The cool season vegetable cultivation in the plains of the district will start next week and end in February.

During the period, the Seed Processing Plant at Alathur, under the Vegetable and Fruit promotion Council, Keralam (VFPCK) will supply 10 lakh seedlings of cabbage and cauliflower to popularise cool-season cultivation using safe methods.

In the last five years, VFPCK had been engaged in the commercial production and supply of cabbage and cauliflower seedlings in the district. The Seed Processing Plant had bagged an order for the supply of 5 lakh seedlings from the State Horticulture Mission. Last year, due to adverse climatic conditions, the desired result could not be obtained, VFPCK officials said. This year, with a good monsoon, the situation is more favourable, they said.

VFPCK had introduced radical changes in production methods this year. Till last year, the seedlings were raised in green houses, a relatively old technology. This year, new poly houses were being used.

The potting mixture used to raise seedlings is a combination of coir-pith supplemented with trichoderma or pseudomonas. Now, perlites and vermiculates will also be used. (Vermiculite is a mineral that holds and absorbs water. Perlites does not absorb water).

This was adopted following the technical guidance provided by Narayanankutty, Scientist, Agricultural Research Station of the Kerala Agricultural University, Mannuthy.

Through these measures, the vigour and vitality of seedlings could be improved, VFPCK sources said. The seedlings are on sale at the Alathur plant at Rs.2 per seedling. For details, contact: 0492-222 2706 or 9446 022440.

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