How to grow prickly pear
This plant is cultivated today in many countries, including: Mexico, the United States, Chile, Brazil, North Africa, South Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Tunisia on large regions of the country and Italy (mainly in Basilicata, Sicily, Calabria, Apulia and Sardinia). The prickly pear is more modest on the coast of Liguria; in this sheet we see how to grow prickly pear. It is an arid-resistant plant that requires temperatures above 6 ° C for optimal development. Longer winter temperatures below 0 ° C, though not a limiting factor for wild plants, depress the vegetative activity and productivity of crop plants and may lead to decomposition. It is a plant very adaptable to different soil conditions. Soils suitable for cultivation have a depth of about 20-40 cm, they are light or coarse soils, without water stagnation, and with pH values ranging between 5.0 and 7.5 (acidic, neutral or slightly subalcalinic) but grow also in soils With higher pH. From an altimetric point of view, the areas designated for cultivation can range from 150 to 750 meters above sea level.
The propagation of the fig tree is typically cut. These are obtained by cutting longitudinally into two parts of a one or two year old, which are left to dry for a few days and then placed into the soil, where they easily root. Pruning, to be carried out in spring or late summer, is used to prevent contact between cladodes, as well as to eliminate malformed or damaged ones. Potassium fertilizers are used to increase yields. But we always and wherever possible recommend that organica operated in the winter.
The cut of the flowers of the first bloom, which runs in May-June, makes it possible to obtain a second bloom, more abundant, with a longer maturation in the fall. According to this custom, the fruits that mature already in August, the so-called agostans, of small size, and the bigger and succulent late or bastardons, come to market in the fall.
Generally, the production of agostans does not require irrigation, which is obviously required for the production of bastardons.
Crop yields clearly vary if we are in dry or irrigated crops. In irrigated crops, yields of 250-350 quintals per hectare can be obtained.
The cultivars are basically three that differ in coloring the fruit: yellow (sulpharin), white-green chairo (Muscaredda) and red (blood). The Sulpharin cultivar is the most popular for its higher production capacity and good adaptability to intensive cultivation methods. In general, however, there is a tendency to integrate the cultivation of the three cultivars, in order to provide the market with a product characterized by chromatic variety.
Italian fig tree production ranges between 750,000 and 850,000 quintals per year. This production is mainly concentrated in the provinces of Catania, Caltanissetta and Agrigento. In fact, 90% of the area planted with fig tree is located in Sicily, the remaining 10% in Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia and Sardinia. In Sicily, more than 70% of the crops are concentrated in 3 areas: the hilly area of San Cono, the southeastern slope of the Etna slopes and the Belice Valley.
The fig tree of India, although it is a rustic plant, may be subject to several pathologies but these have been emphasized in recent times especially for the use of some techniques, including fertilization, carried out with little expertise and often to increase yields productive.
It follows that a culture that could be cultivated in a perfectly natural (biological) way is the subject of treatments that obviously have to affect the final qualitative aspect.
Among these adversities we cite: Dactylopius coccus, Cactoblastis cactorum, Ceratitis capitata, especially the coccinoles are mainly fed on cladders forming abundant colonies.
Even the wasps occasionally represent other serious damage-bearing agents. With the chewing mug apparatus they tear the epicarp and multiply the pulp repeatedly by gradually emptying the fruit. The attack principle in any way makes the product unusable as the wounds practiced allow the entry of microbial agents that cause rot and rotation.
Other adversity caused by the fig tree is caused by pathogenic agents, among which there are some ubiquitous fungal agents, root rotting agents (Fusarium sp. And Phytophtora sp.).
The Botryosphaeria ribis (Dothiorella ribis sessuata form) is responsible, with other species of the same species, for the formation of wet injuries on the stem of various plants. Among the most frequent specific cryptogamas in Sicily is the rumpy rust, caused by the fungus Phyllosticta opuntiae.