial stem as is the case with some varieties of tania.

Taro leaves are a lighter green and less shiny than those of tania. They are smaller. The leaf blade is thin and flexible. The leaf-stalk is thin, flexible and has no sheath.

The leaf-stalk is not a continuation of the midrib, as with tania

Taro (Colocasia) leaf

Taro bulber

The taro leaf- stalk is not attached to the edge of the leaf, but near the centre of the leaf blade.

The underground stem varies a lot. It may be round or flat, branching or not branching.

As with tania, the underground stems of taro often produce secondary tubers, but they are smaller. Unlike what happens with tania, it is chiefly the bigger, central tuber that is used for food. It remains tender when ripe, at harvest time.

There are many varieties of taro, as there are of tania.

The tubers may be large or small, with flesh that is yellow, red or white, hard or soft, that becomes floury after cooking, or doughy.

Where are tania and taro grown?

- Climate

Tania and taro require- a warm, humid climate.

But tania suffers more from drought than tarot If you live in a region with not much rain, it is better to grow taro than tania.

- Soil

Tania and taro need well- loosened soil that is very cool and rich in humus.

Some varieties can even be planted in land that is often flooded.

How to grow tania and taro

In general, the same methods are used for both plants.


Tania and taro are usually propagated from small tubers or pieces of tuber.

Sometimes the suckers, or new shoots that appear some distance from the parent plant, are used.

With tania, pieces of the aerial stem can sometimes be used, or the main tuber if it has become too hard to eat.

The tubers, pieces of tuber or of aerial stem are cut into pieces 10 to 15 centimetres long; the leaf- stalks are cut at about 10 centimetres from the junction with the leaf.


Tania and taro may be planted by themselves. Or they may be planted with other crops in the same field.

For example, they can be grown in the shade of a plantation of plantains. They can also be grown under the dense foliage of big forest trees.

Because tania and taro have large leaves, they may be used as a cover crop when starting a new cocoa plantation.

Planting is done at the beginning of the rainy season in rather shallow holes.

When grown alone, the distance between the holes may be 60 centimetres in all directions, or else 60 centimetres by 80 centimetres.

When grown with other crops, for example, when tania and taro are used to shade young cocoa trees, the distance between the holes varies between 50 centimetres and 1 metre.

Looking after the plantation

Tania and taro require very little care. One or two cultivations in the early stages of growth are all that is necessary before the harvest. Often the plants are lightly earthed up when these cultivations are carried out.


Depending on variety, tania and taro are between 6 and 14 months in the field.

The tubers are ripe and ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and the plant begins to wither.

The fully ripe tubers should be harvested in dry weather. If you harvest during the dry season, the tubers may be left in the earth for some time and will not spoil.

When the field is wet, the ripe tubers must be harvested quickly. They may sprout and will then be no good for human food.

Each tania or taro plant may yield several harvests during one crop period.

As a rule, the harvests should be organized as follows:

- For tania

The first harvest begins about 3 months after planting. Three months after this first harvest, you can take three or four additional harvests from each plant. After each of these additional harvests, wait 2 or 3 weeks before taking tubers again from the same plant.

- For taro

The first harvest begins 6 to 8 months after planting. After that, harvest again two or three times from the same plant at intervals of 2 or 3 weeks.

When harvesting dig out the soil right up to the plant, take the biggest tubers and detach them from the parent plant. Then fill in the hole. Let the young tubers develop before harvesting again.

Storing the tubers

The harvested tubers are cleaned and can be sold fresh.

But tania and taro tubers may be kept for some time, and eaten as and when needed.

To keep the tubers for some months after harvesting, you must prevent them from rotting.

To do that, put the tubers on dry ground, or on boards supported on posts, in a well- aired, dry, cool place, sheltered from the sun and rain.

Tania and taro in human food

The leaves of tania and taro are used in human food as vegetables.

They may also be given to animals as fodder.

With tania, the main underground stem is too hard to be eaten. Only the tubers are used for food.

With taro, the underground stems often bear tubers. The central tuber, which is the biggest and yet soft, is the one chiefly used for food.


Better Farming Series 16 - Roots and Tubers (FAO - INADES, 1977, 58 p.)




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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2008, 04:09:49 PM »
How to improve upland rice cultivation

8. Farmers can use new implements

With animals and 8 plough the soil can be prepared better and more quickly. It is also possible to cultivate larger fields.

On a well- prepared soil the seed can be sown in rows. This makes it easier to remove weeds.

By preparing the soil, sowing in rows and weeding, yields can be greatly increased, even doubled.

9. They can apply manure and fertilizers.

Once farmers have used new tools they get a bigger harvest and more money. With the money they earn, the farmers can buy fertilizers.

If the plants are given manure or fertilizer, they will be well nourished. The harvest will be bigger, and the soil keeps its fertility. The same fields can grow crops for a longer time.

Once the farmers use new tools and also apply manure and fertilizers, they are growing upland rice by very modern methods.

10. They can protect the rice against pests.

It is difficult to keep off the rats and the birds. You can have a watchman near the field. Noise can frighten the birds away. Rice fields must be watched especially at the time when the grain begins to ripen.

There are also certain insects that damage rice, for example, rice borers, which lay their eggs on the leaves. When they grow, they eat through the stem. When the stems go white, apply BHC (benzene hexachloride) and Aldrin, a product which can kill these insects. Ask your extension service for this product.

