Tinda Cultivation Guide

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About the Crop

###Crop Name
Tinda

###Common names
Indian Round Gourd or Apple Gourd or Indian Baby Pumpkin

###Scientific Name
Benincasa fistulosa

###Name in Indian languages
Tinda (Punjabi), Tindsi (Rajasthan), Dhemase (Marathi), Meha (Sindhi)

###Origin, Distribution and Uses
Tinda, which is also called Apple Gourd or Indian squash is a cucurbit with diameter of approximately 5–8 cm, appears spherical in shape and green in colour. It is a native of India, which is mainly cooked as vegetable in northern part of the country specially in states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. It is also used widely in Pakistan and many other South Asian Countries. It is basically a summer vegetable. It is widely used as vegetable due to its various use as health benefactor. It gives cooling effect to our body, is a rich source of Vitamin A and also has medicinal value as it is used for dry cough and for increasing blood circulation. The seeds of tinda can be roasted and used for consumption purpose. Tinda can also be used as fodder. In countries like Ghana and Kenya are generally cultivated in order to transport them to United Kingdom, also grown in United States in small scale.

Area, Production and Productivity

Tinda is grown in very few countries and thus consumes very less area. It is primarily grown in India for various purposes. In Africa, it is generally cultivated for home purpose and thus grown in very small plots, enough for a family. As of now the total area under production as well as total production amount is not available in statistical basis. However in Africa, only 50 ha per year of land is approximately utilised for tinda Cultivation. In Pakistan and India both, approximately 75% of tinda production comes solely from the state of Punjab.

##Cultivation Requirements
###Climate
Tinda requires very optimal and balance climatic condition for its cultivation and growth. It is mainly cultivated in lowlands, from sea level up to approximately 1000 m altitude. It is more a summer loving crop and thus doesn’t grow that well in cooler and humid areas. It grows fine at 25 to 30°C during daytime and at 18°C during nights. It is cultivated between February to April during dry seasons and can also be grown in rainy season in the months of June to July.

###Soil
Tinda grows in soils which are light or sandy and the roots are able to penetrate properly in the sand. In order for early vegetative cover, moderately fertile to completely fertile soil is required. For the tinda to grow properly, sandy loamy soil rich in organic matter is the best. The soil should have a good drainage system and also the best pH range for tinda growth is 6.5 to 7.5.

##Varieties

1. Punjab tinda

It is developed in PAU, Ludhiana and is a medium sized fruit with shining appearance. The flesh is white in colour and seeds are less in number. It generally produces 8 to 10 fruits and can produce a yield of 4.5 tonnes per hectare in 2 months.

2. Arka tinda

It was developed by Indian Institute of Horticulture Research, Bangalore. It is an early variety and the vegetable is round in shape, skin is light green in colour and there are soft hairs present at the time of harvest. After pollination, the fruits can be harvested in 5 days.

3. Anamalai tinda

This tinda variety was developed in the Southern belt of the country and it has light green and comparatively smaller vegetable.

4. Mahyco tinda

This variety of tinda was developed by a private seed company in Jalna, India.

5. Swati

It is a F1 Hybrid tinda variety, which has vine length og 175 to 225 cm and has strong growth. The fruits can be harvested after almost 2 months of sowing and it is dark green in colour.

Crop Management

###Field Preparation
The field needs to be appropriately ploughed before cultivating tinda for its proper growth. The field needs to be ploughed till fine tilth and long channels needs to be formed which are 1.5cm apart. It is very important to ensure that the land is free of any voluntary plants. It is important to plough or harrow the land in order to rid the land from unwanted weeds and also enables to conserve rainwater.

###Propagation
Seeds are generally sown in the month of January to February.

##Sowing, Nursery and Transplanting
After the soil has been efficiently prepared through ploughing, ridging or harrowing, the seeds can be directly sown on the flat land or ridges. For cultivation of tinda, hills or ridges are formed and 3 or 4 seeds are sown per hill at depth of 2-3 cm and an appropriate spacing should be ensured. In case of hill planting soil is formed in to a 1" diameter mound which is 3 to 4 inch tall. Other way to cultivate tinda is through row planting where seeds are planted in a row at appropriate spacing. After the seedlings are formed,1 or 2 seedlings per hill can be planted and it generally takes 3 to 4 weeks for the seeds to form seedlings.

