Agriculture Education Essay
An interim development plan was prepared for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. It was agreed that the three existing courses in plant-breeding and genetics provided an adequate scientific background in this field and that priority should now go to fruit and vegetable production. To this end, two new courses should be added so that the overall course would include: vegetable growing, vegetable production (two courses) and seed production. – 5- 19.
In vegetable growing, in addition to the existing areas of definition, classification, soil and climatic requirements, the Faculty should add rotation, green manuring and kitchen garden cultivation. The two courses in vegetable production would give time for major crops to be dealt with in greater detail and for more practical training. The area in Sind under vegetable cultivation is increasing steadily as farmers realise its value for cash crops, but the yield is still very low. This is due mainly to lack of knowledge and experience (which the agricultural extension services could provide) and a lack of good seed.
2 0. A course in vegetables, fruit and ornamental plant seed production should be offered. Students would learn how to collect, harvest, clean, dry, pack and store seeds and they would study seed dormancy, germination and treatment, together with methods of breeding self and cross-pollinated crops. Postgraduate Curricula 21. The present postgraduate curricula cover horticultural plant nutrition, plant propagation and fruit production (two p arts). This last should be replaced by two new courses : (a) the soil and water relations of horticultural plants; (b) temperature and water relations of horticultural plants.
Optional courses should be introduced for M. Sc. students to supply them with additional information needed in their fields of study. Options could include courses on major horticultural crops and general courses on the improvement of horticultural plants, on growth” regulators and on protected cultivation. As most research experiments on vegetables must be conducted at the Agricultural Research Institute at Mirpurkhas, 30 miles away, it was decided that priority should be given to raising vegetable crops at Malir, the university Farm,to provide the Horticultural Department with the facilities needed for research.
Vegetable Crops (1) Objectives and Methods 22. The main objectives of the Horticultural Department in growing vegetable crops were to provide practical training for staff, students and labourers; to become familiar with problems of vegetable production in Sind; to evaluate crops and varieties, and seed production. It was planned to start by using two acres in the horticultural garden for growing most of the vegetable crops for practical training, and four acres at Malir Farm for a four-year crop rotation.
Winter vegetables, carrots, radishes, turnips, cauliflowers, spinach and beet, were grown in the garden. The local varieties were identified, evaluated, weighed and measured. Promising varieties of radish, carrot and onion could be improved by breeding. All peas and spinach were of poor quality, most of the peas being dwarf types, with an average plant height of only ten – twelve inches. – 6- The spinach varieties were prickly-seeded and, during the shortest winter days, started flowering early. The seed stalks had an extreme male-type of inflorescence.
Seed of selected suitable varieties of peas and spinach should be imported. (2) Growing Methods (a) Trailed Tomatoes; 2 4. Trailing tomatoes were tried in the open; local and imported varieties were planted and supported by iron stakes, galvanised wire and plastic string. Students and labourers were trained to tie the vines to strings, to pinch and remove auxiliary shoots and to apply fertilisers. The trial was successful, the plants standing well throughout the season and bearing -heavily. Later, owing to virus diseases on some vines, all plants were removed and burnt.
A second trial was begun in the summer, the tomato vines being shaded by luffa plants – ridge gourd (luffa acutangula) and sponge gourd (luffa aegyptica) – the small luffa fruit being edible. (b) Soil-level mulches: 2 5. Cucurbits – bitter gourd (mermodica charanta), tinda or Indian squash (citrullos vulgaris, var fistulosa), tori (luffa s p. ), cucumber and cantalope were grown- early. Seeds were planted on December 21st in hillocks on raised beds covered with clear polyethylene film to form soil-level mulches.
Two weeks later, seed emergence was observed, with a minimum temperature o f 6 C. Minimum and maximum temperatures and germination percentages were recorded. (c) Plastic tunnels: 2 6. Plastic walk-in and mini-tunnels were” made of local materials. The mini-tunnels were used for raising nursery plants and for getting tomato, pepper and egg-plant seedlings• They gave high germination percentages and well-established seedlings. The walk-in tunnels were used for trailed tomatoes and for cucumbers, temperature and humidity data being recorded.