Using new implements

11. A plough, a harrow and a hoe drawn by animals help you work better and more quickly.

You can cultivate larger fields.

This will give you a more plentiful harvest.

Every year, you will earn a little more money. That way, you can pay for new implements and keep on making new progress.

As these implements are drawn by animals, you use the strength of the animals.

In studying animal husbandry, we have already seen how to use animals.

If you wish to use animal power, read Booklets 8, 9, 11 and 14 of this series.

Now we shall study how to plough, sow and cultivate. With good ploughing, good sowing, and several cultivations, you will get much more plentiful harvests.

12. With a plough and a harrow the soil is better prepared.

The plough loosens the soil and tills it more deeply. The roots of the rice develop better, the rice gets more nourishment.

The soil is prepared more quickly.

You will be able to sow at the right time. It is very important to sow at the right time.

You will also be able to sow larger fields.

If you sow larger fields at the right time, your rice production will be much larger.

13. A hoe helps to remove weeds more quickly.

Whenever weeds have grown, you can remove them more quickly.

Then the weeds do not take water and mineral salts out of the soil.

The rice can use all the nourishment from the soil.

But in order to cultivate with a hoe, you must sow in rows.

The use of plough and hoe greatly increases the yield.

Preparing the soil

Most often, rice is sown on a field that has already been cultivated perhaps after a crop of yams, or groundnuts, or cotton.

The work of clearing the field has already been done before growing yams, or groundnuts or cotton.

14. Tillage.

Before sowing, you must prepare the soil; that is, you must till it.

If you till 15 to 20 centimetres deep, this will stir the earth very well. Do this work with the plough or the hoe.

Tilling loosens the soil; it gets air and water well into the soil.

Tilling enables you to mix the herbage with the soil. When the herbage rots, it makes humus.

On flat land, if a soil has been well loosened by tilling, the water penetrates well and stays for a long time. Therefore, till at the beginning of the rainy season, so that the soil holds the water. This first tilling is very important; do it just as soon as you can move the soil.

Slopes should not be tilled where there is a danger of rain carrying the soil away.

Tilling, or turning the soil over, can be done with the hoe, the spade or the digging fork. But this is slow and tiring work.

Nowadays, people use a plough drawn by donkeys or oxen.
This way the work is done better and more quickly.

15. The plough.

Most often, people use a simple plough. The plough consists of a ploughshare, a mouldboard and two handles

Handles for holding the plough

16. How to plough.

Make a first furrow with the plough across the whole length of the field.

At the end of the field, turn. Make a second furrow alongside the first.

The second strip of ploughed field joins the first.

After that, keep turning around the double strip of ploughed field.

This is called conventional ploughingthe field is divided into ploughed lance separated by a furrow.

Conventional ploughing

17. Now the field is well ploughed. But ploughing often does not leave the soil flat. There are clods of earth

These clods of earth are broken up with a harrow. If you do not have a harrow, you can let an animal draw big branches of trees over the field. The branches crush the clods.

The branches crush the clods


18. Choosing the seeds.

If you have already grown a rice crop, choose the best seeds from your own harvest. Remove broken rice grains, misshapen grains, and grains attacked by insects.

It is best to use selected seeds.

If you have worked hard to prepare your field very well, you will get a better harvest if your seeds are well chosen.

The extension services and research centres have selected rice varieties best suited to the climate of each region, disease- resisting varieties which provide high yields.

Once you have chosen good seeds, use the finest seeds of your own harvest for sowing in the following years.

19. Disinfecting the seeds.

The disinfectant is available from the extension services. Mix the seeds and the disinfectant very well, so that the disinfectant covers all the seeds.

For example, you might mix 200 grammes of a disinfectant such as Crgan with 100 kilogrammes of rice seed.

20. Disinfectant is poisonous

Be very careful in using it:

- Wash your hands well after touching the disinfectant.

- Never give disinfected seeds to animals.

- Never leave the disinfectant where children can get at it.

Disinfected seeds are not eaten by insects. Disinfected seeds do not rot easily. All the seeds will grow, there will be very few plants missing.

Disinfection makes for good density, and so the yield is better.

Device for disinfecting seeds

21. Sowing in rows.

Farmers have the habit of broadcasting their seed.

If the seed is broadcast, it is very difficult later to remove the weeds.

If the seed is sown in rows, it is easier to remove weeds.

The animal that draws the hoe can walk between the rows.

On flat soil, you can trace your rows with a marker. Leave 40 centimetres between rows. The spikes of the marker make a little furrow.

In this furrow, put your rice seeds.

Leave 1 to 2 centimetres between seeds. Cover the seeds with a little earth.

You will need between 30 and 50 kilogrammes of seed for 1 hectare.

22. On net soil you can use a seed- planting machine, called a seed drill.

In several countries people are beginning to use these seed drills, which are drawn by a donkey or by oxen. The seed drill makes a furrow and places the seeds in the soil at the same distance from each other and all at the same depth.

With some seed drills the fertilizer can be applied at the same time.

Use a seed- planting machine

Seed drill

23. If the field is on a slope, make the seed rows along the contour lines and leave barrier strips between the different levels of soil.

