Ladyfinger Farming in Polyhouse from Seeds for Profit

A step by step guide to Ladyfinger farming in polyhouse

Are you thinking for growing okra/bhindi/bendakaya in polyhouse? well, you are in right time and on right spot, here we explain you Ladyfinger farming in polyhouse for maximum profits. Ladyfinger or Bendakaya is a popular vegetable which originated from the hot climates of Africa. It is widely developed in southern parts of the United States as an annual vegetable crop. The major Bendakaya or Ladyfinger producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.

Ladyfinger Bloom in Polyhouse.
Okra Bloom.

Varieties of Ladyfinger:

The popular varieties of Ladyfinger are given below;

Green or light green fruited Ladyfinger varieties are Pusa Sawani, Pusa Makhmali, IARI Selection 2, Kiran, Salkeerthi.

Red fruited varieties are Co-1, Aruna

Yellow vein mosaic resistant or tolerant Ladyfinger varieties are Arka Anamika, Arka Abhay, Susthira

Requirements of Ladyfinger farming in polyhouse:

  • In polyhouse farming, we can protect crops from any adverse environment such as high humidity or high temperature.
  • There will be an increase in the production of vegetables in Polyhouse farming without losing their color and quality.
  • The polyhouse is made in such a way that it can give water and fertilizers in required amounts in a controlled manner which can result in high yields.
  • The polyhouse design lets light in, and when this light is absorbed by objects inside the polyhouse and turns to heat energy, it is not permitted to escape.
  • GI pipes are used to construct polyhouse and in some cases, farmers use wooden or stone pillars which need less initial investment.
  • Transparent UV stabilized polyethylene film and 200-micron thickness is used for covering the polyhouse roof.
  • It is provided with retractable nets or movable shade nets, at about 11 feet height just below the structures from ground level. The sides of the vegetable polyhouse farming are covered with 200-micron thick polyethylene film to a height of 3 feet from the ground level, to have better protection from rain splash. Remaining height of the sidewall is covered with 40-micron white-colored insect polyhouse proof net from all the four sides.

Soil requirement of Ladyfinger farming in polyhouse:

Ideal soil requirements are fertile and well-drained with near-neutral pH level. The soil pH level should range between 6.5 and 7.0, though; the plant can tolerate soils with a pH of 7.6. The soil should be warmed between 65 to 70°F. It should be in rich, well-drained soil with sufficient light.

The watering requirement for Ladyfinger farming in polyhouse:

Ladyfinger requires sufficient water particularly during the warm months of summer. The watering requirements for Ladyfinger are so easy just apply about an inch of water weekly. Simply concentrate at the base and water lightly so as not to wash the soil off. Do not water the leaves of the plants because it could be a breeding spot for fungi. It is a very excellent plan to water in early in the morning, that way the afternoon sunlight will dry any leftover water that was not absorbed.

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Adequate soil moisture is essential for optimum growth and yield. A regular irrigation system schedule of 1.5 inches of water every 10 days is recommended for maximum yields. Conversely, overwatering can drown plants or cause excessive growth. When using furrow irrigation through harvest, watering alternate rows is recommended. The dry furrow can be used to walk in during harvest. Subsequent irrigation should be applied to the dry furrow.

The advantages of polyhouse cultivation are;

  • Higher productivity resulting in increased yield,
  • Provides a better growing environment to plants,
  • Protects from rain, wind, high temperatures and minimizes the damage of weeds, insect pests and diseases thereby improving the quality and yield,
  • Facilitates year-round production coupled with yield enhancement by 2 to 3 times compared to open cultivation.

Drip irrigation system in Ladyfinger farming:

Drip irrigation proves to be helpful for Ladyfinger cultivation in polyhouse. One particular system that can increase efficiency in multiple ways is a drip irrigation system.

Drip irrigation systems are horticultural watering systems that localize the watering (and fertilization) method to provide a precise amount of water (and nutrients) directly to the root zone of the plants. The main benefits to drip irrigation systems include less water loss during irrigation, more control over “zones” in the polyhouse or field, and precise watering and fertilizing that can be tailored to a specific crop or a specific stage of growth.

The main advantage of drip irrigation has to be its efficiency in terms of water loss. On average, the typical overhead irrigation systems are 50% efficient. When you consider that drip irrigation is over 90% efficient, it is simple to see why more horticulturists are turning to drip irrigation systems for their crops. Drip irrigation systems are straightforward in design and relatively very easy to maintain. Drip irrigation systems can normally be broken down into three parts they are the water source, the pumping system, and the distribution system.

