Monday, January 23, 2012

Grapes Cultivation

A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil.


The cultivation of the domesticated grape began 6,000-8,000 years ago in the Near East. Yeast, one of the earliest domesticated microorganisms, occurs naturally on the skins of grapes, leading to the innovation of alcoholic drinks such as wine. First traces of red wine are seen in ancient Armenia where apparently, to date, the oldest winery was found, dating to around 4,000 BCE. By the 9th century CE the city of Shiraz was

known to produce some of the finest wines in the Middle east. Thus it has been proposed that Syrah red wine is named after Shiraz, a city in Persia where the grape was used to make Shirazi wine. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics record the cultivation of purple grapes, and history attests to the ancient Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans growing purple grapes for both eating and wine production. Later, the growing of grapes spread to Europe, North Africa, and eventually North America.

Native purple grapes belonging to the Vitis genus proliferated in the wild across North America, and were a part of the diet of many Native Americans, but were considered by European colonists to be unsuitable for wine. The first Old World Vitis vinifera purple grapes were cultivated in California.


Grapes are a type of fruit that grow in clusters of 15 to 300, and can be crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange, and pink. "White" grapes are actually green in color, and are evolutionarily derived from the purple grape. Mutations in two regulatory genes of white grapes turn off production of anthocyanins which are

responsible for the color of purple grapes. Anthocyanins and other pigment chemicals of the larger family of polyphenols in purple grapes are responsible for the varying shades of purple in red wines. Grapes are also used in some kinds of confectionery. Grapes are typically an ellipsoid shape resembling a prolate spheroid.


Yaquti Grapes production in 2008, Iran.

Most grapes come from cultivars of Vitis vinifera, the European grapevine native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Minor amounts of fruit and wine come from American and Asian species such as:
Vitis labrusca, the North American table and grape juice grapevines (including the concord cultivar), sometimes used for wine, are native to the Eastern United States and Canada.

Vitis riparia, a wild vine of North America, is sometimes used for winemaking and for jam. It is native to the entire Eastern U.S. and north to Quebec.

Vitis rotundifolia, the muscadines, used for jams and wine, are native to the Southeastern United States from Delaware to the Gulf of Mexico.

Vitis amurensis is the most important Asian species.

Distribution and production

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 75,866 square kilometres of the world are dedicated to grapes. Approximately 71% of world grape production is used for wine, 27% as fresh fruit, and 2% as dried fruit. A portion of grape production goes to producing grape juice to be reconstituted for fruits canned "with no added sugar" and "100% natural". The area dedicated to vineyards is increasing by about 2% per year.

Concord is a variety of North American labrusca grape

The following table of top wine-producers shows the corresponding areas dedicated to grapes for wine making:

Country Area dedicated

Spain              11,750 km2
France              8,640 km2
Italy                  8,270 km2
Turkey              8,120 km2
United States    4,150 km2
Iran                  2,860 km2
Romania           2,480 km2
Portugal            2,160 km2
Argentina          2,080 km2
Chile                 1,840 km2
Australia           1,642 km2
Armenia            1,459 km2
Lebanon            1,122 km2

Top Ten Grapes Producers – 8 October 2009
Country Production (Tonnes) 
Italy                    8,519,418
China                  6,787,081
United States      6,384,090
France                6,044,900
Spain                  5,995,300
Turkey                3,612,781
Iran                     3,000,000
Argentina            2,900,000
Chile                   2,350,000
India                   1,667,700
World              67,221,000

There are no reliable statistics that break down grape production by variety. It is, however, believed that the most widely planted variety is Sultana, also known as Thompson Seedless, with at least 3,600 km2. (880,000 acres) dedicated to it. The second most common variety is Airén. Other popular varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Grenache, Tempranillo, Riesling and Chardonnay.

List of grape varieties

This list of grape varieties includes cultivated grapes, whether used for wine, or eating as a table grape, fresh or dried (raisin, currant, sultana).

The term grape variety actually refers to cultivars rather than botanical varieties according to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants, because they are propagated by cuttings and may have unstable

reproductive properties. However, the term variety has become so entrenched in viticulture that any change to usage of the term cultivar is unlikely.

