Summer Crops in India – For Vegetables, Flowers, Fruits, Herbs

Summer Crops in India

Are you interested to know about summer crops in India? Well, we try to help you here. Agriculture plays an important role in the Indian economy and it is the backbone of our country. About 70% of the Indian population depends on agriculture for food and money. Most trees grow the fastest during the hot summer months. But for best results, make sure that plants are potted in their soil and are well-rooted.

Agriculture farming is the occupation of almost 60% of the Indian population. Agriculture as consists of different enterprises linked one with the other. Today, India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture provides livelihood to about 64% of the labors force contributes nearly 27.4% of gross domestic product and accounts for about 18% share of the country’s exports. Though, it supplies the bulk of wage goods required by the non-agricultural sector and raw material for a large section of the industry. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has taken new initiatives for the cultivation of summer crops in India or Zaid crops.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Summer Crops in India

Summer Tomato Crop
Guide to Summer Crops in India (pic credit: pixabay)

In the case of agriculture crops, weather, climate and seasons classify the crop cultivation time in the year. Based on the season the crops are characterized into three classes.

  • Kharif crops in India
  • Rabi crops in India
  • Zaid or Summer crops in India

In this article we discuss summer crops in India;

Zaid or summer crop is a short season between Kharif and Rabi season in March to July. In general, summer crops are crops that grow in this season. Also, these grow on irrigated lands. So do not have to wait for monsoons to grow them.

Major Summer Crops in India

Zaid season crops require warm soil and high temperatures (with a little cooling at night) to grow steadily and produce crops. Zaid crop season means crops are grown in the summer season. They need warm dry weather as a major growth period and longer day length for flowering and fruiting.  In the summer season Rice, Maize, and Groundnut are grown naturally. Also, the area under summer crops can be increased by efficient use of available water using micro-irrigation technologies.

The total area under summer crops is around 4.50 million hectares and can be increased to 5.90 million hectares. Summer crops are grown between the Kharif and Rabi seasons, i.e., between March and June. Mostly hybrid crops are grown in this season. These crops mature early. Mostly vegetable crops and hybrid cereals are grown in the summer season. These crops need warm dry weather for vegetative growth and long day’s length for reproductive growth.

Major Zaid Season Crops and Water Requirements

CropWater Requirement (mm)
Paddy (Short/Medium)700-1000
Maize500-600
Bhendi500-750
Brinjal500-650
Tomato500
Watermelon335-360
Bitter gourd315-340
Onion300
Musk melon290-315
Cowpea285-320
Cucumber230-250
Pointed gourd160-185
Black gram150-200
Green gram150-200
  • Crops grown in summer are Paddy, Corn, etc.
  • Other examples of Summer crops are Pumpkin, Cucumber, Bitter Rice, Corn, Cucumber, Melon, Pepper, Tomato, and some coarse Cereals sown during March and are generally harvested by June end.
  • Nuts grown in the summer season are Almonds, Amazonia (Brazil) Nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamias, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Walnuts, and Peanuts, which may help reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.
  • Pulses are important crops in India that provide high-quality protein. Rabi/Summer season pulse crops are Gram (chickpea/Bengal gram), Lentil (Masur), Field pea (Matar/Batri), Urd, Mung, Green gram, Black gram, Cowpea, and Rajmash, etc.
Summer Onions.
Summer Onion crop (image credit: pixabay)

Benefits of Summer Crops in India

  • Zaid or summer crop is a short season between Kharif and Rabi season in March to July. The crops that grow in this season are summer crops.
  • Cultivating summer crops not only provides extra income but also creates a lot of employment opportunities. Cultivation of the summer crop improves soil health. Also, mechanized sowing has helped the summer crops immensely.
  • Summer crops help in cutting losses incurred due to heavy rain due to bad weather conditions in the Rabi season.
  • Summer crops provide extra income to the farmers through the optimization of resources.