Spacing and seedling:

Recommended row spacing is 28-38 inches with 8-12 inches between plants. Seeds must be chemically treated to reduce “damping off” (seedling rot) and planted about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. A seeding rate of 4 to 6 seeds per foot is recommended.

When Ladyfinger is 3 inches tall, plants must be thinned to 8 to 12 inches between plants. Ladyfinger has 8,000 seeds per pound (500 per ounce), and 12 to 15 pounds of seeds are necessary to plant one acre. If a precision planter is used, approximately 7 pounds per acre is recommended.

Ladyfinger has a thick seed coat and does not germinate simply. Germination can be enhanced by soaking for several (4 to 6) hours or overnight immediately before planting. The seed should be surface dried for mechanical planting.

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Seedbed preparation for Ladyfinger farming in polyhouse

The soil must be turned after harvest in fall and early spring. This practice will expose overwintering insects to killing frosts and bring weed seeds to the surface where the plants will germinate. The weed seedlings could be destroyed when disking the soil before planting, thus reducing chemical use and saving on labor input for weeding.

Time of planting:

Generally, Ladyfinger planting must commence in the dry season when the weather is still warm and sunny. Ladyfinger plant is a heat-loving annual crop requiring temperatures between 22° to 35°F for optimal growth, flowering, and pod development. The soil temperature before planting must fall within this range; otherwise, the seeds may rot and never germinate and hence, will lead to a decrease in yields.

Planting Ladyfinger in polyhouse:

  • Start Ladyfinger seeds directly in the patch you have prepared in polyhouse about three to four weeks ahead of the last frost date for the region. If you can’t wait, make sure to plant them in black containers on shelves and keep the temperature high inside polyhouse.
  • Drench the seeds for 12-18 hours to soften its firm seed cover or overnight to promote germination.
  • Put the pre-soaked seeds into the grooves, aligning them six inches individually.
  • The soil must be well-drained with temperatures varying from 65 to 70°F. It thrives well in rich soil that is stuffed with nutrients. You can enrich the soil using organic compost or fertilizers. Ignoring to supplement nutrients may result in fewer yields.
  • Choose a spot where the shade will not disturb other sun-loving plants.

Manures and fertilization:

Before planting, soil fertility must be tested and recommendations followed. Ladyfinger fertilizer recommendations generally for 300 pounds per acre of a complete fertilizer like 10-20-10 incorporated before planting. When pods begin to form and again in 3 to 5 weeks the plants should be side dressed with 20 to 25 pounds of nitrogen per acre. You should avoid over-fertilization with nitrogen. High rates of nitrogen cause Ladyfinger to create excessive vegetative growth which can reduce yields. If soil tests indicate a high pH level, lime is recommended and should be applied three to four months before the crop is seeded.

Crop rotation:

Ladyfinger is susceptible to damage by nematodes. To avoid a buildup of nematodes population on the farm, follow a crop rotation using crops such as maize, sorghum, and other grass crops. Do not rotate Ladyfinger with crops which are susceptible to nematodes such as sweet potatoes and squash.

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Insect Control in Ladyfinger Cultivation

The use of cultural controls is advised to curb pest problems early and create the crop less vulnerable to insect infestations. Ensure that the Ladyfinger plant has a favorable growing condition to keep it strong, healthy and better able to tolerate insect damages. Check the plant frequently for an early appearance of aphids. Other production practices could be manipulated to minimize the damage caused by insect pests.

Insect pests that affect Ladyfinger fall into two categories, they are; foliage feeders and pod feeders.

They feed on the leaves of the Ladyfinger. They can include;

  • Flea beetles: They are tiny, dark and very active, eating many small, round holes in leaves.
  • Blister beetle: This insect feeds both on foliage and blossoms of the plant. They are soft, having narrow necks with elongated bodies and about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long.
  • Caterpillars: An example is ‘cabbage loopers’ which eat holes in leaves.
  • Aphids: Aphids damage plants by sucking the juice from the foliage.

When and How to Harvest Okra:

Ladyfinger matures about 2 months after planting. Harvest the pods when they are about three inches long by cutting their stems just above the cap. If the stalk is so difficult to cut, the pod is presumably too old and must be thrown away. You can pick it every other day. Be sure to wear gloves or long sleeves because the tiny spines may irritate the skin. You can have as much as you want because when harvesting a pod, another one sprouts in its place.

That’s all folks about ladyfinger farming in polyhouse for maximum yield and profits. Keep growing veggies in polyhouse.

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