propagation by seeds
starts with good seed quality.
Seed viability and germination rate.
Healthy Jatropha seeds should germinate within
10 days!! Find the complete
Germination of seeds is positively affected by a combination of
water, good drainage and high temperature.
Pre-soaking or other seed treatments does not
automatically improve germination and can even create adverse effects. Manure or
other additives do affect the germination rate negatively but stimulate growth
after germination positively.
a. Direct seeding in the field (Picture
AvP Tanzania 2008) is the cheapest and
easiest method. However......... although direct planting and direct seeding are
methods to minimize planting costs, these methods are quite risky.
- During a period of six
at least three months, enough water should be available to initiate rooting and to support
the establishment of the young seedlings.
- During the first
year, weed- or intercrop control is crucial, otherwise the young Jatropha plants
will be overgrown.
- Although cattle will not
eat Jatropha, they can step on it and destroy the young saplings.
Apart from the fact that direct seeding is
cheap, it also produces plants with a taproot, which might be an advantage in
dry periods. This statement however still has to be proven. Although it sounds
logical, there is hardly any scientific evidence or otherwise documented
information that plants from direct seeding are superior to transplanted
seedlings. (See planting methods)
In fact, there is no research showing the
influence of different root systems on plant yield and condition.
b. Direct seeding in seedbeds is cheap
and easy and successful, provided that the seedbeds are prepared properly.
(pictures by the author, Indonesia)
- Seedbeds should be prepared with ample
- The soil should be worked on till a depth
of at least 30 cm.
- There should be proper drainage.
- Seedbeds should be covered with straw (to
protect against rain!!), have natural shade from existing trees or
left uncovered. Jatropha seedlings love sunlight, provided there is enough water.
The more light, the stronger the seedlings.
- These seedlings could be transplanted in
poly bags after 2-3 weeks or directly into the field after on (6-10 weeks)
- Bare rooted seedlings should only be
planted when sufficient rain is expected or irrigationis is at place.
c. Direct seeding in polybags.
(Pictures D1 Malaysia)
is an excellent way to produce good Jatropha seedlings. However, it is more
expensive than the methods shown in a and
b, because of polybags, extra soil, and
transport costs to the planting area.
Seeding in polybags should therefore be located
as close as possible to the planting area.!
Special attention has to be
paid to the soil mixture. Soil in the bags should be
light and good draining. To many nutrients is not necessary and in fact will
negatively influence germination. Different local mixtures can be used to
fill the bags. Cocopeat turns out to be an excellent rooting medium, but
might be to expensive. Mixtures of soil and sand and compost (1-1-1) are
doing quit well. Make sure water and soil do not content to much salts. Farm
yard manure can be very salty. Do a small trial with different mixes from
available material before you start a big nursery. The trial takes you only
4 weeks. Materials that can be used: sand, soil, compost,
rice husk, peat, coco-peat, charcoal, saw dust.
Poly bags should not be to
big. Volume of about 3/4 ltr is enough to allow the roots to develop a root
ball. Smaller bags will cause poor root systems. Bigger bags will cause
problems at transplanting, because the root ball will break.
In case the mixture in the
pots is hampering drainage, germination rate will be low.
can stay in the bags from 6 weeks to 3 months before they become root bound.