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Cultivation of fig - Benefits of figs

Posted On : January 22, 2021

Introduction

Figs are a delicious fruit and commonly known as “Anjeer” in India. Fig fruit is one of the ancient fruits and flowering plants belonging to the mulberry family. It is generally termed as Ficus Carica. The native of Fig fruit plant comes from the Middle East and Western Asia. This plant is deciduous in nature and has fragrant leaves. Fig fruit plant has currently become naturalized in scattered locations of Asia and North America. The largest fig producers in the world are Spain, Egypt, Turkey, and Algeria for almost 58% of production comes from this country. The total raw fig production of in the world from more than 1.05 million tonnes. In India, fig cultivation mostly comes from the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. The total area under fig cultivation is almost 5600 hectares of land with a production of 13,802 thousand tonnes.

Varieties of Fig Fruit

There are more than 600 varieties of fig cultivate from the whole world and most commercial production depends on only a few varieties of fig plants. Some important fig varieties cultivars are Kadota, Adriatic, Mission, Desert King, Celeste Calimyrna, and Brown Turkey. In India mostly, commercially important cultivated varieties are Poona and Dinkar. Figs with economic value and Smyrna types are especially found in Iran. These varieties are named Matti, payves, Seyah, sabz, , shah anjeer and kashki.

One variety of fig named San Pedro fig cultivate two crops in each season and it is believed that the fig fruit set in the first season happens normally, but the fig fruit set in the second season happens from pollination by a specific wasp. The desert king one of the important variety belongs to this group.

Soil and Climatic condition for Fig Fruit Cultivation

For cultivation of Fig Fruit tree best type of soil required is deep, non-alkaline clayey loam soil. Soil with well-draining and good water holding capacity is suitable for the cultivation of fig, especially it required alluvial clay loam or medium black soils. The pH level of soil should be around 5.5-8 and the approximate depth of the soil should be around 1 m.

This fig tree is a subtropical tree that can tolerate a very lower temperature range of 9.5 to 12°C while in the dormant, mature stage, whereas the trees in the stage growing need good protection from lower temperatures region. The suitable temperature for the growth of the fig tree is 15.5 to 21°C. Fig trees growing in the tropical and subtropical areas shows certain characteristics like:

  • Continuous growth during a particular part of the year
  • Rest during a well-marked period
  • Flowering and fruiting during an indistinct period
  • Dormant period with barren limbs

The dry climate condition is suitable for fruit development and the maturation period for fig trees. The fig trees in the area with more humidity coupled with very low temperatures generally result in cracked and low- quality fruits. During the April-June period, the fig trees flourish well in regions of hot and dry winds.

Propagation Methods of Fig

There are many techniques are used for plantation Figs, such as hardwood cutting, budding, air layering, and grafting. However, and the most commonly used method for planting the trees is through hardwood cuttings.

Propagating Figs are easy to propagate because they root very easily. There are several ways to propagate them. The most common method is to root leafless cuttings taken in late winter or early spring.

  • Take a pencil to finger thick hardwood cuttings that are 3 to 6 inches long. The best cuttings will have some of the last two year’s wood on them.

  • weather condition is still unsettled and frost is likely, store the cuttings in a sealed bag in the produce bin in your refrigerator.

  • If the weather condition is warm then, pot your cuttings. cover a half sheet of newspaper tightly into the bottom of a 4-inch-deep plastic pot. Poured a little bit of sand and mix quality potting mix in the bottom of the pot, stand one to four cuttings upright in the pot, and fill the pot with the sand or potting mix.

  • pour some Water on the pot, and set it in a very bright but not sunny place. It should be warm—at least 70 degrees F. If you cannot keep the air temperature above 70, provide bottom heat to bring the soil temperature up to 70 degrees F. And Cover the pot with an empty 2- or 3-liter soft drink bottle with the lid and the bottom cut out.

  • until it dry don't give water for cuttings . Lift the pot occasionally to test for dryness. If the pot weight is very light, set it in some pan of water, and make it soak. When you see growth, it is time to harden for the new plants. Remove the bottle cap and see how the plants grow. and if the plants seem to be thriving after a few days then remove the bottle the plants begin to wilt and after that cover them again with the bottle.

  • Later a few days, it will be time to pot the new plants. Don’t do leaves growing. Few times there will be 4 or 5 leaves and a few if

  • After 4 to 6 weeks depending on the plant variety and the weather condition the plants will be getting ready for a larger pot (1½ gallon) or for in-ground planting.

Land Preparation and Planting of Fig Fruit Farming

At least one month before planting the land is thoroughly plowed and leveled for the rooted cuttings. And a Pits of dimensions 60 cm³ are dug it well. The planting spacing between two plants should be 8 x 8 m normally, but a minimum spacing of 6 x 6 m is maintained. In cultivars in India, they are planted at 5-7 m for a good yield. And pits are filling them with a good mixture of compost and garden soil. The pits are also treated with endosulfan @ 100 g per pit and to keep them safeguarded from termites.

The planting depth should be 2 to 4 inches for the plants to possess a high survival rate. The rooted cuttings must be handled with care because to avoid root damage. Before planting dig holes deeper and wider than place the plants in an upright way. The soil around the roots is crumbled to pack the roots such they are available in proper contact with moist soil. Under weather conditions, it's advisable to delay transplanting until the winter is over. And cutting the roots at the time of planting helps reduce water loss from the plants and develops lateral branches.

