Water Chestnut is a cash crop grown in ponds. In Madhya Pradesh, water chestnut is cultivated on about 6000 hectares. The raw and fresh fruits of water chestnut are mainly used. Apart from drying the ripe fruits, flour is made from its dough, the dishes made from which are used in fasting. The primary nutrients in water chestnut are protein 4.7% and sugar 23.3%, besides calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C are also available in micro amounts.
Water Chestnut Cultivation
Generally, water chestnut crops grown in ponds can be cultivated easily by adopting advanced farming techniques in low-lying fields. Water is filled up to about one to two feet from July to November-December. Adopting this technique, especially for the farmers of paddy areas like Balaghat, Seoni etc., can increase their yield per acre by one and a half times in low-lying fields.
Land And Climate
Water chestnuts are cultivated in areas with tropical climates. The field requires one to two feet of water for its cultivation. Therefore, it is produced in fields with stagnant water, and the amount of humus should be good. Loam or sandy loam soil whose pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.5, is more suitable for water chestnut production.
Water Chestnut Varieties
No improved species have been developed in water chestnuts. Still, in the prevalent varieties, early ripening varieties Harira Gathua, Lal Gathua, Katila, and Red Chikni Gulri, the first harvest takes place 120-130 days after transplanting. Similarly, in late maturing varieties – Kariya Harira, Gulra Harira, and Gapacha, the first harvest takes place in 150 to 160 days.
From April to June, 1-1 metre of these vines have to be planted in a pond that does not have weeds. To keep the seedlings safe, 300 kg super phosphate, 60 kg potash and 20 kg urea should be given per hectare in the pond. In addition, appropriate insecticides and fungicides should be used to prevent pests and diseases.
Water Chestnut Sowing Season
The sowing of water chestnuts starts with the monsoon rains. Therefore, water chestnuts are sown in June-July as soon as the rainy season starts, but plants are planted by making pits in the soil fields by the Swaraj 855 and filling them with water. Therefore, good profits can be earned from June to December, i.e. 6 months of water chestnut crop.
Water Chestnut Plant Propagation
For the nursery of water chestnut, healthy ripe fruits of the second harvest are selected for seed and kept in water till January. In the second week of February, these fruits are put in deep water in ponds or ditches in a safe place before germination. In March, the vine emerges from the fruits and becomes 1.5 to 2 metres long in about a month. After plucking one-metre-long vines from these vines, the planting is spread from April to June in a weed-free pond.
The first harvesting of early maturing water chestnut species occurs in early October, and the last harvesting in late December. Similarly, the first harvesting of late maturing water chestnut species occurs in early November, and the last harvesting is in late January. When harvesting, care should be taken that only fully ripe fruits are harvested.
Drying Of Fruits
The fruits of water chestnut are dried to make bundles. It should be dried in a barn or polythene for about 15-20 days and turned upside down at 2-4 days intervals so that the fruit dries well. Then the dried water chestnuts are transported to the markets with the Mahindra 575 for commercial purposes.
Water Chestnut Health Benefits
- Eating water chestnuts is beneficial if there is any kind of problem in the throat. For example, if you have a sore throat, sore throat or swelling of the tonsils, boil water chestnut and eat it.
- Drinking water chestnut flour mixed with milk is also beneficial for throat problems.
- Minerals like iodine and manganese in water chestnut are essential in preventing thyroid and goitre diseases.
- Consuming raw water chestnut helps reduce the pain and bleeding caused by piles.
- Eating water chestnuts during pregnancy keeps both the mother and the child healthy. It also reduces the risk of miscarriage. Apart from this, menstrual problems are also cured by eating water chestnuts.
- Water chestnuts can absorb manganese for the body, which gives the body the full benefits of manganese. Therefore, it is best suited for digestion as well as preventing many diseases that occur in old age.
- If there are acidic problems, then eating water chestnuts is beneficial. It eliminates acidity. It is also helpful in the issue of excess bile production and constipation. Eating water chestnuts gives a good appetite if there is no appetite.
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