AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
The principal vegetables grown in this district are onion, brinjal, sweet potato, carrot, tomato, fenugreek, lady's finger, radish and cabbage. They occupied an area of 17,953 acres in 1967-68 in the district. Table No. 19 gives the acreage under vegetables in the years 1961-62, 1964-65 and 1967-68 in the district.
The vegetable production in Sholapur district is limited to meet only the local demand. There is no exportable surplus of vegetables.
Onion: Onion (kanda), a tuber vegetable, is grown all over the district. It covered an area of 11,689 acres in 1967-68. It is mainly a garden-crop taken in soft black soil. The land is ploughed and pulverised thoroughly. Onion-seeds are sown in raised seed-beds at any time during the rains or cold season and are transplanted when about a month old. Before transplanting, the soil is irrigated. This crop requires very liberal manuring. Rotten cow-dung and phosphate are preferred. The onion crop requires water every eight or twelve days. Onion crop is ready for use in two months' time after transplanting but takes two months more to come to maturity. Onion is eaten by almost all classes, except a few orthodox and fastidious people. The leaves are eaten as a pot-herb.
Brinjal: Brinjal (vangi) is always an irrigated and manured crop and it is grown on rich soils, often on river-banks and gardens. It is grown throughout the district and covered an area of 2,258 acres in 1967-68. In gardens it is sown any time of the year. In dry land it is sown in June in seed-beds and transplanted in July. It begins to bear fruit in September and if irrigated goes on bearing for four months. The summer brinjal crop is planted in January. It begins to bear from the end of March. Brinjal is used very often as a vegetable at home and at community feasts.
Sweet potato: Sweet potato (ratale), a root vegetable, occupied an area of 1,481 acres in 1967-68. It is grown all over the district. It is of two varieties, red and white, of which the red is the smaller and sweeter. It thrives well in rich black soil. Cuttings or sets with three nodes are planted on both the sides of the ridges any time during the rains. The crop needs about six cart-loads of manure and frequent irrigation. The tender leaves are taken as a green vegetable and the root is eaten boiled and roasted. The root is also dried, ground to flour and eaten in the form of bread on auspicious and fast days. The ratale vine is an excellent fodder.
Carrot: Carrot (Gajar), grown in the district, occupied an area of 887 acres in 1967-68. It thrives well in good as well as medium black soil. It requires manure and water in abundance. It is sown in garden land at any time of the year and in dry crop lands in July or August. Sowing is done directly by broadcasting the seed in flat beds. The crop is ready for picking within three months of sowing. The root is eaten raw or boiled and is also used as a concentrate for cattle.
Tomato: Tomato is a fruit vegetable and occupied an area of 579 acres in 1967-68, mainly concentrated in North Sholapur and South Sholapur talukas. It is also fairly produced in Pandharpur, Mohol and Akkalkot talukas. It is grown on a variety of soils, but well drained light brown or black medium soil is more suitable. Tomato-seeds are propagated in nursery beds and the seedlings are transplanted after three to four weeks. Two seedlings are planted together. It is also grown as a mixed crop alongwith chillis and brinjals. It requires frequent irrigation and heavy doses of manure. Ammonium sulphate and groundnut cake are highly beneficial to the crop. The crop gets ready in 2½ to 3 months. Fruits which change colour from green to red are harvested. Harvesting goes on for about two months. Green tomatoes are used as a vegetable, while the ripe ones are either eaten as a table fruit or used in the preparation of salad.
Radish: Radish (mula), though usually produced as a main crop, is also taken as a mixed crop or inter-crop. It occupied an area of 104 acres in 1967-68. It is grown in the rainy season, as well as in the winter. But the winter crop is the main one. The winter radish is more tasty, crisp and fully grown. Mula grown in this district is of many varieties which vary in length, size and colour. Radish is grown with the help of manure at any time during the year in the garden lands. It is sown by propagating the seed either on bare soil or in-between other crops. It requires frequent irrigation at an interval of five to six days. The roots (mula) get ready for harvesting (uprooting) in about five to six weeks. The leaves are fit for eating in six weeks, and plant bears pod or dingris in a fortnight more, and continues bearing for a couple of months. The leaves are eaten boiled as a pot
herb and raw as a salad. The root is eaten as a vegetable, both raw and boiled.
Cabbage: Cabbage (kobi) occupied a small area of 29 acres in 1967-68 in the district. It is cultivated in loamy or clay loam soils. Intensive manuring and irrigation are of extreme importance for cabbage cultivation. Top-dressing of oil-cake and ammonium sulphate is usually given one month after plantation. The seeds of cabbage are sown in nursery beds in August and the seedlings are transplanted in September. The crop gets ready for harvesting in about three to four months. The cabbage heads are used as vegetable whereas the leaves are fed to cattle.
Bhendi: Bhendi (lady's finger) occupied an area of 156 acres in 1967-68. There are two varieties grown in the district. Both these varieties are grown in garden lands. They are also grown in dry-crop areas. As a dry crop, the early or gari bhendi with large leaves and short thick pods, is sown in June, grows about three feet high and bears pods from early August to December. The late or hali bhendi, with small leaves and thin prickly pods, sown in June or July along the edges of or in bajri crop grows seven feet high, begins to bear pods in late September and goes on bearing till the end of November. The green pods are eaten boiled or fried as a vegetable. The ripe seeds of bhendi are used in curry and chutney. The bark yields a fibre which is seldom used for any purpose.
Fenugreek: Fenugreek (methi) occupied an area of 362 acres in 1967-68. It is grown in garden land all over the district. It is sown at any time during the year. It is always an irrigated and manured crop and usually is ready to be cut in about three weeks' time. It gets mature in two and half months. When young, the entire plant is eaten as a pot-herb by all classes. The seed and the mature stalks serve as good fodder.