This helps to reduce erosion.

Fast- flowing water carries away some soil.

It is dirty water mixed with soil.

When you slow up the water, the soil in the water drops to the ground.

The water becomes cleaner and the soil is not lost.

What is a contour line? Look at these two drawings.

Liass in the direction of the slope

These lines follow the direction of the slope. Water flows very fast and carries away the soil.

Lines across the slope

These lines cut across the slope along the contour lines. Water and soil are held back.

A contour line is a line across the slope running always at the same height.

24. What is a barrier strip?

A barrier strip is an uncultivated strip of land. Grass grows on this strip and holds back the water so that the soil drops to the ground. The barrier strips must also follow the contour lines. A barrier strip should be about 2 metres wide.

To hold back the water better, you can plant tall grasses.

If the slope is very gentle, you can leave 30 to 40 metres between barrier strips.

If the slope is steeper, leave only 10 to 20 metres between barrier strips.

Do not grow rice if the slope is very steep.

Do not grow rice if the slope is very steep


Cultivate 15 to 20 days after sowing, and again whenever fresh weeds have grown.


25. Why cultivations are needed.

Cultivating means removing weeds by hoeing.

Weeds prevent the rice from growing well:

- they take water out of the soil

- they take mineral salts out of the soil.

When you cultivate well the buds at the bottom of the main stem can develop and make new stems. This is called tillering.

For every grain you sow, you will get several stems and every stem makes a head or panicle of rice.

26. How to cultivate.

You can cultivate either with a hand hoe or with an animal- drawn cultivator. With an animal- drawn cultivator, the work is done more quickly and you can cultivate more often.


Whenever you see that weeds have grown, you must remove them.

Pull out the weeds that have grown between the rows. If any weeds grow in the rows, pull them out by hand. Remove the side teeth of the cultivator so that you can pass with it between the rows.

Rice sown on a well- prepared field, at the right time and In rows, and protected by frequent cultivations, will give a good harvest.

Using fertilizers

27. You are now ready for further progress.

If you use new tools and also apply fertilizers, you will be growing upland rice by very modern methods. You have seen how you can make good use of animal- drawn tools.

You can get a good harvest if you:

- till your field well

- sow well

- weed well

- cultivate a larger field,

You will find that you earn more money.

With the money earned from your crop, you can buy fertilizers

We shall now study how to use fertilizers so that you can earn a lot more money. If you use fertilizers, you keep the soil fertile or even make it more fertile.

Once you do that, you change from shifting cultivation to continuous cultivation.

Why apply manure or chemical fertilizers?

28. To get a good harvest

It you apply manure or chemical fertilizers to your rice field, the rice will tiller vigorously (see paragraph 25) and bear many grains: The yield will be good.

29. To keep the soil rich

Chemical fertilizers give back to the soil the mineral salts which the plants take out. Manure gives the soil organic matter. It makes humus and improves the soil structure.

To keep the soil rich

30. Chemical fertilizers and manure cost a lot of money.

They will not pay

- if you grow your crop on too steep a elope the mineral salts of the manure and fertilizers are washed away by water together with the soil.

- if you do not till the soil well because in badly prepared soil the roots cannot develop well.

- if you do not sow selected varieties because unimproved varieties use the manure and fertilizers less well.

- if you do not sow your seeds in rows and at the right time because plants sown too late will not yield so well.

- if you do not cultivate about 3 weeks after sowing and whenever new weeds grow because with fertilizers, the weeds grow better. If you do not remove them often, they may take a large part of the nourishment from the rice.

- if you do not rotate your crops correctly

After 8 rice crop, the soil will still have some of the mineral salts added by the manure and the chemical fertilizers. You must make the right choice of the crop you will grow on the same field after the rice. If possible, choose one that will use the mineral salts still in the soil.

The money earned from a good crop will easily pay for the fertilizers you need.

What fertilizers to use

31. Fertilizers are different.

- according to the crop rotation:

Plants do not all take the same quantity of each mineral salt out of the soil. Before sowing rice, you must therefore give back to the soil the mineral salts taken out by the preceding crop.

These mineral salts are contained in chemical fertilizers.

- according to regions:

The soils of different regions are often different; they do not contain the same quantity of each mineral salt.

For example, a soil very poor in nitrogen must be given a lot of nitrogen.

You can see that a soil is poor in nitrogen if the young leaves turn yellow.

Organic manure and chemical fertilizers

32. Organic manures are animal manure and green manure.

Organic manures improve the structure of the soil. Plants grow better in a soil of good structure, and the chemical fertilizers are used better.

Organic manuring should therefore be done at the beginning of the rotation, that is, before growing the first crop on a field.
For example

If in the first year after clearing the field you grow a crop of yams and the second year you grow rice, you must apply organic manure in the first year before you plant your yams.

33. Chemical fertilizers.

You know that the main chemical fertilizers are:

- Nitrogen (N)

- Phosphorus (P)

- Potassium (K)

Rice needs above all nitrogen.

The nitrogen fertilizer most often suitable for the soils of Africa is ammonium sulfate.

But rice also needs phosphorus and potassium. If the rice cannot take out of the soil enough phosphorus and potassium, the stems are not strong and so they bend down to the earth so that the grains cannot form and ripen well.

Ask advice from the extension services in your area. They will tell you how much fertilizer to apply to your rice field.

