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Germination of Seed
Seedlings from seeds: The seeds are separated in 3 lots of of A, B, and C class. Class A seeds are good quality seeds, used for germination. These are Black in color, having good shine and are heavier than water. These sink in water. A good seed is one which gives out oil if kernel is pressed by nail. Cracked, scratched or infected seed should not be used for germination. 6 to 7.5 kgs of seeds (with tough black cover) are enough for plantation in one hectare of land.
Germination Test: The bowl is covered with some layers of paper tissue (paper towel). This is soaked with excess water and the seeds are placed on it, so they lie about 1 mm in water. The bowl is covered with a lid, so the air in the bowl keeps very humid. The seeds start germinating after 3 to 5 days, depending on the temperature. Flat bowl with soaked paper is used for germination test. A 6 day old Jatropha germ has a number of root branches.
Good quality, golden yellow, large and heavy fruits should be collected from wildly growing 6 to 8 year old forest trees. Fruit collection should be done during natural harvesting period. These should be dried in shade for 3 to 4 days, after de-pulping. Class A seeds are then separated from rest and used for germination. It should then be soaked for 2 days in water with equal amount of Cow Dung in it. After root formation, these are planted in a line, in soil in a nursery, or in plastic bags.
Seedlings in Plastic Bags: Good quality seeds are treated as described earlier and planted in black plastic bags having size of 300 mm diameter by 300 mm high. A good soil mix is prepared by mixing 5 kgs of compost, 5 kg of filtered sand in a mixer used to prepare concrete. Some insecticide and weedicide is then sprayed on it. While filling the bags, top 20 to 30 mm is not filled. That portion is folded, which gives a good strength to the bag, and bags do not tear in transportation. The gap at the top, helps in watering the seedling. Keep the soil mixture wet and insert 1 seed 50 to 60 mm deep with root portion facing up. These bags are then kept in shade for the seed to germinate. After the sapling is 3 months old, the bag is put in the pit in the plantation. This avoids labour required for mixing fertilizer with soil in the field (It is observed that mixing is not done properly in the field).
Seedlings in Fertile Soil: Seedlings can be produced directly in fertile soil too. To do this rectangular patches of land are prepared. The soil in this case is made porous and then cow dung is spread on it. Some pesticide is sprinkled on it. Germinated seed is then put in 60 mm deep, 100 mm apart. The white patch on seed should face upwards. The soil should be kept wet all the time by watering it after few hours. 1 to 3 month old Seedlings are then removed from soil, without damaging the roots and replanted in plantation.
Seedlings from Branches: If the Jatropha plant is fully matured, branches of these plants can be used for production of Seedlings. 100 mm to 200 mm long branches can be used for creating Seedlings. The leaves and side branches are removed and kept ready for chemical treatment. Though this method looks simple, a lot of care is required to be taken. A sharp knife should be used in cutting. The cut should be straight and the branch should not get damaged. Its bark and inner structure should be intact. A number of branches should be cut, in one stroke. Once cut these should be dipped in Bavistin solution and then used for planting. To increase its survival rate, the branch is soaked in 50 ppm Naphthanic Acetic Acid. Roots are formed quite easily, by just putting it in soil. If these are grown in mist chambers, 90% branches develop good quantity of roots, and mortality rate is nil. Medium for Seedlings Cultivation of seedling can be performed in plastic bag or on seedbed. Each plastic bag is filled with soil as a medium and mixed with manure. A mixture of husk ash, coconut husk powder and complex fertilizer can also be used as a medium.
Shed for Seedlings: The seedbed is given shelter or roof made of coconut leaves, straw, plastic sheet or net. Cultivation of seedling lasts for 2-3 months. Activities done during cultivation are watering, weeding and selection. Watering is carried out twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. Weeding is performed when the plant is 45 days of age. Weeding is done by eradicating all weeds in and around the plastic bag manually. Herbicides can also be used as pre-emergence treatment.
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