Water Chestnut Cultivation, Farming Practices


Introduction to Water Chestnut cultivation

Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) is without doubt one of the essential minor fruit crops grown in India. It is an aquatic nut crop grown within the tropical and sub-tropical area as a submersed plant group. It additionally thrives within the mushy nutrient-rich waters in lakes, ponds, and streams with a impartial to barely alkaline pH degree. Water chestnut is often known as Singhara and Water Caltrops.

A step-by-step information to Water Chestnut cultivation

In India, Water Chestnut is mostly used as an edible nut. The kernel of Water Chestnut accommodates a considerable amount of protein as much as 20%, starch (52%), tannins (9.4%), fats (as much as 1%), and sugar (3%),  minerals,  and so forth.  It is an effective supply of fiber and vitamin  B together with  Ca, Okay,  Fe, and  Zn. Apart from these  Water Chestnut has quite a few healing and supplementing properties additionally. So, they’re generally known as cooling meals and are wonderful to beat the warmth of the summer time season. Also, a combination of Water Chestnut powder with water is used as an awesome reliever of cough.

Different styles of Water Chestnuts

The main varieties of Water Chestnuts are Chinese, European, and Indian.

Chinese Water Chestnuts

There are different Chinese Water Chestnuts (reminiscent of those termed “European” beneath), however the sort described listed here are those most of us are most conversant in as we speak. They aren’t nuts they’re “tubers” the root-like a part of a rush-like plant that grows in freshwater. (Granted, their brown pores and skin is form of chestnut in colour.) The virtually turnip-shaped tubers develop close to the underside of the pond or stream and harvested from the water with forks. Rich in fiber, these Water Chestnuts have a starchy however impartial style to them and have a satisfying crisp and agency chew.

European Water Chestnuts (water caltrops, Jesuit nuts)

This Water Chestnut selection is named “Trapa natans” by botanists, so you’ll be able to see immediately by the very completely different scientific title that it’s a unique creature from the “Chinese” Water Chestnuts. For starters, it’s a nut. The nuts are an issue in themselves and these “chestnuts” have the identical colour as chestnuts, they aren’t something as benign because the chestnuts that children bean one another with. They have sharp, sturdy barbed-spines on them that may pierce even leather-soled footwear, and make seashores and wading fairly harmful.

Indian Water Chestnuts (singhara nuts)

These Water Chestnuts are a superb deal just like the “European Water Chestnut”, however they’ve fewer spines on them. Many farmers in India are inspired to develop them as cash-crops and so they’ll develop fish in a pond for half a yr, then these chestnuts of their ponds for the opposite half. And they’re thought of to be tastier than the “Chinese Water Chestnut” which is a tuber. In India, they’re generally known as singhara (or Singara) nuts.

Water Chestnut plant propagation

Generally, the propagation of the Water Chestnut plant is commercially executed by seeds.  The totally mature nuts are positioned in containers with little water to germinate the Water Chestnut seeds.  The sprouted chestnut seeds are sorted out and broadcast within the nursery tanks.  At the start of monsoon,  the seedlings are lifted from the nursery tanks and planted within the pond,  at a  spacing of 1-2meters or 2 to three meters when the soil of the pond is fertile.

The climatic requirement for Water Chestnut cultivation

The water temperature degree of  12-15°C  is critical for the fruit to germinate whereas  20°C  is required for the event of the flower.  The temperature vary all year long depends on continental weather conditions, which is the excessive temperature throughout spring and summer time season, and low in winter is useful for the profitable manufacturing of the Water Chestnut crop.

Grown areas of Water Chestnut cultivation in India

Water Chestnuts develop all through the East of India – West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Bihar are examples of such areas. Bihar, specifically, cultivates the Water Chestnut fruit extensively in its districts of Darbhanga, Madhubani, and Samastipur.

Soil and choosing the land for cultivation of Water Chestnut

As  Water Chestnut is an aquatic plant, the soil doesn’t play a lot essential function for its cultivation. But it’s discovered that water chestnut offers higher crop yield when the soil of the water our bodies is wealthy, friable which is effectively manured or fertilized.

