Fenugreek (Methi) : Learn uses, varieties, sowing, manuring, inter-culture & harvesting

Introduction & Uses:

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is one of important spice crop & principal odoriferous constituents of curry powder. The green leaves contain minerals, protein, vitamin A & C abundantly. Dried seeds are used for flavoring & food preparations. It prevents constipation, removes indigestion, & stimulate spleen & liver. Seed contains diosgenin which is used in preparation of abortion medicines. Bitterness is due to di-alkaloid trigonella.

Origin:

Fenugreek is supposed to be originated from south-eastern Europe & west Asia. (Thompson & Kelly)

Botanical facts:

  • Annual herb with height of 0.9 meters.
  • Flowers are white or yellow in color.
  • It is leguminous crop capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen to increase soil fertility.

 Varieties:

No recommended varieties of fenugreek in Nepal however, introduced varieties from India are:

  • Lam selection 1
  • Pusa early bunching
  • Kasuri selection 1
  • Methi no 47
  • Methi no 42
  • Methi no 16
  • Prabha
  • Rajendra Kranti
  • Barbara

Cultivation techniques:

Climate:

It is cool season crop which is fairly tolerant to frost where kasuri methi needs comparatively cooler climate. It is grown in moderate or low rainfall areas while the areas with heavy rainfall are not suitable for its cultivation.

Soil & Land preparation:

It can be grown on wide range of soils. Well drained, sandy loam soils are best suited for it however satisfactory crop can be grown in heavy & alluvial soils. The best soil pH range is 6.0-7.0 for its better growth, development & yield.

Field should be well prepared for early crop growth. One ploughing with soil turning plough followed by 3-4 light ploughing & planking of field to make clod free levelled land. Beds of 3-5 meters long & 1.25-1.75 m width are recommended optimum for irrigated condition.

Manuring & Fertilization:

It is light feeder crop that requires low fertility. Since it is capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen which requires low amount of nitrogenous fertilizer. Incorporate 15 tons of FYM during land preparation with recommended 120: 80: 40 kg NPK/ha. The nitrogen is applied in 3 equal split dose with 1st application a month after sowing, 2nd & 3rd after 2 months of second & third cuttings.

Seed inoculation with Rhizobium melilotii helps to obtain taller plants with a higher seed yield but the maturity is delayed.

Calculate the required fertilizer for crops here.

Sowing season & seed rate:

Common methi for seed is sown from September to November.

For green leaves: September to March

Kasuri methi are sown in December.

Both species are sown in autumn in Hilly region.

The required seed rate for common methi is 25 kg/ha while 20 kg/ha is enough for kasuri type.

Sowing system & spacing:

Seed is sown by broadcasting in beds with raking surface. If seeds are to taken, the crop should be grown in lines with spacing of 30 * 2-3 (cm * cm). line sowing helps in weeding & other inter-cultural operations. Germination may take upto 5-8 days for both type in average.

Irrigation & inter-culture:

Frequent adequate irrigation is necessary to obtain quick growth of crops. First irrigation-just after sowing, second after 1st cutting, & subsequent irrigation upon necessary. Generally, irrigation is provided at 7-8 days interval.

PGRs:

From the research reports, spraying of ascorbic acid solution @ 250-450 mg/liter on the seedlings resulted in taller stem, more enlarged leaves, & a greater number of flowers & fruits per plant. Spraying of GA3 @ 10-100 ppm enhanced the internodal length, height, & slightly increased the number of nodes & leaves.

Harvesting & yield:

When used as leafy vegetable, common methi are nipped off in about 3 weeks after sowing. High number of cuttings can be taken from kasuri type methi. First cutting is ready after 25-30 days after sowing & subsequent cuttings after interval of 12-15 days. After 2-3 cuttings plant are left for seed otherwise, they are uprooted after 4-5 cuttings. Yellow buds are harvested & sun dried in small bundles. Seeds are retained by beating with stick & dried to desirable moisture.

Green leaves:

Common methi: 70-80 q/ha

Kasuri methi: 90-100q/ha

Seed:

Common methi: 12-15 q/ha

Kasuri type: 6-7 q/ha

Plant protection:

Diseases:

Downy mildew:

  1. spray 0.2 % solution of Indofil M-45 and repeat at 15 days interval.

Root Rot:

  1. Follow crop rotation for 2-3 years.
  2. seed treatment with Thiram or Captan @ 2g/kg of seed.
  3. soil drenching with 0.1% Carbendazim or Captan also helps in controlling this disease.

Leaf Spot:

  1. Fungicide like Mancozeb is effective against this disease.

Methi Mosaic:

  1. Rogue out the infected plants.
  2. Control the vector that transmits the disease.

Insects-Pests:

The crop is not prone to severe damage by any insects. However, the major insects are similar to that of coriander.

  1. Aphid:
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 0.03% at 15 days interval.
  1. Mite:
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 0.03% at 15 days interval.
  1. Stink bug:
  • Alternate hosts like citrus, coffee, 7 rice should be avoided.
  • Spray dimethoate (0.03%) at regular interval.
  1. Whitefly:
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 0.03% at 15 days interval.
  1. Root knot nematode:
  • Plant resistant varieties if nematodes are known to be present in the soil.
  • Solarizing soil can reduce nematode populations in the soil.

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