It is best to apply nitrogen, that is, ammonium sulfate, in three separate applications:

For example

It you have to give your field 100 kilogrammes of ammonium sulfate, apply:

- 40 kg before sowing,

- 30 kg after the first cultivation,

- 30 kg when you see the panicles are forming.

Be careful not to let ammonium sulfate, get onto the leaves; the fertilizer may burn them.

Phosphoric acid and potassium are applied before sowing.


You will get a better price for your rice crop

- If you cut your rice only when it is ripe

- If the rice is well dried and threshed

- If it has been well stored.

34. Cutting.

Cut the rice when it is ripe.

Wait until the heads are almost entirely yellow.

You can cut the rice more quickly with a sickle.

Cut the rice

35. Drying.
When you have cut the rice, make sheaves by binding a lot of stems together. There are two ways of drying sheaves well.

Wither: Stack the sheaves so that they lean against each other, standing upright with heads upward, and place one sheaf over the top of the heads, so as to protect the grains from the rain;

Or: Lean the sheaves against a stick supported by two poles.

Either way the rice can dry well.

Leave the rice to dry for three or four days before threshing.

Sheaves leaning against a stick supported by 2 poles

36. Threshing.

There are three ways of threshing well.

Wither: Put the rice on a hard piece of ground, very clean and without dust, or covered with mats, and beat the heads with a stick;

Or: Beat the rice against a large stone or a tree trunk;

Or Use a small thresher. You can join with a few other farmers and buy a small thresher together. In this way the work can be done better and more quickly.

Small rice thresher

37. Winnowing.

It is important that the rice grains should be very clean, and not mixed up with earth and little stones. When you have threshed your rice, winnow it to make it quite clean.

For winnowing, use a sieve or else pour the rice from one flat bowl into another.

The wind blows the dirt away

38. Storing.

Rice can be stored either in sacks or in a barn.

The sacks and the barn must be protected

- against damp, which makes the grains rot

- against rats and insects, which eat or spoil the grains.

The barn floor must not touch the ground. This will keep the rice dry.

The barns must be disinfected. Ask the local extension service what disinfectants to use and how to apply them: some disinfectants are poisonous.

Rice can be eaten by the family. Rice can also be sold, either on the market or to companies which resell it afterwards.

Rice is a crop which can pay well.

Better Farming Series 20 - Upland Rice (FAO - INADES


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2008, 04:13:26 PM »
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 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 oC and will remain between this temperature and about 50 oC 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 oC, 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 oC (Glossop, 1993).

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 then 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 thechocolate 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.

Further Information
Wood, Lass Pub. Longman 1989
Covers the areas of cultivation, pest & disease, and marketing
Small-scale Processing of Cocoa, Food Chain
Journal No23, ITDG, July 1998


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2008, 04:36:44 PM »
Ang gabi ay isa sa pinakamahalagang halamang-ugat sa ating bansa. Sa katunayan, ito’y pangatlo sa hanay ng mga halamang ugat na itinatanim dito sa bansa. Karaniwan itong itinatanim sa likod-bahay at kadalasan sa maliit na sukat ng lupa na hindi hihigit sa isang ektarya.

adyang mahalaga ang halos lahat ng bahagi ng gabi. Ang dahon at tangkay nito ay naiibigan ng karamihan bilang gulay samantalang ang ibang parte ay itinatanim upang mapagkunan ng tubers.ang gabi ay nagagawa ring arina, para sa paggawa ng sopas, biskwit, tinapay, sari-saring inumin at puding. Ito’y madaling matunaw kaya inirerekomendang sangkap sa pagkain ng mga sanngol. Ito rin ay magagamit na pagkain ng alagaing-hayop.

Uri ng Lupa at Klima

Ang gabi ay maitatanim sa anumang uri ng lupa, ngunit higit na maganda ang tubo nito sa lupang buhaghag at malalim na water level.
Ang klimang tropical ang pinaka-angkop sa pagtatanim ng gabi. Ito’y maaring itanim sa dalawang regular na pagtatanim: pamamanahon basa (tag-ulan mula Oktubre hanggang Nobyembre) at tuyo (tag-araw Abril hanggang Mayo).

Mga Uri ng Gabi

Maraming uri ng gabi ang itinatanim sa kapatagan o mataas na lupa o kati. Maaring itanim ang corms at cormel 0 ang buong laman rhizomebago tabunan ng lupa. Ang naiwang dahon, tangkay at laman ay iginugulay.

Ang iba’t ibang uri ng gabi sa kapatagan at sa kati ay ang sumusunod:

Kapatagan Mataas na Lupa/Kati
Princesa Trinidad
Quezon White Calamba
Bicol Purple Kinusol
Ilocos Purple Batek Kalpao
Viscaya Green Batek Ngatong
Balatika Sibulanon
Kalpao Dashee

Paghahanda ng Pananim

Ang pananim na gabi ay tinatawag na setts. Ito ay inihahanda mula sa suckers. Ito ay nagmumula sa isa hanggang dalawang sentimetro sa itaas na bahagi ng parent corm at unang 15-25 sentimetro ng tangkay.

Paghahanda sa Lupa

Araruhin at suyurin ang bukid ng tatlo hanggang apat ng ulit upang mabuwag at mapatag ang tingkal na lupa.
Ihanda ang tudling at tudnos para sa setts isang araw bago magtanim.


