Custard Apple Farming
Custard Apple is also known as Sitaphal, Sugar Apple and shareefa. It is a delicious sweet fruit. For this reason people like to eat it very much. There are many benefits of eating it. The use of Sitaphal gives relief from many diseases like heart related, stomach related, cancer, weakness and joint pain.
In India its cultivation is in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. It is highly cultivated in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. Maharashtra tops the list with the production of 92,320 tonnes of Custard Apple.
If it is cultivated by scientific method then the farmers here can get good income from it. It will also help in nutritional security.
Custard Apple is a sweet and delicious fruit. It is also called Sitaphal. Its botanical name is Annonsquamosa. Its leaves are dark green in colour. In which no animal eats it due to its special smell. Therefore its plant does not require special care. Also, its plants do not get harmful insects and diseases. Sharifa is also a plant of medicinal importance.
Some health benefits of eating Custard Apple:
Custard Apple leaves act as a tonic in heart disease because tetrahydro isoquinocene alkaloid is found in its leaves. Its roots are beneficial in the treatment of acute diarrhea. The fruit of Custard Apple is also considered very good from the point of view of nutrition. 14.5 percent sugar is found in fruits, which is high in glucose.
Apart from food Custard Apple is also widely used commercially. Its seeds are dried and their oil is extracted. This oil is used to make soap and paint.
Things to keep in mind in the cultivation of Custard Apple budding plant should be used for planting Custard Apple.
Plant only disease free plants. Also, plant only low height, straight and healthy plants.
Fill the soil near the plant. Plant the plant only in the evening.
Planting should be done in July-August or February-March only.
Irrigation should be continued after transplanting the plant.
In summer season, irrigation should be done within 15 days.
For good yield, apply organic and chemical fertilizers from time to time.
Land & Climate requirement for Custard Apple:
Custard Apple plants can be planted in almost all types of land. But loamy soil with good drainage is suitable for its growth and production. Its yield is good even in weak and rocky soil. Its plant tolerates up to 50 percent lime content in the soil. The pH value of land is considered good to pH 5.5 to 6.5. Areas with hot and dry climate where there is no frost are more suitable for the custard plant. Its crop is damaged in frosty areas.
Planting of Custard Apple saplings:
Custard Apple can be planted n the month of beginning of Rainy season like month of July. It takes a long time for the seeds of Sharifa to establish. Therefore soaking the seeds in water for 3-4 days before sowing leads to early germination. Wherever its plant is to be planted directly in the garden 3-4 seeds are sown at one place by making a plate.
When the plant is about 15 cm, then the extra plants should be removed and only one plant should be left to grow. After sowing the seeds in the nursery, a lot of custard plant dies after transplanting the plants the best way to do this is to fill the soil in polythene bags and plant the seeds and when the plants are ready then fill the soil in polythene bags with the seeds. Plant it and when the plants are ready, then separate the polythene bags at the bottom.
Plant the plant along with the the prepared pit in the garden. 60 x 60 x 60 cm for custard plant in summer. Pits of size 5 x 5 m. are prepared at a distance. After keeping these pits open for 15 days, 5-10 kg rotten manure of cow dung 500 grams cake of Karanj and 50 grams of NPK mixture should be filled in the upper soil. After this, press the pit well and make a plate around it and give water. If there is no rain, then irrigating the plants on 3-4 days is good for plant establishment.
Some important variety of Custard Apple:
Varieties of Custard Apple are classified on the basis of location fruit size, colour, seed quantity. There are still a lack of authentic varieties of Sharifa mainly due to seed propagation. But some varieties have been selected on the basis of fruit and quality.
Balanagar: It is a suitable variety for dry area. Its fruits are light green in colour. Many of its local germplasm have been found in the forests here.
Arka Sahan: It is a hybrid variety whose fruits are relatively smooth and sweet. Red Custard Apple: This is a variety whose fruits are red in color and on an average, about 40-50 fruits are produced per year per tree. The purity of this variety remains to a great extent even when grown by seed.
Mammoth: Its yield is higher than that of red Custard Apple. This variety produces about 50-80 fruits per tree per year. The number of seeds is less in the fruits of this variety as compared to red Custard Apple.
Plant propagation for Custard Apple :
Custard Apple is mainly propagated by seed. But to maintain the purity of good varieties fast growth and early harvest the plant should be prepared by vegetative method. In vegetative method, more crop has been found than budding and grafting. The month of October-November for grafting and February-March for budding has been found suitable.
Plants prepared by seed start giving fruit in the third year while the plants prepared by budding and grafting start giving good fruit in the second year.
Shield Budding gives good success in the months of January to June and September-October. It is easiest to prepare saplings in Custard Apple by shield budding. The healthy and mature buds that came out in the previous season are selected for the wood. Root should be one year old and of pencil thickness. For about 15 days after transplanting, the bud is tied with thin polyethylene.
Manures and fertilizers for Custard Apple
Custard Apple trees bears fruit every year so for good yield proper amount of rotted dung manure and chemical fertilizers should be given. In a full grown tree of Custard Apple 20 kg. Dung manure 40 g. Nitrogen, 60 g. Phosphorus and 60 grams of potash should be given per tree per year.
Irrigation requirement for Custard Apple
It is necessary to water the custard plant in summer. For better yield, if drip irrigation should be used. This can save water and save fertilizer. If you do not use drip irrigation, then in summer you should irrigate at least ten to fifteen days interval. After one or two irrigations after the end of rain, the size of the fruit becomes large.
Planting and pruning & Maintenence
After planting the plant should be taken care of regularly. Weed control should be done from time to time in the plant plates. Fertilizers and fertilizers should be used in the plants in July-August and irrigation should be done as per the requirement.
New plants should be pruned to give proper structure for 3 years. While pruning, it should be kept in mind that 3-4 good branches should be allowed to grow on the stem till 50-60 cm height, so that 3-4 good branches should grow on all four sides. In Custard Apple, fruits mainly appear on new branches. Therefore, in order to develop more number of new branches the old dry and entangled branches should be cut off.
Flowering and fruiting
Flowering in Custard Apple lasts for a very long time. Flowering starts in North India from March itself and comes till July. It takes about a month for the flower buds to become visible from the eyes to full flowering and about 4 months after flowering until the fruit ripens. Ripe fruits start coming from September-October.
The fruits of Custard Apple should be plucked only when they are hard because they burst if left on the tree for a long time. Therefore, suitable stage should be selected for its harvesting. For this when the space between the two bulges on the fruit increases and their colour changes then it should be understood that the fruit is in the stage of ripening. Immature fruits should not be broken because these fruits do not ripen properly and the amount of sweetness also decreases from them.
Intercropping crops for Custard Apple
When the Custard Apple plants are small vegetables and other crops can be grown in the middle of it. In the orchard of Custard Apple French bean and vegetables have been found more suitable for first two to three years.
Yield Per plant for Custard Apple
It starts giving fruits from the third year of planting. A 4-5 year old plant produces 50-60 fruits whereas a full grown plant gives up to 80 – 100 fruits can get.