Alugbati can grow even under conditions of moderate soil fertility, but production is increased with the application of fertilizers, especially the organic types. A soil test is highly recommended to determine available N, P, and K. The fertilizer requirement is calculated based on the target yield. Apply compost or manure at 3-5 tons/ha during plot preparation and sidedress once a month with manure or compost at 20-30 bags/ha. Tea manure and fermented plant juice (FPj) may also be used.
To prepare tea manure, soak 3U sack of dried cow or horse manure in a % plastic drum (200-L capacity) of water. Soak for 5-7 days with frequent stirring. To prepare FPJ, mix three parts chopped plant shoots or banana trunk with one part raw sugar or molasses. Ferment mixture for 5-7 days. Dilute 1 part tea manure or FPj to 20-40 parts water and drench on the plots or use as foliar fertilizer. Top dressing with inorganic fertilizer such as urea at V2-I bag/ha after each harvest may also be done.
For commercial production, grow alugbati without trelli In home gardens, provide V-shaped trellis, semi-vertical, or vertical trellis to maximize space.
Alugbati requires plenty of water for optimum growth. During the dry season, use either furrow irrigation at 5-7 days interval or sprinkler irrigation daily. Provide drainage canals during the rainy season. Apply mulch to conserve soil moisture during the dry season and protect the soil during the wet season.
Early weed control is necessary to give alugbati a head start. Mulch with plastic or grasses/rice straw to suppress weed growth. With high density planting, spot weeding is already sufficient.
Pest and Disease Management
Alugbati is generally tolerant to pests and diseases, which makes it easy to grow organically. However, it server as a host to a number of insect pests such as leafminers and cutworms, which can be managed by regular harvesting. Root-knot nematodes can be minimized by crop rotation with corn and planting of marigold. Alugbati is also tolerant to leaf spot caused by Colletotrichum spp.
Alugbati is ready for harvest at 30-45 days after transplanting. Plants may be harvested either once (once over) or repeatedly, by priming. In once-over harvest, cut the stems or shoots close to the ground, or uproot the entire plant (if grown from seeds), then wash and tie in bundles. With multiple harvests, pick the shoots at weekly intervals.
Harvest late in the afternoon to reduce water loss and keep the produce in a cool, shaded place.
Alugbati wilts easily. A common market practice is to sprinkle the bundles with water or to wrap them in banana leaves to retain freshness. If harvested with the roots intact, keep the bundles fresh for up to 7 days by letting them stand in a basin of water. For home consumption, pack alugbati in styrofore boxes then store in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for up to 14 days.
Alugbati is highly selfed. Plants flower naturally during the short-day period. Seeds are ready to harvest when the fruits turn dark purple or dry altogether in the vine. Sun-dry to around 10% moisture content. To determine if the moisture content is acceptable, put some seeds inside a plastic bag and place under the sun. If condensation occurs after 20-30 minutes or more depending on how intense the heat of the sun is, continue sun-drying the seeds. Pack the dry seeds in moisture-proof containers and store in a cool, dry place. If properly stored, seeds can remain viable for about two years.
Cost and Return Analysis per Hectare (2007 data, in Pesos)
1. Variable Costs
a. Labor (P220/man-day [MD])
- Clearing (20 MD) – 4,400
- Bed preparation (30-50 MD) – 11,000
- Manure application (10 MD) – 2,200
- Sowing (2 MD) – 440
- Transplanting (20 MD) – 4,400
- Topdressing (20 MD) – 4,400
- Spraying (20 MD) – 4,400
- Weeding (30 MD) – 6,600
- Irrigation (300 MD) – 66,000
- Harvesting/sorting (240 MD) – 52,800
- Miscellaneous (e.g., hauling, repairs, etc.) (10 MD) – 2,200
- Seeds (3-5 kg) – 1,000
- Manure (40 sacks) – 3,200
- 14-14-14 (6 bags) – 4,938
- 46-0-0 (20 bags) – 19,420
- Fuel and oil – 4,000
- Packaging materials – 3,000
- Miscellaneous (e.g., pail, gloves, etc.) – 2,000
- Interest on Production Loans at 21% p.a. – 10,500
- Total (Variable Costs) – 206,898
2. Fixed Cost
- Land rental – 20,000
- Sprinkler (5 pairs) – 2,500
- Scythe (5 pcs) – 83
- Hoe (5 pcs) – 417
- Shovel (3 pcs) – 320
- Plastic drum (2 pcs) – 533
- Total (Fixed Costs) – 23,853
3. Total Costs
- Gross Income
- Regular season (at P10/kg with 80 t/ha yield – 800,000
- Offseason (at P20/kg with 40 t/ha yield) – 800,000
- Net Income
- Regular season – 569,249
- Offseason – 569,249
For more information (including plant and planting materials) please contact:
The Executive Director
PCARRD, Los Bahos 4030, Laguna
Tel. Nos. (049) 536-0014 to 20
Fax No. (049) 536-0016/536-7922
E-mail: [email protected]
source: PCCARD, FNRI-DOST, photo from www.foodrecap.net