 Single species grapes 
 Vitis vinifera grapes (wine)
 Red grapes
 White grapes
 Vitis vinifera (wine and table)
 Red table grapes
 White table grapes
 Vitis labrusca (wine and table)
 Wine grapes
 Red table grapes
 Purple/Blue table grapes
 Vitis riparia (wine grape rootstock and hybridization source)
 Vitis rotundifolia (table and wine)
 Vitis rupestris
 Vitis aestivalis (wine)
 Vitis mustangensis (wine)

 Multispecies hybrid grapes 
 Vinifera hybrids (wine)
 Vinifera hybrids (table)
 Non-vinifera hybrids (table and wine)
 Non-vinifera hybrids (rootstock)

Commercially cultivated grapes can usually be classified as either table or wine grapes, based on their intended method of consumption: eaten raw (table grapes) or used to make wine (wine grapes). While almost all of them belong to the same species, Vitis vinifera, table and wine grapes have significant differences, brought about through selective breeding. Table grape cultivars tend to have large, seedless fruit (see below) with relatively thin skin. Wine grapes are smaller, usually seeded, and have relatively thick skins (a desirable characteristic in winemaking, since much of the aroma in wine comes from the skin). Wine grapes also tend to be very sweet: they are harvested at the time when their juice is approximately 24% sugar by weight. By comparison, commercially produced "100% grape juice", made from table grapes is usually around 15% sugar by weight.

Seedless grapes

Although grape seeds contain many nutrients, some consumers choose seedless grapes; seedless cultivars now make up the overwhelming majority of table grape plantings. Because grapevines are vegetatively propagated by cuttings, the lack of seeds does not present a problem for reproduction. It is, however, an issue for breeders, who must either use a seeded variety as the female parent or rescue embryos early in development using tissue culture techniques.

There are several sources of the seedlessness trait, and essentially all commercial cultivators get it from one of three sources: Thompson Seedless, Russian Seedless, and Black Monukka, all being cultivars of Vitis vinifera. There are currently more than a dozen varieties of seedless grapes. Several, such as Einset Seedless, Reliance and Venus, have been specifically cultivated for hardiness and quality in the relatively cold climates of northeastern United States and southern Ontario.

An offset to the improved eating quality of seedlessness is the loss of potential health benefits provided by the enriched phytochemical content of grape seeds .


In most of Europe, dried grapes are referred to as "raisins" or the local equivalent. In the UK, three different varieties are recognized, forcing the EU to use the term "Dried vine fruit" in official documents.

A raisin is any dried grape. While raisin is a French loanword, the word in French refers to the fresh fruit; grappe  refers to the bunch .

A currant is a dried Zante Black Corinth grape, the name being a corruption of the French raisin de Corinthe (Corinth grape). Currant has also come to refer to the blackcurrant and redcurrant, two berries unrelated to grapes.

A sultana was originally a raisin made from Sultana grapes of Turkish origin (known as Thompson Seedless in the United States), but the word is now applied to raisins made from either white grapes, or red grapes which are bleached to resemble the traditional sultana.

French Paradox

Comparing diets among Western countries, researchers have discovered that although the French tend to eat higher levels of animal fat, surprisingly the incidence of heart disease remains low in France. This phenomenon has been termed the French Paradox, and is thought to occur from protective benefits of regularly consuming red wine. Apart from potential benefits of alcohol itself, including reduced platelet aggregation and vasodilation, polyphenols (e.g., resveratrol) mainly in the grape skin provide other suspected health benefits, such as:

Alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels, reducing susceptibility to vascular damage
Decreased activity of angiotensin, a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure

Increased production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide (endothelium-derived relaxing factor)

Although adoption of wine consumption is not recommended by some health authorities, a significant volume of research indicates moderate consumption, such as one glass of red wine a day for women and two for men, may confer health benefits. Emerging evidence is that wine polyphenols like resveratrol provide physiological benefit whereas alcohol itself may have protective effects on the cardiovascular system.

Grape phytochemicals such as resveratrol (a polyphenol antioxidant), have been positively linked to inhibiting any cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, viral infections and mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease.

Protection of the genome through antioxidant actions may be a general function of resveratrol. In laboratory studies, resveratrol bears a significant transcriptional overlap with the beneficial effects of calorie restriction in heart, skeletal muscle and brain. Both dietary interventions inhibit gene expression associated with heart and skeletal muscle aging, and prevent age-related heart failure.

Resveratrol is the subject of several human clinical trials, among which the most advanced is a one year dietary regimen in a Phase III study of elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Synthesized by many plants, resveratrol apparently serves antifungal and other defensive properties. Dietary resveratrol has been shown to modulate the metabolism of lipids and to inhibit oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and aggregation of platelets.

Resveratrol is found in wide amounts among grape varieties, primarily in their skins and seeds which, in muscadine grapes, have about one hundred times higher concentration than pulp. Fresh grape skin contains about 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratrol per gram.