###Seed Rate
Seed rate is the basically the quantity of seeds required to sow a particular area acre or hectare and it depends on many different factors like seed viability, soil conditions etc. In case of tinda cultivation, seed rate is an average of 500 to 700 g of seeds per acre.

###Seed Treatment and Sowing
Seed treatment with biofungicides Trichoderma Viride 4g/kg or Pseudomonas fluroscens 10g/kg or fungicides like Carbendazim 2 g/kg or Thiram 2.5g/kg before sowing help get better productivity with minimal damage.

###Spacing
Beds are formed of width 1.5 m and the seeds are placed on both sides of the bed and the spacing between them is 45 cm. In order to ensure proper germination, the seeds can be soaked in water and it is advisable to sow two seeds at one spot. In case if the seeds are planted in row, an approximate spacing of 120 to 180 cm should be maintained between them.

###Cropping Patterns
Tinda is a summer crop which can efficiently grow alone. Apart from growing alone it can also be grown as mixed cropping with arid legumes like cluster bean, moth bean, cowpea and bajra. During good rainfall, the tinda cultivation gives a good yield.

###Water Management
It is important to provide optimum water conditions during tinda cultivation and thus controlled irrigation is required for proper germination and maturation until proper fruits are produced. Although very limited irrigation is required for very this crop but irrigation at intervals in important. The furrows are pre-irrigated and the seeds are sown on the top of the furrows and the furrows are irrigated subsequently on second or third day of sowing. Irrigation should be done according to the season as water requirement varies season to season. During summers, irrigation can be done after 4 to 5 days and during monsoon, irrigation depends on rainfall amount. Generally, for better productivity of the vegetable, light irrigation should be done immediately sowing of the seeds, which can be followed by 9 to 10 irrigations at interval of 8 to 10 days. Various methods for irrigation like sprinkler, bubblers and drip can be used for proper watering. Drip irrigation is very important for arid regions and also ensures water saving.

###Nutrient Management
Proper nutrition to the crop is essential for the plants to grow properly and give a good yield. Nutrients can be generally added in the form of organic manure and chemical fertilizers. Organic manure is made from natural materials and improves the soil texture and provide nutrients to the soil. Chemical fertilizers are used as nutrient release by organic manure is less and takes time.

  • Proper growth can be facilitated by addition of 50 to 60 kg/ha of nitrogen which helps in stimulation of early growth. We can apply one third of nitrogen along with full dose of phosphorus and potassium , while sowing the seeds. The rest of the nitrogen can be applied during early growth period.
  • In order to improve seed germination and proper growth, 30 to 60 kg/ha of phosphorus and 40 to 60 kg/ha of potassium is used
  • 10 t/ha of FYM can be applied for proper nutrient content after sowing.
  • Before the last ploughing, certain biofertilizers should be applied so that the soil get proper nutrient for content growth as they have the tendency to mobilise nutrients and are also able to fix nitrogen. Azospirillum, which can fix nitrogen and Phosphobacter, which can solubilise insoluble phosphorus at 2kg/ha and Pseudomonas at 2.5 kg/ha along with 50 kg of FYM and 100 kg of neem cake can be applied to prevent disease manifestation and proper growth.
  • Plant growth regulators also have a role on tinda cultivation. Gibberellins can be used to increase flower and vegetable size as it stimulates cell division and elongation. Ethylene generators can be used for ripening of vegetable.

###Weed Management
Weeds reduce growth, quality and yield of the plants and also since they invite more insects, rodents and disease, chance of the crop to be infected is more. Mulches both organic and inorganic can be used to check weeds, where organic mulches decompose in the soil naturally and inorganic mulches needs to be removed timely after proper moisture retention and soil warming. Weeds can also be checked by removing through mechanical methods like manual removal or removal by several small tools. Certain chemicals like Trifluralin, 2,4-D, Paraquat etc. can be used to control growth of weeds.