Select land that’s gently sloping with out low spots the place water can acquire and pool. This is essential for chestnut timber since they’re liable to “wet feet” and won’t survive and not using a good floor and below drainage. Chestnut timber develop greatest in well-drained, deep, fertile, moist loam to sandy loam soil with good aeration and a soil pH degree of 6.5 to 7.2. They favor soils and weather conditions that peach timber and stone fruit require. Do not plant in heavy clay soils and soils with a pH degree above 6.5. If the pH degree is excessive, annual purposes of agricultural sulfur and a sulfur-based fertilizer like ammonium sulfate as a substitute of ammonium nitrate should be utilized. This will assist to scale back the pH degree. Modifying the pH is a sluggish course of and the soil must be examined and adjusted yearly.

Nutrient administration for Water Chestnut fruit cultivation

The water chestnut plant requires some particular nutrient parts for higher progress and improvement.  Fertilizer with a average quantity of poultry manure is important for increased yield.  The nutrient uptake by a  crop that yielded  4,700kg/ha have been nitrogen  108kg/ha,  magnesium  37.5kg/ha, and calcium 6.9kg/ha. But it requires little utility of phosphorus and potassium. It can thrive effectively below a pH degree of 6.5 to 7.2.  Growers from completely different components of the world use dolomite  (a  type of lime that accommodates magnesium)  to regulate pH ranges through which probably the most essential works throughout nutrient administration observe. Application of 30 to 40 kg of urea in per ha space of the pond after a couple of month of transplanting and once more after one other 20 days is extremely really helpful.

The rising requirement for Water Chestnut fruit cultivation

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The Growing requirement for Water Chestnut fruit cultivation.

  • The Water Chestnut plant requires full daylight for good progress, and water with wealthy natural content material however a low focus of salts.
  • On a bigger scale, the Water chestnuts are grown in flooded fields like rice.
  • These fields are situated beneath a water supply like a dam in order that the water degree will be maintained with gravity move. They will also be grown on dam and pond edges however provided that the water degree is controllable and in addition steady.
  • It is really helpful that Water Chestnut vegetation are first grown in a low nutrient nursery plot and transferred when stems are about 300 mm tall. Then, this reduces the expansion interval in ponds by as much as 6 weeks.
  • Tops will be trim if they’re too tall at transplanting. Care should be taken on the time of transplanting in order that seedlings stored moist however not submerged.
  • The soil should be stored flooded with 100mm to 300mm of water all through the rising interval. A larger depth of water is tolerated by the Chestnut vegetation however they don’t prosper Water ought to be drained off earlier than harvesting. When filling containers with soil it should be ensured to permit for 100mm of water.

Water Chestnut planting and manufacturing

The edible a part of a water chestnut fruit is the corm which grows beneath the waterlogged soil.  To put together a container for planting put 20cm sand, soil, or potting combine which has been enriched with well-rotted down manure, some backyard lime or dolomite, and blood and bone. Plant the corms in early spring 5 cm deep into the chosen spot. Plant about 2 corms to the sq. meter, overcrowding the corms will dramatically scale back yield.

A wealthy, sandy, well-limed loam with a pH degree of 6.5 to 7.2 is required. Well composted animal manures or natural fertilizers can be utilized to enhance fertility. Keep the corms well-watered and permit progress to succeed in 10 cm excessive earlier than flooding 7-10 cm deep. Maintain this depth for the entire rising season which should be at the very least 7 frost-free months. Bruce grows his water chestnuts in cracker mud with added sand, seaweed, and granular diatomaceous earth.

Fill the container with water so it’s a few centimeters above soil degree and permit it to soak effectively for a couple of days.  Drain off the surplus water and permit it to sit down for a few weeks so the manure and fertilizers have time to breakdown a bit.  In ideally suited rising situations 1 corm will multiply to 100 in a superb rising season, some sources advocate in a sq. meter it is best to plant 1 corm others 2 some say to plant them 30cm aside.  Plant corms 10cm deep within the soil, preserve the soil moist however not submerged till their shoots are about 20-25 cm excessive, then fill with water to about 10cm above soil degree.  This water degree should be maintained till the corms are prepared to reap.  It takes about eight months from planting till harvest.  When the climate begins to chill in Autumn the leaves of the water chestnut will begin to go yellow colour, which suggests they’re virtually able to be harvested, drain off or take away the water leaving the corms within the moist soil for one more month till the shoots die again and are straw-colored.  If you don’t wish to harvest them at the moment take away the useless plant leaves and the corms will be left below the soil for the cooler months (a couple of chilly nights will sweeten them) however come spring they may begin to shoot once more.  In containers harvest the corms by hand to keep away from damaging their delicate skins; the corms might be within the high 10cm of the soil.

