Fruits Farming-Sapota Farming: Sapota is an evergreen tree widely grown in Mexico, Caribbean and Central America. Indians began to know its prominence in nineteenth century because of its unforgettable sweetness. Even though Sapota is very famous for its taste, it is commercially cultivated for gummy latex in South-East Mexico, Guatemala etc. This latex is the main source for producing chickle which is used in preparing chewing gum. Mostly grown in tropical regions, Sapota has become one of the top producing crops in India. So lets see what are the crucial stages in its cultivation.
Climate and Soil types
- Sapota crop is very much suitable for tropical regions. According to farming experts, dry and humid conditions give good production for longer periods.
- Areas with annual rainfall range 120 to 220 cm and temperature range of 11oC to 35oC are apt for this crop.
- If proper drainage is provided, Sapota grows well on all kinds of soils.
- Especially black soils with pH range of 6.5 to 8.5 are ideal for its cultivation.
- As usual the land is thoroughly ploughed two to three times and leveled without any weeds and previous wastes.
- Following the instructions of experts, Pits of 10m x 10m size are dug and exposed to sun for two weeks.
- Finally make sure to plant wind break trees like guava, mango, tamarind etc to protect the crop from heavy winds.
- The seedlings can be obtained by seeds or layering or grafting. Mostly small scale farmers use the method of layering as it is cheaper.
- But for better growth and good profits, experts suggest to go for the most commercially carried softwood grafting on rayan seedlings.
- Generally planting takes place in monsoon season. The readied pits are filled with top soil and sub soil to increase the fertility.
- Later the pits are also filled with a well decomposed manure, with good mixture of single super phosphate, neem cake and micronutrients.
- Following the spacing distance of 10m x 10m, the plants are to be placed in to the pits.
- According to experts, hundred plus plants can be cultivated per hectare.
- As this crop is carried for years, make sure to go for inter cultural crops of suitable fruits and vegetables.
- As we said earlier, Sapota plant can bear dry conditions also. But for better profits regular irrigation is necessary.
- According to experts an interval of 8 to 10 days is followed in summer, where as in winters the process may be carried once in three weeks.
- At the initial stage, 10 kilograms of Farm Yard Manure is given per tree followed by an increase of same amount annually. After five years the quantity is increased to 50 kilograms per tree.
- For one year plant, a mixture of 200 grams of Nitrogen, 200 grams of Potassium and 300 grams of Phosphorous is given per plant. The same amount is increased per annum till the plant reaches to 5 years. From then on, the ratio changes to 1:1:1.5 kilogram per tree.
- Weed control is quite essential in this crop. For better growth, weeds should be removed regularly either by manually or by spraying chemicals.
- For getting maximum flowers and fruits, prune the over grown branches to get brighter sunlight and better air.
- Coming to pests and diseases, leaf webber, hairy caterpillars, bud worm, scooty mould etc affect the profits drastically. Consult the farming experts and take necessary preventive steps to eradicate the issues.
Harvesting and yield
- According to farming experts, the crop gets in to full potential of harvesting after 5 years.
- Usually the harvesting of fruits takes place in the months of January-February or May-June.
- At an average, the yield ranges from 25 to 30 tons per tree per year depending on the variety.