###Pests and Management
Since tinda is cultivated in arid regions and is a summer crop, it has fair chances of infestation by various pests.

  • Red Pumpkin Beetle (Aulocophora faveicollis)
    It causes huge loss to the crop and infects at early stage when it is in cotyledon to one or two leaf stage. It can controlled by spraying dimethoate at 1ml/litre of water or can also be prevented by spray of 2g/L of water of Sevin. The beetles can also be controlled by spraying Malathion 50 EC 1ml/lit at weekly interval.

  • Epilachna beetle (Epilachna varivestis)
    This pest deposits yellow coloured egg on the leaf blade. The adults and the mites infest epidermis of the leaves and also damage the fruit. In order to control this pest, Triclorfon 500g/1 SL at concentration of 30 to 40 ml/10L is sprinkled on leaves when damage is detected. It can also be controlled by spraying Dimethoate at 1ml/litre of water or Sevin at 2g/L of water.

  • Fruit fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae)
    The infection varies with population of flies and thus the fly population depends on season in return. During hot day conditions, the fly population is low and is high during rainy season. It inserts its egg 2 to 4 mm deep when the vegetable is in flowering stage leading the young fruit fly to grow inside the vegetable which eats the fleshy part causing premature rotting of the vegetable. There are various ways by which we can control them. The infected fruits needs to be destroyed and pupae needs to be exposed through ploughing. They can be controlled by using fish meal trap which includes 5 g of wet fish meal along with 1 g of Dichlorvos in cotton that traps the flies and kills them, and this needs to be used in a polythene to cover the fruit. The fish meal needs to be renewed in 20 days and Dichlorvos cotton needs to be renewed in every 7 days. On spraying neem oil at 3.0% rate on the crop it can be effectively curbed.

  • White fly (Bemisia tabaci)
    They suck sap and spread various viruses like leaf rolling virus and mosaic virus in the vegetables. It can be controlled by proper weeding. Various kinds of chemicals like Beaupropencine 10% GR at 5 g/10L or Dimethoate 400 g/1EC at 20 to 25 ml/10L or Phenthoate 500 g/1EC at concentration of 20 – 25 ml/10L of water can be used for its effective control. Infestation by this pest is low in morning and thus it can be effectively controlled when pesticide is applied in morning hours. It can also be controlled by spraying 5% Neem seed kernal extract.

###Diseases and Management
Although in arid regions, disease occurrence is less but still proper disease management should be in place to prevent loss of yield and higher production. Below mentioned are some of the diseases that occur in tinda.

  • Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum and Sphaerotheca fuliginea)
    It is a fungal disease which marks its presence through its white floury cover on leaves. It can be controlled by the conventional use of milk, which is diluted with water and sprayed on the leaves. It can be controlled by Carbamate fungicide or also by use of one or two sprays of Karathane at 1 ml/L of water.

  • Downy Mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis)
    It is a fungal disease that can be identified by whitish spots on the leaf. Various fungicides can be used for its effective control. Downy Mildew can be checked by spraying Dithane M-45 at 2 g/L.

Harvesting and Yield

Tinda is harvested when it is mature and in green stage and the diameter should be in the range of 10 to 12 cm, with seeds still soft inside the vegetable. After the fruit is grown, it can be harvested with 2 weeks but that highly depends on the moisture and temperature conditions. In order to ensure that the neighbouring fruits are not much affected, stalk should be cut short. If harvest is done properly, it is expected that 4 fruits can be harvested from each plant. In India, yield is almost 10 tonnes per hectare.

Marketing

It is to be ensured that the vegetables should be of uniform size. Tinda is sought after by customers for its various health benefits. It contains many different anti oxidants like carotenoids and many anti inflammatory agents, which helps in effective control of blood pressure and heart disease. Tinda is exported to various countries like United Kingdom and United States for its immense benefits.

Post Harvest Technology

Cooling, cleaning, sorting and packing are some of the steps in post harvest management of tinda. Once the vegetables are harvested, they are cleaned properly using various techniques followed by sorting generally manually to discard the damage pieces. Tinda fruits are carefully packed in cardboard boxes which helps in protecting their delicate skin.

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