Off-season vegetable farming
Growing of vegetables out of its normal growing season is termed as off season vegetable farming or vegetable forcing.
The garden for off-season vegetable farming is located at any place but is generally preferred in cities and towns where the grower is more progressive to handle this complex and highly specialized type of farming involving special growing structures to regulate micro-climate like temperature and humidity.
Various specialized structure required for regulating micro-climate for vegetable forcing are:-
- Trenches: Trenches are prepared for raising seedling in off-season. It helps to modify micro-climate for certain period and favour seed to germinate. A trench of 15” depth, 15” width with desirable length is prepared where polybag containing seeds are kept and then whole trench is covered air tightly with transparent white plastic sheet. Due to this temperature inside the trench increases and favour seed germination and protect small seedling from cold. It is mostly prepared in cool season for raising seedling of summer crop.
- Plastic tunnel: Plastic tunnel is frequently used to raise seedling in off-season during winter for off-season summer crop cultivation. It is also used to protect standing crop from cold waves in winter in hilly regions. Generally, 1m height tunnel covered air tightly with transparent white plastic sheet is recommended to prepare.
- Plastic house/glass house: A plastic house or glass house is also prepared to raise seedling and cultivate entire crop in off-season. It is costlier than trench or plastic tunnel but ultimate result/output is higher. It is prepared in such a way that entire cultural operation can be performed inside the house when necessary. It is also preferred in cool season which can modify/regulate micro-climate for certain period.
- Green house: It is similar to glass house but well equipped with high-tech instrument which can regulate climate any time inside the house. Here, the favorable climatic condition can be provided to the crop any time of the year and can cultivate particular crop throughout the year. It consists of atomizer and humidifier that regulate temperature & humidity required for the particular crop.
- Only a number of vegetables like tomato, cucumber, lettuce, radish, cauliflower, chilli, capsicum, spinach etc. are selected for off-season vegetable farming.