Benefits of Micro Irrigation for Summer Crops in India

  • Promoting/Increasing use of Micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler can help to enhance the area under summer crops through efficient use of water.
  • Increase the productivity of crops and income of farmers through precision water management during the summer season.

Tips for Summer Crops in India

Water plants at the right hour – The best time to water plants during summer is early morning or evening. The water is cooler during these hours. Spray plants weekly with a solution made from 1 part cow’s milk to 10 parts water in the summer season. Repeat after heavy rain or irrigation. Then, this remedy won’t reverse mildew damage, but it’s an effective preventative.

Mulching – Adding a 3-inch layer of mulch around the soil and base of plants can be extremely beneficial. They help the soil retain moisture, so you won’t need to water plants as often. Mulch helps to regulate the temperature of your plants, so they won’t heat up too fast. Also, mulch keeps plants cool and allows them to slowly warm-up.

Prevention – Don’t fertilize your plant in the summer season. It’s better to give plants a slow-release fertilizer early in the spring season. Also, don’t prune plants in the summer.

Pests – Pests can multiply over the summer season. Don’t reach for the pesticides. Notice if there are natural predators present, remembering that there will be a delay between the appearance of the pest and the subsequent build-up of its predators. If you should spray, use an environmentally benign spray.

Vegetables to be Grown as Summer Crops in India

Summer vegetable crops include Snap Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Celery (cold climates), Edamame, Eggplant, Muskmelons, Okra, Pumpkins, Sweet potato (needs long, hot, frost-free season), Tomatillo, Zucchini, Melons, Peppers, Tomatoes, and Squash.

Cucumber – This is one of the best-grown summer crops in India .Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables during the summer season. Cucumbers are consumed raw in the form of salads, or as part of beverages. Cucumbers are a classic summer vegetable. With consistent soil moisture and good fertility, just a few plants will produce enough for plenty of salads and also for homemade pickles. Planting cucumbers on a trellis provides good air circulation.

Bottle Gourd – Bottle Gourd is an excellent vegetable for its taste and nutritional content. It has a long shelf life in the fridge and is added as a vegetable component to curries. Generally, start sowing the bottle gourd seeds in the summer season. Cucumber requires immediate irrigation. After sowing, immediate irrigation is given. In summer season 6 to 7 irrigations are required and in the rainy season if needed then irrigation is given. In total, 9 irrigations are required.

Corn – Corn is one of the most popular summer vegetables for good reason. It tastes great and is a fairly low maintenance crop.

Amaranth – Amaranth is a true summer crop ad it requires warm soil and an abundance of sunlight to do well. Amaranth must be sown during mid-march for the summer crop and mid-July for the Kharif crop. Amaranth is the most common leafy vegetable grown during the summer and rainy seasons in India.

Brinjals – Brinjal is also called eggplants. Brinjal is considered a good summer vegetable. Brinjal can be successfully grown as a summer season crop. Irrigate the field after every 3rd or 4th day during the summer season and after 12 to 15 days during the winter season.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet Potatoes grow well in the summer season and produce abundantly in as little as 90 days. Wait to plant them until the weather is good and hot for best plant growth. Also, sweet potatoes need little cultivation once the vines begin to spread across the ground.

Malabar Spinach – Malabar Spinach is a vining plant whose foliage is a good summertime leafy green vegetable for salads and cooking. It is the best leafy vegetables for summer.

Chilli – Chilli crop is popular in India. The most pungent varieties of Chilli plants are grown in the hot summer season. If Chilli plants are grown as summer crops then the January-February months are chosen.

Okra – Okra is also called Bhendi. The Okra crop requires adequate moisture in the soil during the summer months for faster growth. Drip irrigation is most suitable for moisture in the soil during the summer months for faster plant growth. Harvest the pods every other day to keep quality and production at a high level.

Sorrels – Sorrels are cold-hardy perennials throughout the hottest days of summer. They are gorgeous while growing and have a refreshing flavor that is perfect in salads.