Manure and Fertilizers for Fig Trees

Fertilization of the fig trees majorly depends on the soil type, nutrient content, pH levels, and therefore the crop requirements. Fig trees grow well in alkaline soil; therefore lime is supplied to the soil to extend the pH if it's below 6. The fertilizers and manure composition required during different stages of plant growth are different and after the fifth year of planting, it stabilizes. The composition list is mentioned below in terms of kg/tree/year

  • First Year – FYM (25) neem cake (0.50) N (0.06), P (0.04) and K (0.04).
  • second year – FYM (25) neem cake (0.50) N (0.120) P (0.08) and K (0.08).
  • Third Year – FYM (25) neem cake (1.0) N (0.180) P (0.120) and K (0.120).
  • Fourth Year – FYM (30) neem cake (1.50) N (0.24) P (0.16) and K (0.16).
  • Fifth Year – FYM (35) neem cake (2.00) N (0.30) P (0.20) and K (0.20).

Irrigation Needs of Fig

This tree is taken into account to be fairly immune to drought conditions and is never irrigated in most cultivated areas. If the tree is cultivated during a region with light soil and arid conditions, then it's to be irrigated frequently, mostly during the primary two years of planting and also during the dry period. In the summer May-June water is supplied to the plants every 4-5 days, but during winter February-April water supply is given at an interval of 10-15 days. No irrigation should tend during the monsoon and winter seasons. The trees shouldn't be irrigated heavily during the fruit ripening period

Pest, Disease, and Management in Fig Farming

The major pests that infect the fig trees are beetles, stem borers, scale insects, leaf defoliators, and fig flies. it's observed that in arid regions with a harsh climate, insect infestation is rare. Some pests aside from those mentioned above also tend to cause problems within the farms like birds, squirrels, etc. and these birds and animals can cause 100% fruit damage when no control measures are taken. Beating drums is one of the measures utilized in small farms to regulate pests. Bird nets made from plastic or nylon are wont to cover the orchard so on protect them from birds.

The major diseases infecting the fig trees are rust and leaf spot and may be controlled by using recommended chemical fungicides. Some tips for the control of diseases in fig trees are given below:

  • Destruction and replanting new varieties.
  • Sprays neutral copper for controlling the spread of disease.
  • Burn old leaves them completely.
  • Cutting the diseased tree to the bottom level and growing a replacement top from suckers.

Other than pests and diseases, there's also the probability of disorders within the fruits like sunburn, fruit cracking, etc. Sunburns are often controlled by placing windbreaks and shelterbelts. it's also advisable to not prune the fig trees heavily and expose the branches to the scorching sun during summer. Heavy watering after a dry period can cause fruit cracking, hence irrigation should be provided at a regular period by observing the soil condition to avoid fruit cracking.

The fig trees are pruned once a year to induce growth on the flower and fruit-bearing branches. This pruning technique helps in higher productivity. In Indian weather, light pruning within the last week of December is completed. when 3 or 4 buds come shoots from the previous growth are left on the plants during pruning.

Training is completed to stay the peak of the trees to a particular limit. the most stem is allowed to grow to a height of 70-80 cm (max height of 1 m) from the bottom level after one year of planting. Later one year the side branch shoots are encouraged to grow.

Harvest and Yield of Fig

The tree produces fruits after 2 years of planting. The plants produce a billboard harvest only within the third year of planting. The yield from the trees increases per annum until the eight years then stabilizes. Normally, the economic life of a tree is taken into account to be around 35 years. the most harvest season is during February –March and is nearly over by the top of summer. Generally, the fruits are harvested manually with an interval of two or 3 days. When the fruit turns soft and wilts at the neck, it's picked. The yield from a tree is approximately 180 to 360 fruits. If a fig is well managed and then you can expect 12 tonnes of fruit per hectare.

Post Harvest Management of Fig

The fig fruit is very perishable in nature and isn't suitable for transport over long distances. When the fruit is meant for distant markets, then it should be harvested slightly before the complete maturity. Fresh fruits that are ripe are often sold within the local markets. The fruits that are picked at optimum maturity stage are cooled within 6 hours of harvest and may be kept for 20 days at 1˚C. Similarly, the fruits are often preserved for 7 days at 10˚C and only for 2 or 3 days at 20˚C.

Excess produce is often stored by dehydration of the moisture content to about 10-12%. For storage, the fruits are treated with sulfur fumes @ 4 g per 10 kg of fruits then dried at a temperature of 60˚C until the moisture is reduced to about 12%. Dehydration makes it safe from the browning of the fruit and improves fruit texture and reduces infestation. Traditional sun-drying is additionally practiced in some parts of the countries, but this method features a high risk of infestation by pests and other pathogens.

Health Benefits

figs sweet cravings while also providing many important health benefits. In fact, you'll enjoy adding figs to your diet. Here are a number of the health benefits you'll expect to enjoy once you eat figs.

Reduce High vital sign

High vital signs, also referred to as hypertension, can cause complications like heart condition and stroke. One factor that results in high vital sign may be a potassium imbalance caused by eating an excessive amount of sodium and not enough potassium. Figs are a potassium-rich food and may help correct that imbalance. and it had high levels of fiber in figs can help to flush excess sodium from the system.

Improve Digestion

Digestive issues ranging from constipation to diarrhea. At both ends of the spectrum, increasing fiber intake can help. and also high fiber content, and however figs aid digestion indifferently. and a rich source of prebiotics, which improve overall gut health.

Increase Bone Density

Figs are an honest source of both calcium and potassium. These minerals can work together to enhance bone density, which can, in turn, prevent conditions like osteoporosis.

Studies suggest that a potassium-rich diet, especially, can improve bone health and reduce bone turnover. Meanwhile, calcium may be a key structural component of bones, and increasing calcium intake has been shown to enhance the bone mineral structure in children and adolescents.


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