Chinese Potato(Coleus parviflorous L.; Syn : Solenostemon rotundifolius); Labiatae

CO 1, Sree Dhara.

Red, loamy and well drained soils. Comes up well in shade with warm humid climate. It requires very good rainfall for its growth and cannot withstand drought conditions. In case rains are not received, irrigation has to be provided for satisfactory growth.
Raise a nursery, approximately one and half months prior to planting. An area of 500 m 2 is required to produce vines for planting one hectare of land. Cattle manure or compost may be applied @ 1 kg/m2 and ridges / mounds may be prepared at a closer spacing of 45/60 cm. Healthy tubers that weigh about 15-20 g may be planted at 5cm spacing on the ridges / mounds so as to accommodate 750-1200 kg tubers in 500 meter sq area during March April. Top-dress with urea (5 kg / 500 meter sq ) at about three weeks after planting to encourage good vine growth. Stem cutting of 15-20cm length from these sprouts also used as planting material. To enable rapid multiplication of the planting material, single node cuttings can be planted directly in the secondary nursery. Such single node cuttings produce axillary shoots within one week which can be planted in the main field.

The field is ploughed 4 to 5 times to a fine tilth and form ridges and furrows 60 cm apart. Use herbaceous cuttings of 10 cm length taken from the nursery beds and plant in the main field during July – October at a spacing of 30 cm on the ridges either in vertical or horizontal position. Horizontal planting of vines to a depth of 4-5 cm and exposing the terminal bud ensures quick establishment and promote tuber yield. In loose soils having good drainage, planting can also be done on flat beds with provision for drainage.

At weekly intervals.

FYM at 25 t/ha as basal and NPK at 30:60:150 kg/ha. Apply 30 kg N 30 days after planting at the time of earthing up along with 2 kg of Azospirillum. In case, the soil has eroded from the base of the plant, give one more earthing up at 30 days later to promote tuber formation.

2 or 3 weedings and earthing up 2 months after planting.

Leaf folding caterpillars and vine borers
Dipping the vines in insecticide solution (Dimethoate @ 1.7 ml/litre) for 10 minutes prior to planting is helpful. In case, severe damage is noticed in the field, field spraying may be adopted with Malathion.

Harvest the crop when the vines dry up at 4-5 months after planting. Pull out the plants and dig out the left over tubers in the field. Separate the tubers from the plant and destroy the crop residues by burning.

15 to 20 t/ha in 120 days.