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Vegetable Crops Program


Vegetative Propagation of Tomato Hybrids

Growing hybrid tomato through seed is very much expensive due to high prices of the hybrid seeds (Rs. 5-6/seed) which a poor farmer can’t afford for each crop. For off-season crop of tomato, indeterminate hybrids are used which require regular pruning of lateral shoots for single stem maintenance. Efforts were made to explore a suitable technique to utilize pruned lateral shoots for true to type plant propagation. Vegetative propagation through lateral cuttings is often faster, easier and cheaper than that of crop raised from seed, as it takes 5 to 6 weeks to grow a tomato seedling of transplanting size. The use of the pruned lateral shoots for root development in tomato cuttings will minimize the cost incurred on the purchase of hybrid seeds every time and to get one or two extra crops through cuttings.

Procedure for vegetative propagation

• Take lateral shoots of 5-6 cm length from plants

• Mix soil and well decomposed FYM in equal ratio.

• Fill the polythene tubes (size 3″ × 4″) or multi-pot trays with the mixture.

• Transplant the lateral shoots in the tubes/multi-pots and keep the plants moist following irrigation at appropriate interval.

• Seedling will be ready for transplantation after 30 days.

Early production of Cucurbits through seedlings

Mostly the farmers grow cucurbits: vegetable marrow, bitter gourd, cucumber, muskmelon, long melon, water melon, bottle gourd and sponge gourd in the normal growing season (mid February to mid March) by sowing the seeds direct in the field with the result that when these are harvested, there is glut in the markets and the growers even could not recover the cost of production. Whereas the prices of the early season cucurbits are always two to three times higher than their normal season. Early crop by 20-25 days can fetch better price than the normal.


Media filling in Polyethylene tubes

40-60 days seedlings

A method has been developed to raise early seedlings using polyethylene bags with the benefit that plants can be easily transplanted in the field without damaging the root system. It was found that 40-60 days old cucurbit seedlings produced early crop (23-36 days) with significantly higher yields (60-90%) as compared to direct sowing. Nursery of cucurbit crops can be raised in polythene bags under very simple and low cost protected structures like walk-in tunnels. Seedlings of cucurbits are raised in the last week of December up to mid of January and 40-60 days old seedlings are transplanted in the open field from mid February to first week of March. The technology is very effective for producing early crops.

Procedure for raising early nursery

• Select suitable size (3″ × 4″) of polythene tubes

• For proper drainage make six holes in the bottom of each tube.

• Mix soil and well decomposed FYM in ratio of 1:1 and fill the tubes with the media.

• Sow the seeds of cucurbits in the filled tubes.

• Seeds should be sown in tubes not more than twice of seed length.

• Irrigate the tubes regularly.

• Transplant 40-60 days old seedlings in the field along with earthen ball.

Off-Season Vegetable production under Plastic Tunnel
Protected vegetable production is popular in several countries as it enables to grow vegetables during such weather when it is not otherwise possible under field conditions. This coupled with enhanced crop yield of high quality produce allows the grower to invest in this business and earn handsome profit. Surplus production from such ventures could be exported to potential markets in the neighbouring countries. The technologies of Tomato and Cucumber production under plastic tunnel were developed. Under a PSDP project demonstration of these technologies were done by the installation of low cost tunnel structures at Farm level throughout Pakistan with the help of Cooperative units. Training courses were organized for the dissemination of these technologies.

• The recommended time for Tomato nursery raising is September.

• Transplanting time is in October.

• Fruiting starts in February and continues till May.

• Two cucumber crops i.e. autumn crop is transplanted in October which gives fruiting from November to February and spring crop is transplanted in February which gives fruiting from March to May.

• A net profit of 1,20,000 per acre from cucumber and Rs. 1,00,000 per acre from tomato crop could be obtained.

Tomato Crop under Plastic Tunnel Cucumber Crop under Plastic Tunnel

Off-Season production of onion through sets

Onion (Allium cepa L) is grown throughout Pakistan in varying volumes and with different growing seasons. The traditional method of planting onion for off-season/autumn crop is through nursery raising which starts from first week of July. It is difficult to manage nursery seedlings of autumn crop because of high temperature and monsoon rains. Sometimes, the heavy rains cause severe damage to nursery seedlings. This difficulty can be overcome through direct planting of onion sets which are small bulbs thus eliminating the step of nursery raising which is not only time consuming but laborious as well. Therefore, studies were undertaken to find out suitable cultivar and its appropriate set size for autumn season cultivation of onion.

Technology Development, Demonstration and Recommendation

During 199-2005 work on off-season/ autumn crop of onion production through sets was conducted at NARC. Phulkara variety of onion was found most suitable for autumn season cultivation. Set size in the range of 17-21 mm diameter produced the highest marketable bulb yield of onion. The marketable bulb yield obtained from set size was 10-15 % higher than that produced from nursery seedlings. The technology of autumn season production of onion through sets was developed. The onion sets along with technical know how was provided to progressive growers of Talagang, Chakwal, Islamabad and Rawalpindi areas and they were able to raise the crop successfully. Training courses and TV programmes were also organized for dissemination of this technology.


The recommended time for planting autumn season crop of onion is from mid August to 1st week of September. The crop is ready for harvest in December. Care should be taken not to use larger sets than the

Storage on onion sets in net Onion sets-alternative of seedlings


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