 Anthocyanins tend to be the main polyphenolics in purple grapes whereas flavan-3-ols (i.e. catechins) are the more abundant phenolic in white varieties. Total phenolic content, a laboratory index of antioxidant strength, is higher in purple varieties due almost entirely to anthocyanin density in purple grape skin compared to absence of anthocyanins in white grape skin. It is these anthocyanins that are attracting the efforts of scientists to define their properties for human health. Phenolic content of grape skin varies with cultivar, soil composition, climate, geographic origin, and cultivation practices or exposure to diseases, such as fungal infections.

Red wine may offer health benefits more so than white because potentially beneficial compounds are present in grape skin, and only red wine is fermented with skins. The amount of fermentation time a wine spends in contact with grape skins is an important determinant of its resveratrol content. Ordinary non-muscadine red wine contains between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/L, depending on the grape variety, because it is fermented with the skins, allowing the wine to absorb the resveratrol. By contrast, a white wine contains lower phenolic contents because it is fermented after removal of skins.

Wines produced from muscadine grapes may contain more than 40 mg/L, an exceptional phenolic content.In muscadine skins, ellagic acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and trans-resveratrol are major phenolics. Contrary to previous results, ellagic acid and not resveratrol is the major phenolic in muscadine grapes.

The flavonols syringetin, syringetin 3-O-galactoside, laricitrin and laricitrin 3-O-galactoside are also found in purple grape but absent in white grape.

Since the 1980s, biochemical and medical studies have demonstrated significant antioxidant properties of grape seed oligomeric proanthocyanidins. Together with tannins, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, these seed constituents display inhibitory activities against several experimental disease models, including cancer, heart failure and other disorders of oxidative stress.

Grape seed oil from crushed seeds is used in cosmeceuticals and skincare products for many perceived health benefits. Grape seed oil is notable for its high contents of tocopherols (vitamin E), phytosterols, and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid, oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.

Concord grape juice

Commercial juice products from Concord grapes have been applied in medical research studies, showing potential benefits against the onset stage of cancer, platelet aggregation and other risk factors of atherosclerosis, loss of physical performance and mental acuity during aging and hypertension in humans.

Grape diseases
1 Bacterial diseases
2 Fungal diseases
3 Miscellaneous diseases and disorders
4 Nematodes, parasitic
5 Phytoplasma, Virus and viruslike diseases

Bacterial diseases

The Glassy-winged sharpshooter is the primary carrier of Pierce's disease.Bacterial diseases
Bacterial blight (bacterial necrosis) Xylophilus ampelinus = Xanthomonas ampelina
Crown gall Agrobacterium tumefaciens
Pierce's disease Xylella fastidiosa

Fungal diseases

The effects of Bird's eye (or Anthracnose) rot.

Botrytis or "Noble rot".

The effects of downy mildew on a grape leaf.

Powdery mildew on grapes.Fungal diseases
Alternaria rot Alternaria alternata
Angular leaf scorch
Pseudopezicula tetraspora

Phialophora-type [anamorph]
Angular leaf spot
Mycosphaerella angulata
Cercospora brachypus [anamorph]
Anthracnose and bird's-eye rot
Elsinoe ampelina
Sphaceloma ampelinum [anamorph]
Armillaria root rot (shoestring root rot)
Armillaria mellea

Rhizomorpha subcorticalis [anamorph]
Aspergillus rot Aspergillus niger
Botrytis (Grey Rot or Noble Rot) Botrytis cinerea

Miscellaneous diseases and disordersMiscellaneous diseases and disorders
Berry rot Yeasts
Black measles Presumably toxins from wood-rotting fungi; see Wood rot (decay)
Chlorosis Iron deficiency

Esca (Apoplexy) Presumably toxins from wood-rotting fungi; see Wood rot (decay)
Fasciation Genetic disorder
Little leaf Zinc deficiency
Oxidant stipple Ozone

Rupestris speckle Physiological disorder
Stem necrosis (water berry, grape peduncle necrosis) Physiological disorder

Nematodes, parasiticNematodes, parasitic
Tylenchulus semipenetrans
Dagger, American
Xiphinema americanum
Xiphinema spp.
Xiphinema index
Pratylenchus spp.
Pratylenchus vulnus
Longidorus spp.
Paratylenchus hamatus
Rotylenchulus spp.
Criconemella xenoplax
Meloidogyne arenaria
Meloidogyne hapla
Meloidogyne incognita
Meloidogyne javanica
Helicotylenchus spp.
Paratrichodorus christiei
Tylenchorhynchus spp.