Select a few greatest corms to retailer for planting in a couple of months when the nice and cozy climate arrives, preserve them in a darkish cool to a chilly place in chilly water or damp sphagnum moss or damp sand.  Corms which have been frozen or dried out is not going to develop and to retailer for later use seal in plastic luggage within the backside of the fridge, they may also preserve effectively in cool damp sand.  Bruce prepares a big about 20cm plastic pot with mulch or shredded paper within the base.  This coated with a skinny layer of seaweed.  Lifts the water chestnuts with minimal root disturbance and locations them within the pot.  This is roofed with a skinny layer of seaweed. This is roofed with a skinny layer of seaweed after which extra shredded paper and mulch.  The pot is stored barely moist over winter after which locations the pot in deep shade below a tree.

Water Chestnut rising in containers and ponds

Water Chestnut fruits are straightforward to develop in any container that holds water, reminiscent of an outdated bathtub or Styrofoam vegetable field. The vegetation will be grown in a plastic-lined trench (above floor, or dug in), or in massive plant pots which might be submerged in a pond. Chestnuts will be grown in floating rafts on ponds.

Hydroponic Water Chestnuts

Water Chestnut fruits are grown hydroponically, utilizing buckets and an acceptable medium reminiscent of permite plus vermiculite. Then, the buckets will be stored topped up with an outdated nutrient resolution from different crops. Growers report having success with various kinds of hydroponic methods for rising Water Chestnuts. You may select the ebb and move system, a tray desk system, or a deep move hydroponic system. Flood and drain is one other one that may be efficient and it’s important to guarantee that plant roots don’t get submerged for too lengthy, in any other case, they could rot. You want a powerful steady rising media to carry the Water Chestnut plant in place whereas it develops. Some growers advocate issues like gravel or rock wool. An ideally suited temperature vary for hydroponic Water Chestnuts is described as round 25-32°C. These vegetation want round half a yr to develop below excessive mild. Like different varieties of vegetation, Water Chestnut vegetation will be weak to small flies and different pests. Growers wish to apply neem oil or another pure substance to vegetation to counteract the sort of injury.

Reproductive habits of Water Chestnuts

Seeds germinate within the spring with every seed producing about 10 to 15 rosettes and every rosette able to producing as much as 20 seeds. The Water Chestnut vegetation begin to produce arduous, nut-like seeds in July with the seeds ripening in a couple of month. Overwintering of populations is completed when the mature, greenish-brown seeds sink to the underside the place they’ll stay viable within the sediment for as much as about 12 years. The plant spreads by the rosettes detaching from their stems and floating to a different space, or extra typically by the nuts being swept by currents or waves to different components of the lake or river.

Harvesting and yield of Water chestnut

Harvesting of this nut is completed in September and continues as much as November.  For the harvesting stage, specifically made rafts are utilized by the growers. The yield of recent nut vary between 2500-3800 kg per hectare space of the pond which might be elevated as much as  5000 kg per hectare by making use of about 50 kg of urea per hectare of the pond together with eradication of weeds. Water Chestnut fruit yield is about 2500-3500 kg per hectare.

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Commonly requested questions on Water chestnut cultivation

Can I develop water chestnuts at dwelling?

Water Chestnuts are straightforward to develop in any container that holds water. Water Chestnuts will also be grown in floating rafts on ponds.

How a lot time to develop water chestnuts at dwelling?

Water Chestnuts want managed irrigation and 220 frost-free days to succeed in maturity.

Are water chestnuts wholesome?

Water chestnuts are an awesome supply of fiber. Summary Water chestnuts are nutritious and comprise excessive quantities of fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, and riboflavin. Most of their energy come from carbs.

Are chestnuts and water chestnuts the identical factor?

Both Chestnut tree and Water Chestnuts are scrumptious, however they’re totally unrelated and belong to 2 completely different plant households. Tree chestnuts belong to the beech tree household, that are forest timber and shrubs. The Chestnuts are shiny brown colour nuts that develop from catkin-like flowers. The Water Chestnut belongs to the sedge household, which is rush like vegetation that dwell in boggy or aquatic locations. Water Chestnuts are underground stem enlargements referred to as corms, and the vegetation should be dug as much as harvest the corms.