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Gerbera cultivation

in polyhouse
definite commercial status in recent times and during the past 2-3 decades particularly. Appreciation of the potential of commercial floriculture has resulted in the blossoming of this field into a viable agri-business option. Availability of natural resources like diverse agro-climatic conditions permit production of a wide range of temperate and tropical flowers, almost all through the year in some part of the country or other. Improved communication facilities have increased their availability in every part of the country. The commercial activity of production and marketing of floriculture products is also a source of gainful and quality employment to scores of people.

ith changing life styles and increased urban affluence, floriculture has assumed a

Cultivation practices of gerbera

Soil/media Optimum soil pH should be between 5.5 and 6.5 to get maximum efficiency in absorption of nutrients.

Bed preparation

The salinity level of soil should not be more than 2 m/m. The soil should be

highly porous and well drained to have better root growth and better penetration of roots.

Bed preparation In general, gerberas are grown on raised of size 2 ft. width, 1.5 ft. height and desirable length beds to assist in easier movement and better drainage. Pathways of 1 ft. in maintained after every bed. The beds for planting should be highly porous, well drained and airy. Organic manure is recommended to improve soil texture and to provide nutrition gradually. The material used for bed preparation is as under: Soil FYM Rice husk Sand 35 brass 80 brass 10 brass 4 brass

Add single super phosphate (0:20:0) @ 2.5 kg per 100 sq.ft. for better root establishment and MgS04 @ 0.5 kg per 100 sq.ft. to take care of deficiency of Mg.

Disinfection of soil Before plantation of

Gerbera plants, disinfection of soil is absolutely necessary for getting rid of the fungus Phytophthora which is a menace to gerbera culture. It is done by i) Covering the soil

with plastic for 6-8 weeks ii) Chemical - Using methyl bromide @ 7.5 - 16 lit. per 100 sq.m. or by formalin 450 ml per sq.m. and covering with plastic for two weeks. After sterilizing and subsequent washing out of the soil, it is advised to wait for 2 weeks before plantation.

Polyhouse structure

Planting of gerbera

Height of the polyhouse - 3.5 4m i.e. 11-13 feet; sufficient ventilation

space is required on top and sides; approximately 400 w/m2 light intensity is required on the plant level and is provided with 50-70 per cent shade net; the ideal temperature for gerbera flower initiation is 23C and for leaf unfolding is 25- 27C; the optimum humidity should be 80-85 per cent, which will maintain the health of the plants.

Planting While planting gerbera plants, the crowns of plants should be 1-2 cm above soil level. Plant the seedlings without distributing the root-ball. Generally, two rows should be planted on one bed at 37.5 cm distance between the rows and 30 cm distance between the plants in one row

i) Water quality should be as follows: a) PH: 6.5-7.0 b) EC-0.5- 1 ms/cm. ii) Immediately after

plantation, irrigate the plant with overhead micro-

sprinklers for four weeks to enable uniform root development.

Planted Gerbera

iii) The water requirement of gerbera plant can be approximately 700 m/lit. per plant per day. In hot summer foggers can be utilized to maintain the humidity of the air. iv) Unit the first flowers are

produced, irrigation can be done with overhead micro-sprinklers. is through

Thereafter drippers.

irrigation

v) The relative humidity of air

Cutting of damage leaves


as it will lead to deformity of flowers.

should not exceed 90-92 per cent,

Fertigation . i) After plantation, apply N:P:K 20:20:20 @ 1.5 gms/lit. every 2 days for first three months during the vegetative phase to have better foliage, ii) Once flowering commences, start N:P:K 15:8:35 @ 1.5 gms/lit. for more flowers and better flower quality on day-to-day basis. iii) Micronutrients should be given weekly or fortnightly as per the deficiency symptoms.

Intercultural operations Leaf servicing and loosening of soil were performed to maintain the health of plants.

Plant protection

Spraying

Spraying of pesticide or fungicide as and when required.

Harvesting i) Gerbera is a 30 months crop. The first flowers are produced 7-8 weeks after plantation. The average yield is 200 flowers per sq.meter (6-7 plants). ii) The flowers are harvested when 2-3

Harvesting of cut flower


when temperature is low. iv) Cut the heel of the stem by giving an angular cut. v) Immediately put the flowers in water after harvesting for four hours.

whorls of stamens have entirely been developed.

iii) Pluck the flowers in the morning or late in the evening or during the day

Packaging and marketing After harvesting, flowers were

Packing and wrapping of gerbera with polythene bag

sorted according to stem length, size of bud into different grades and colour of flowers. Each flower is covered with plastic bag so that there should be damage to stamens, to avoid the damage to" stem during transportation flowers are packed into 10 flowers per bunch and tied by rubber band and packed in CFB boxes. Packing is done separately for different grades.

Transportation After grading and packing flower were sent to different markets by bus, tempo, trains etc. The care, loading charges and packing charges are borne by the producer.

Method of sale All gerbera flower growers can sale sold their majority of produce directly to commission agents cum flower

wholesalers at nearest markets. Some of the farmers sold their produce to local market, but quantity disposed by them was comparatively very low. CFB boxes used for distance

Dr. J.M. Talathi Professor Department of Agricultural Economics College of Agriculture, Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth Dapoli 415 712, Dist. Ratnagiri (M.S.)