Green Leafy Vegetables – Spinach, amaranth leaves, and mint are just a few examples of the leafy vegetables that are best during summers. Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of minerals such as iron and calcium. These vegetables are excellent for the summer season also because they have high water content, and rich in folates.

Fruits to be Grown as Summer Crops in India

Summer in India is hot and falls usually between May and June. There are a lot of fruit crops that need this heat to grow. Generally, summer fruits are a great source of energy, hydration, and nutrition for our bodies to beat the summer heat. Below are some of the summer fruits in India. Some examples of summer fruits are Watermelon, Blackberries, Grapes, Pear, Muskmelon, Mangoes, Litchis, and Peaches, etc.

Most of these fruits are available during the summer season. The fruits need warm temperatures to grow and are harvested only during summertime. Most of these summer fruits are at their peak in terms of taste, flavor, and harvest during this season.

Asian pear – Asian pear fruits are a species of the normal pear tree that is native to East Asia. Unlike normal pears, Asian pears are shaped like an apple with a yellowish tanned color. The fruits are rich in fiber with low amounts of calories. The nutrients in the Asian pear fruit are great for improving blood, bone, and cardiovascular health.

Watermelon – This is a very common fruit grown as part of summer crops in India Low-calorie and highly refreshing, Watermelon fruit has around 90% of water content, making it a favorite of people, especially during hot summer months as the fruit helps you stay full and hydrated. Also, it is rich in many nutrients and can help in treating digestion.  Plant watermelon from late spring to early summer, once soil temperature levels reach 21°C or above.

In case if you miss this: Growing Grapes In Greenhouse.

Summer Watermelon.
Summer Watermelon (pic source: pixabay)

Mango – Mangoes are a summer favorite fruit and it is called the ‘King of Fruits’. Their distinct taste, color, smell and flavor make them the most loved fruit, especially in India. Mango fruits are highly nutritious with rich contents of several vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, beta carotene, etc. The nutrients of mango fruit help prevent health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer, etc. Though the fruits are high in calories, mangoes are rich in fibers and antioxidants that promote better metabolism and cleanse toxins from the body. Places with good rainfall and dry summer are ideal for planting mango.

Litchi – Litchi fruit is the most popular and loved summer fruit, next only to mango. This juicy and delicious fruit is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have several beneficial effects on the body. Litchi is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B-6, potassium, magnesium, and iron.  

Blackberries – Blackberries are a fruit that possesses some nutrients and antioxidants. Blackberries are a rich source of vitamin C and fiber. Blackberries can improve brain functioning and help in improving bone and skin health.

Blueberries – Blueberry fruits are sweet and delicious fruits that are popular around the world. The fruits can be blue or purple. It is considered the king of antioxidant foods and it is great at protecting the body from diseases. Also, they are capable of protecting against signs of ageing and even prevent cancer. If you want to grow summer blackberry fruits for your pies, jams, and smoothies are a spot with full sun and a good supply of soil amendments such as compost or leaf mold.

Pineapple – Pineapple is one of the best fruit for hydration in the summer season. Pineapple fruits contain many vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, potassium, etc. Pineapples are good at improving digestion as they contain enzymes that support digestive functions. Also, they improve the metabolism in the body. The antioxidant content in pineapple fruits helps prevent many diseases too.

Muskmelon – Muskmelons are very nutritious and refreshing fruits. These fruits have high alkaline and water content makes them a perfect summer fruit. They are good coolants for the body. Muskmelon fruits are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and iron, etc. One cup of muskmelon can satisfy more than 50% of the daily requirement of vitamin A and vitamin C.

Breadfruit – Breadfruit is a fruit that is much similar to a potato. They are a great source of carbohydrates. In several parts of the world, the pulp of the Breadfruit has been used in the treatment of liver cirrhosis and hypertension. Also, they are filled with compounds that can reduce inflammation. Keep them outdoors in the summer season while temperatures are above 15°C. These are their ideal conditions. During hot dry summer, frequent irrigation is needed for Breadfruit.