Sa kati o mataas na lupa, inirereklamo ang paggamit ng asarol sa itak sa paghukay ng taniman. Itanim ang setts sa butas na may lalim na 8-15 sentimetro.
Kailangang magkaroon ng sapat na tubig habang tumutubo ang gabi. lagyan ng alip-ip pagkatapos magtanim. Ito’y makaktulong upang mabawasan ang pagtubo ng damo at mapanatili ang halumigmig. Ang mga tuyong dahon, dayami, dahong ng niyog, at saging ay maaring gamiting alip-ip o “mulch”.

Paglilinang at paggagamas

Ang pagsugpo ng damo ay isang malaking suliranin sa kataasan kaysa sa kapatagan. Ang paglilinang ay isa sa paraan ng pagpigil sa pagtubo ng damo. Ang halinhinan o salitan na pagtatabon hilling up at pagbubungkal na palayo sa tudling off-baring ay isa sa pamamaraan upang masupil ang pagtubo ng tamo. Ang unang pagbubungkal at pagtatabon ay ginagawa tatlo hanggang apat na linggo pagkatapos magtanim.


Maganda ang tubo ng gabi kapag ina-abonohan ng Nitrogen. Tatlumpung kilo bawat ektarya ang kinakailangan sa pangkataasan at gayundin sa kapatagan.
Ang paggamit ng kompost ay mainam rin na pamamaraan. Ihalong mabuti sa lupa ang kompost habang inihahanda ang taniman.
Hayaang mabulok nang husto ang kompost, sa loob ng isa hanggang dalawang linggo bago magsimulang magtanim.

Pagkontrol sa Peste at Sakit

1.Iwasang magtanim ng gabi nang dikit-dikit lalo na sa malalim na lugar.
2.Ugaliin ang pag-iiba-iba ng tanim 0 crop rotation .
3.Alisin at Sunugin ang mga sirang dahon o ang mga dahon na apektado ng peste/sakit lalo simula pa lamang naa-apektuhan ng peste/sakit.
4.Gamitin sa pagtatanim ang mga matatambok na setts
5.Gamitin ang matibay na uri ng gabi sa pagtatanim.

# Para sa karagdagan kaalaman sa pag-sugpo sa mga kulisap at sakit na namiminsala sa gabi , sumangguni sa farm management technologist o sa taggapan ng Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) at Fertilizers andPesticides Authority (FPA) sa inyong lugar.


Ang gabi ay maari nang anihin kapag ang dahon ay naninilaw na. Ang gabing itinanim sa kataasan ay gumugulang mula 7-11 buwan matapos maitanim. Anihin ang gabi sa pamamagitan ng itak, asarol, at araro . ingatan na huwag masugatan ang laman o “tubers”. Alisin ang nakakapit na lupa at pinong ugat. Putulin ang dahon ng gabi at mag-iwan lamang ng dalawang sentimetro mula sa corms. Ihiwalay ang sugatang corms</> para hindi mahawa ang iba.


# Huwaghuhugasan ang gabi.
# ibukod ang laman o corms at piliin bago ilagay sa naaangkop na lalagyan.
# ilagay ang gabi sa kaing o gumawa ng hukay na malalim at ilagay ang inanidito. Kapag ito ay inimak sa hukay, ay tumatagal ng anim haggang sampung buwan luwag lamang itong mauulanan.

Philippine Department of Agriculture


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2008, 04:39:38 PM »

Ampalaya, amargoso or bitter gourd (Momordica Charantia Linn) is one of the most important commercial and backyard fruit vegetables in the country today. It has both nutritive and medicinal use. The fruit and leaves of which are used as vegetable and the latter are further used as a laxative for new born babies while the stem and roots as antidotes for fever. They are rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, carbohydrates and vitamin B. It is also known to cure diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, warts, and ulcer.

The commercial cultivation of the crop is concentrated to Region II and IV. Generally two types are being grown the Sta. Rita type, which is long, dark green and less warty and the Pinakbet type which is short and warty and much bitter in flavor.


 Maturity (DAP)*
Sta. Rita strains
Sta. Isabel
Jade star (A, L, XL)
 F1 hybrids
 F1 hybrids
Million Green
 F1 hybrids
 F1 hybrids

* Days after planting

Climatic and Soil Requirement

Ampalaya thrives well in all types of climates but high yield can be obtained during the cooler months because of more flower setting and bigger fruits. It grows in low elevation area anytime of the year. The crops grow well in any types of soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Higher yield however is attained on sandy loam soil. Soil analysis is a must for commercial planting.

Land Preparation

A good land preparation is very important in ampalaya culture. The field should be well prepared, plowed and harrowed twice to remove weeds and other plant debris in the field. Furrows are then made 3 meter apart. Organic fertilizer is applied at the rate of 5 tons per hectare during land preparation or a week before planting.

Plastic Mulching

An improved technology in the Philippines for ampalaya production is the use of plastic mulch to cover the beds. Planting holes are bored into the plastic sheet base on the planting distance. It offers number of advantage, its control weeds, preserve soil moisture, prevent soil erosion and leaching of fertilizers and reflect light, serving as repellant to insect which hide under the leaves.

