Tea World

Lesson 10

Germination of seeds and Sowing

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Before planting seeds in the nursery bed, seeds are cracked in germination pits. Pits of approximately 90 cm depth are dug at a dry highland location. A layer of sand is spread uniformly at the bottom of the pit. Tea seeds are placed singly in the sand keeping a portion of the seed exposed for observation. The sand is kept slightly moist. The seeds are observed daily for signs of cracking of the seed coat. Cracked seeds should be taken out preferably everyday to the nursery and sown from one end of the bed to prevent mixture of early and late germinating seedlings. Pre-germination of the seeds ensures uniform growth in the nursery,

Tea seeds are generally sown at a depth of about 1.5 cm with the eye (micropyle) pointing downward or parallel to the ground level at a spacing of 20 cm apart in triangular manner. After sowing the seeds, the bed is covered with a thin layer of mulch of cut grasses, leaves of green crops or cut weeds. This mulch should be scrapped away when the seedling starts germinating.

Sleeve nursery 

When suitable land or soil is not available for nursery seedlings can be raised in polythene sleeves filled up with soil brought from other suitable areas. The convenient size of the sleeve for one year old seedlings is 17.5 cm layflat tube of 150 gauge polythene film cut to a length of 25-30 cm. The soil to be used for filling the sleeves should be tested for its acidity status and nematode population as done for V.P. nurseries. The sleeve soil may be mixed well with rotten cattle manure at the ratio of 4:1 and super phosphate @0.5kg per m3 of soil. The sleeves should be filled up 3-4 weeks before sowing seeds and arranged in rows on the beds and regularly watered to get it settled.

The beds for keeping sleeves may not be prepared in details but should be firm and properly leveled and a little cambered. The sleeves should be moved regularly on the beds to prevent the tap root getting penetrated into the ground. The smaller, unhealthy plants should be isolated and kept in different nursery to eliminate domination by the healthy and strong ones.

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