Cantaloupe – Cantaloupe is a variety of the musk melon family. The fruits are a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folates. The Cantaloupe fruit contains a large amount of water content and is therefore good for staying hydrated. Also, Cantaloupes contain several other vitamins and minerals that are essential to the human body.

Figs – Fig fruits can be consumed fresh or even dried. Fig fruits are great for digestive and heart health. Figs are potent in reducing blood sugar levels and possess anti-cancer properties.

Grapes – Grapes are the most popular fruits in the world and it is cultivated in the summer season. The fruits are eaten raw, made into jams, jellies, or even used in wine-making. The fruit’s rich antioxidant nature is useful for the body to prevent several diseases including certain types of cancer.

Kiwi – Kiwis are highly nutritious and are good in the summer season. In the summer season, high temperature and low humidity may cause scorching of leaves. Sunscald and heat stress are the main problems in its cultivation in lower areas. Deep, rich, well-drained sandy loam soils are ideal for kiwi cultivation.

Papaya – Papayas are healthy fruits that can be eaten all year round. They have special benefits and uses during the summer season as they are high in dietary fibers. Fruits help improve intestinal health and regulate bowel movement. Normally, irrigate every 10 days in winter or every week in the summer season, but practice varies according to the soil, climatic conditions, and irrigation methods.

Plum – Plums are a fruit known for their immense health advantages and nutritional value. The fruits can be consumed fresh or even dried. The fruits are also rich in antioxidants and can help reduce blood sugar levels and promote bone health as well.

Oranges – Oranges are a very good summer fruit as they contain more than 80% of water. The fruits help in hydrating the body very well and providing the needed nutrient requirement. During summers, our bodies tend to lose potassium; it is a very important essential mineral, through sweat.

Flowers to be Grown as Summer Crops in India

List of Indian summer Flowers – Morning Glory, Rose, Hibiscus, Sunflower, Zinnia, Marigold, Aparajita, Mogra, Petunia, Gaillardia, Coreopsis, and Balsam, etc.

March to April is a good time for sowing seeds of summer flowers in India.

Marigold – Marigold is one of the most-loved summer flowers in India. The colors of marigold flowers differ from yellow to golden. In India, people use it for wedding floral décor and religious ceremonies.

Bougainvillaea – Bougainvillea is a versatile flower that can grow easily in warm temperatures. These paper-like flowers need at least 5-7 hours of direct sunlight.

Chameli – Chameli is also called Jasmine.  Chameli flowering plants native to India can grow well even in peak summertime. The plants do not even require any special care if proper conditions are provided. These plants love the sun and require at least 7 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. They are going to make a great addition to the summer garden with their distinct fragrance. The best climatic conditions for Jasmine cultivation are a warm summer with a good water supply, humid conditions, and sunny days.

Sunflower – Sunflower has a bright color and looks very radiant is the sunflower. These flowers are heat tolerant and love the sun. You may need to water the sunflower plant regularly until it is established, after that; you can water them when the soil dries. Sunflower plant well during long, hot summers.

Rose – Rose flowers occur in three vibrant colors like Red, Yellow and white and they do bring the entire garden to life. Rose plants are one of the best summer flowers that can be grown in India and with proper care, the flower can blossom throughout the year. To achieve the best results rose plants must be given proper care during the summer months. Rose plants will require watering during hot, dry weather.

Zinnia – Zinnia comes in beautiful round shapes and a wide range of colors like pink, purple, rose, red, yellow, and orange. The plants are the best flowers to flourish in the hot summers of India and need full sun to grow well. These flowers blossom in the late summers of India and are quite low maintenance. The plants bloom quite heavily given perfect growing conditions.

Herbs to be Grown as Summer Crops in India

The best summer season herbs are Basil, Bay, Chives, Dill, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon, Savory, and Thyme.

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