To use the plastic mulch, stretch it over the planting beds, with edges held down by thin bamboo slats, staple well into the soil every 20 cm. Punch holes at 50 cm between plants in the row and 3 meters between rows.


Ampalaya can be direct seeded or transplanted. Direct seeding is most common, a hectare of production area requires 2.5 to 3.0 kilograms of seeds, Seeds are soak in water overnight or wrap in cheesecloth to facilitate water absorption. Seeds are planted the following day or as the radicle break. Transplanting can also be done specially when the seeds are scarce and during off-season planting. Seeds are planted in small plastic bags (1 seed/bag with soil mixture of 1:1 garden soil and sand/compost/carbonized rice hull) and transplanted to the field when the vine starts to grow. Pre- germinated seeds result in good seedling and an even crop establishment.

Time of Planting

Early planting in some areas is usually done during the months of October to December and the late planting are during the month of January to February.

Rate of Planting

The rate and distance of planting use by most farmers is three meters between furrows and 0.5 meters between hills with 3 seeds line at 4 inches apart. Other recommended spacing are: 30 m x 30 m with 1 plant/hill and 2.0 m x 0.5 m with 2 plants/hill.


Bitter gourd or ampalaya grows best with overhead (balag type) trellis about 6 ft high. A lining of bamboo poles with abaca twine as lateral supports is done three weeks after germination. Lateral support of bamboo poles are spaced three meters between furrows and two meters between hills and the side support is place after the bamboo poles are constructed. The horizontal support of abaca twine is place before the vine reaches the top with a 6-inch mesh.

Abaca twine is use as a lateral and horizontal support because it does not absorb too much heat however it is not reusable for the next cropping season.

For plantation, the use of big wooden posts (kakawate or ipil-ipil) are dug into the soil about 1.5 to 2 ft at the four corners of the field and the posts are interconnected with G.I. wire stronger enough as main frame. The side support is used to prevent breaking down of the trellis.

Vine Training and Pruning

Train the vines on the vertical trellis regularly by tying the vines to the trellis. Lateral shoot/vine may be pruned every 4-5 days, leaving only the main stem. Initial pruning should be done one month after planting or when lateral vines appeared. Remove all lateral vines from ground level up to the top of the trellis and all ineffective lateral vines above the trellis at 15 to 20 days interval.

Remove all female flowers below the overhead trellis. Allow branching and fruiting on the overhead trellis. Fruits may also be allowed to form just above the 10th node.

Water and Weeding Management

Ampalaya is a plant that requires an abundant supply of moisture for vegetative and reproductive development to maintain a good crop stand in the dry season. Furrow irrigation is done twice a week during vegetative stage and once a week during the reproductive stage or before each application of fertilizer. Weeding is done when need arises.


The use of organic fertilizer such as manure or compost about 5 to 10 tons per hectare with inorganic fertilizer is recommended. Apply basal fertilizer at about 25 grams/hill of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) or 5 bags per hectare. During dry season, sidedress 10-20 grams/hill of (urea 46-0-0) and muriate of potash (0-0-60) once a month. However during wet season, side dress 5-10 grams/hill of urea and muriate of potash every week.

Pests and Diseases Control

Powdery Mildew- It is cause by a fungus that appears as white powdery growth on leaves. Crown leaves are affected first and may wither and die. The fungus may be introduced on greenhouse grown plants or wind from areas infected with the diseases. Disease development is favor by high temperature.

Downy Mildew - A irregular shaped yellowish to brown spots appears on upper side of the leaves, usually at the center of plants. Under moist condition, a purplish mildew develops on the underside of the leaf spots. Leaves die as spots increase it size. Spread is rapid from the crown toward new growth. Moist condition favors the development of the disease.

Bacterial Wilt -The disease is characterized initially by wilting and drying of individual leaves, which also exhibit cucumber beetle injury. Later, leaves on one or more laterals or entire plants wilts. Wilted parts may appear to recover at night, but they wilt on successive sunny days and finally die.

Several kinds of leaf diseases attack the plant and can cause yield reduction. Most often, the old leaves are affected; spraying of Fungicide is a preventive measure. You can consult your local inputs dealer on how and what fungicide to use. However crop rotation, field sanitation, and the use of resistant varieties is also highly recommended.

Fruitfly - The fruitfly is one of the major insect pests of ampalaya. Adults lay it eggs on the young fruits. The eggs later hatch into small worms that starts feeding inside the fruits. Symptoms are deformed fruits, fruits with holes that turn orange or yellow prematurely. The insect can be control by removing all damage fruits from the field. Spray only after the removal of the damage fruits with insecticides recommended by your pesticide dealer. Wrapping young fruits with newspaper or plastic bags prevent the fruit fly from laying eggs on the fruits. Wrapping reduce the use of pesticides.

Thrips - it is a very small crawling insect on that stays on the lower side of the leaves. It is recommended to spray during nighttime 2 t0 3 consecutive nights if infestation is severed. This was found to be very effective time to spray. The pest hides during daytime and cannot be control using contact insecticides. Neighboring plantation should also be sprayed at the same time. Consult your input dealer on what pesticides to use in controlling this pest.


Harvest when the fruits are green. Harvesting starts 45 to 50 days after seedling. It can be done twice a week. Harvest early in the morning to protect harvested fruits against rain, sun, and mechanical damage. Sort fruits according to marketable standards, and remove damage fruits. Pack in plastic or bamboo crates line with newspaper or bamboo leaves. Fruits can be stored for 2-3 days under this condition.

Cost and Return Analysis Per Hectare

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 Amount/Unit (P)
 Total Amount (P)
Land preparation
A. Labor cost (200/MD)
Harrowing (2x)
Manure application
Fertilizer application
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Vine training/pruning
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B. Materials
Animal manure
 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
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 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
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Bamboo post 2 uses
GI wire 4 uses
Abaca twine
 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
Fuel and oil
 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
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 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
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II. Fixed Cost
Land rentals
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Scythe (2 yrs)
Hoe (3 yrs)
Knapsack sprayer (5 yrs)
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 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
Total Cost
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Marketable yield of 10 to 15 tons hectare at P15 per kilogram
Gross Income at 15 tons/hectare
Total Cost of Production
Net Income

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Ampalaya Growing Guide, Agriculture Monthly Magazine. April 2001
Ampalaya Production Guide, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forest and Natural Resources. Department of Science and Technology. Information Bulletin No. 156 / 2000
Estimated Cost and Return of Production of Fresh Vegetable for 2001. Bureau of Plant Industry. Crop Production division.
M.E.C. Reyes. B.H. Gildemacher and G.J Jansen. PROSEA Vegetables. Plant Resources of Southeast Asia. Siemonsma J.S. and Kasem Piluek (Editors) Bogor Indonesia. 1994. pp 206-210
TECSON, AMELITA B., D.C. Reyes and R.T. Donato. 1994. The effect of Pruning on the Production of Marketable Fruits of Ampalaya and Upo. The Philippine Journal of Plant Industry. Vol. 59., No. 3. Bureau of Plant Industry, Manila. pp 29-36


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Re: Crops and Vegetables Planting Guide:
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2008, 04:51:43 PM »
A Sip of Excellence

“Coffee is the source of happiness and wit,” said King Louis XIV who after experiencing coffee’s excellent taste and distinctive aroma began to recognize the value of it.

A sip of coffee reminisces significant events which shaped many a nation’s history. It has chronicled historical records that date back to as far as 1200 A.D. when coffee became a very important crop in the economy of many nations.

In the Philippines, the coffee industry began in 1740 during the Spanish regime. It is considered one of the high-value crops in the local and foreign markets. Coffee is among the top ten agricultural crops in terms of value.

Coffee registered a total production of 123,934 metric tons valued at P6,818.84 million in 1995. Today, we are exporting to ICO and non-ICO member countries which include Japan, Singapore, West Germany, Netherlands, Malaysia, Muscat Oman, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and U.S.A. These countries alone account for 97 percent of the total Philippine coffee export.


Coffee trees require a rich, moist loose, well-drained soil best composed of organic matter, decomposed mold, and disintegrated volcanic rock; a well-distributed rainfall of about 40 to 70 inches annually with peak wet season’ high humidity; seven hours of sunshine daily; and plenty of mist and moderate winds.

Coffee trees vary greatly in sizes from dwarf trees to thick-trunked forest giants twenty feet or more in tropic. Generally they are restricted to areas with a medium average annual temperature of 70oF, not lower than 55oF and much above 80oF.



Arabica is characterized by wavy leaf margin, light green leaf color, thin leaves, pulp and parchment, known as ” kapeng tagalog.” Yields 500-1,000 kg of clean dry coffee beans per hectare. It could be grown productively in cooler places with an elevation ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level.

Robusta is characterized by large umbrella shaped growth with thinner leaves which have more wavy margins. The berries are borne in heavy cluster with the pulp and parchment. Yields 1,200 kg of clean dry coffee beans per hectare. It could be grown in areas with an elevation ranging from 600 to 1,200 meters above sea level.

Excelsa has wide leaves that are thicker than Robusta but thinner and smoother and more rounded than Liberica with smooth edge. Young leaves are usually shiny with bronze violet color. The berries are borne in heavy cluster, varying in size and usually bigger than Arabica but smaller than Liberica. Pulp and parchment are thicker than the Leberica. Yields 1,000 kg of clean dry coffee bean per hectare. It could be grown from sea level to 600 meters above sea level.

Liberica is locally known as “kapeng barako” because it produces the biggest berry. It is rounded and are borne signly or in small clusters. Has thicker leaves than Excelsa and twice as long as Arabica. The pulp is thick and the parchment is more woody. It also characterized a very strong pharmocopical taste and flavor. It is tolerant to drought and grows in a wider type of soil. Yields 1,000 kg. Of clan dry coffee beans per hectare.


Seed Preparation

* Coffee is grown from seeds;
* Gather seeds from disease and pest-free, high yielding trees;
* Grow coffee plants in the nursery to produce better seedlings. They nursery be located in the plantation or nearby and accessible to water supply;
* Three-fourth kg (i.e. 750 gm) of quality seeds is enough to plant a hectare;
* A 50% allowance of seeds must be considered for ungerminated seeds, poor seedlings and for replanting;
* Select viable seeds, stir berries in a bucket of water and remove floaters. Those that sink are the good ones;
* Remove pulp by hand or pulping machine, then soak beans in water for 24 hours to hasten the removal of mucilage;

* Wash beans and discard floaters. Air dry in well-ventilated room for least 4 days;
* Keep dried parchment in cool dry place or mix with charcoal to preserve its viability;
* Germination bed must be 1 meter wide and of convenient length. To avoid flooding, raise bed 15 cm from ground level;

* A 1 x 20 m plot can accommodate one ganta of seeds;
* Sow seeds on shallow rows at ¾ inch deep and cover with fine soil;
* Water the seedbed regularly but not too wet and partially shade plants from sunlight;

* This out and prick seedlings (transplant to another seedbed/plastic bags) or when 2-3 pairs of leaves have developed.

Vegetable Propagation

* Coffee can also be propagated asexually;
* Clone is used for coffee propagation. It is a part of a plant that is made to reproduce an offspring which carries all the qualities of its parents.
* Split lengthwise into two halves of a fingersized vertical shoot of about one foot long with 4-6 nodes to produce a clone. Partially cut leaves before splitting;
* Set modal cutting in germination box 1×2 inches apart and 1 inch deep, then place boxes in germination chamber. Nodal cuttings will produce roots and shoots within 45 days;
* Prick seedlings into individual plastic bags with soil.
Full-grown seedling with 4-6 pairs of leaves could be attained within 6-8 months;
* Coffee plants raised from nodal cuttings bear fruits 18 months after transplanting, earlier than plants grown from seeds.

Establishment of Plantation

Intensive clearing is necessary for newly opened areas (forest area). Plow and harrow twice open field to check weed growth. Mark places where holes are to be dug. Recommended spacing are as follows:

Variety: ARABICA
Distance in Meters
3 x 1 to 3 x 2 m
2 x 2 x 2 x 3 m double row

Variety: ROBUSTA
Distance in Meters
3 x 1.5 to 3 x 3m
2 x 2 x 2 x 4m double row

Variety: Liberica & Excelsa
Distance in Meters
4 x 5 to 5 x 5.5m


Coffee seedlings are ready for transplant when 6 pairs of leaves have been fully developed and with no lateral branches yet. Dig holes and transplant in the field at the start of the rainy season. This will give sufficient time for young plants to establish roots before dry season sets in. Dig hole wide and deep enough to accommodate ball of earth with roots intact. Return topsoil in the hole, then add tablespoons phosporous fertilizer, and mix thoroughly.


The general recommendation for non-bearing trees in the absence of soil and tissue analysis, is an equal amount of NPK and ammonium sulfate or urea from 250-300 grams per tree per year; and for bearing trees (7 years and above) 1 kilo of 14-14 per tree per year plus ures sidedressed at the rate of 300 grams per tree per year.

Non-bearing trees (1-3 years old) make shallow canal furrow 5 cm deep around the plant; place recommended fertilizer in continuous band and cover with soil.

Bearing trees (7 years old)-localized placement is recommended for sloping land. Apply fertilizer in holes or trenches made around trees between outside of the crown and onehalf meter from the base. Broadcast fertilizer 0.5m for level land.


Removal of unnecessary branches (excess, old and dead branches) and undesirable sprouts. Pruning regulates the height of the plants, facilitates harvesting and other field operations, promotes better aeration and light penetration. This is best done before general flowering or after harvest.

Common Pests and Control

Coffee Berry Borer most destructive and hardest to control. Attacks all stages of fruit after berries become mungo-size. Infested young berries turn from normal green color to yellow orange and shortly afterwards, fruit falls prematurely. Presence of empty or partially filled fruits underneath tree is a sure sign of infestation.

Coffee Leaf folder larvae feed on leaves and sometime attack flowers and fruits. Adult is a small moth with light brown forewings. The eggs are laid in clusters on leaves. Development period is 5-6 weeks.

Control: Collect and destroy infested berries before and after harvest. Pick up all berries, including those that fall on the ground, to eliminate breeding and feeding sites of insects. Spray Endosulfan at recommended rates at 14 to 21 days interval or 4 to 5 times spraying during fruiting season. The first spraying should be done when the berries attain the size of a mungbean seed.

Common Diseases and Control

Coffee Rust the most prevalent and destructive disease of coffee, Small, yellowish spots appear on lower surface of leaves; as spots enlarge, powdery yellow to orange spores are produced. Affected leaves drop and tree may die. To prevent, use resistant strains, spray susceptible varieties with copper fungicides at 2-3 week intervals at start of heavy rains.

Die-Back is characterized by drying of branches and twigs from to and downwards. Appearance of spots with concentric lines on both surfaces of seedlings, twigs, and berries. If severe affected, leaves fall, twig and branches dry. To control, maintain vigor of trees by fertilizing with the right kind and amount of nutrients at proper time; regulate plant growth to prevent overbearing by pruning and/or shade.


Maturity of berries is 6 to 8 months after blooming but varies on the environmental factors from region to region. In Mindanao, Arabica flower in January to May and berries are harvested in August to December. In Luzon, coffee trees bloom just after the first heavy rains in May and June, Arabica and Robusta berries are harvested in late December to March; Excelsa and Liberica later.

Individually pick berries (i.e priming) to avoid presence of pedicels. For quality beans, harvest only matured berries (i.e. berries turn red from its ground color.)

Philippine Department of Agriculture


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