Phytoplasma, Virus and viruslike diseasesVirus and viruslike diseases
Alfalfa mosaic Alfalfa mosaic virus
Arabis mosaic Arabis mosaic virus
Artichoke Italian latent Artichoke Italian latent virus
Asteroid mosaic Undetermined, viruslike

Bois noir (black wood disease) phytoplasma
Bratislava mosaic Bratislava mosaic virus
Broad bean wilt Broad bean wilt virus
Corky bark Grapevine Virus B
Enation Undetermined, viruslike

Fanleaf degeneration (infectious degeneration and decline) Grapevine fanleaf virus
Flavescence dorée MLO
Fleck (Marbrure) Undetermined, viruslike
Grapevine Bulgarian latent Grapevine Bulgarian latent virus
Grapevine chrome mosaic Grapevine chrome mosaic virus
Grapevine yellows phytoplasma

Leafroll Closterovirus-associated
Peach rosette mosaic virus decline Peach rosette mosaic virus
Petunia asteroid mosaic Petunia asteroid mosaic virus
Raspberry ringspot Raspberry ringspot virus

Rupestris stem pitting Undetermined, viruslike
Shoot necrosis Undetermined, viruslike
Sowbane mosaic Sowbane mosaic virus
Strawberry latent ringspot Strawberry latent ringspot virus
Tobacco mosaic Tobacco mosaic virus

Tobacco necrosis Tobacco necrosis virus
Tobacco ringspot virus decline Tobacco ringspot virus
Tomato black ring Tomato black ring virus

Tomato ringspot virus decline Tomato ringspot virus
Vein mosaic Undetermined, viruslike
Yellow speckle Viroid

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peas Cultivation

Scientific classification
Kingdom         : Plantae
(unranked)       : Angiosperms
(unranked)       : Eudicots
(unranked)       : Rosids
Order              . Fabales
Family              : Fabaceae
Subfamily         : Faboideae
Tribe                : Vicieae
Genus               : Pisum
Species             : P. sativum
Binomial name   : Pisum sativum  L.

A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the

ovary of a (pea) flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus.

P. sativum is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter to early summer depending on location. The average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams. The species is used as a vegetable, fresh, frozen or canned, and is also grown to produce dry peas like the split pea. These varieties are typically called field peas.

The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. The earliest archaeological finds of peas come from Neolithic Syria, Turkey and Jordan. In Egypt, early finds date from ca. 4800–4400 BC in

the Nile delta area, and from ca. 3800–3600 BC in Upper Egypt. The pea was also present in Georgia in the 5th millennium BC. Farther east, the finds are younger. Peas were present in Afghanistan ca. 2000 BC, in Harappa, Pakistan, and in northwest India in 2250–1750 BC. In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, this pulse crop appears in the Gangetic basin and southern India.

Pea probably originated in southwestern Asia, possibly northwestern India, Pakistan or adjacent areas of former USSR and Afghanistan and thereafter spread to the temperate zones of Europe (Kay, 1979; Makasheva, 1983). Based on genetic diversity, four centers of origins, namely, Central Asia, the Near East, Abyssinia and the Mediterranean have been recognized . Non-pigmented peas to be used as a vegetable were grown in United Kingdom in the middle Ages . Pea was introduced into the Americas soon after Columbus and a winter type pea was introduced from Austria in 1922. Pea was taken to China in the first century . Peas were reported to be originally cultivated as a winter annual crop in the Mediterranean region.


The pea is a most commonly green, occasionally purple or golden yellow, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool season vegetable crop. The seeds may be planted as soon as the soil temperature reaches 10 °C (50 °F), with the plants growing best at temperatures of 13 to 18 °C (55 to 64 °F). They do not thrive in the summer heat of warmer temperate and lowland tropical climates, but do grow well in cooler, high altitude, tropical areas. Many cultivars reach maturity about 60 days after planting.

Raw Green PeaNutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy                             339 kJ (81 kcal)
Carbohydrates                14.5 g
- Sugars                           5.7 g
- Dietary fibre                  5.1 g
Fat                                  0.4 g
Protein                            5.4 g
Vitamin A equiv.              38 μg (5%)
- beta-carotene              449 μg (4%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin  2593 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)        0.3 mg (26%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)      0.1 mg (8%)
Niacin (vit. B3)           2.1 mg (14%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.1 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6                0.2 mg (15%)
Folate (vit. B9)           65 μg (16%)
Vitamin C                 40.0 mg (48%)
Calcium                    25.0 mg (3%)
Iron                            1.5 mg (12%)
Magnesium               33.0 mg (9%)
Phosphorus                108 mg (15%)
Potassium                   244 mg (5%)
Zinc                            1.2 mg (13%)

Peas have both low-growing and vining cultivars. The vining cultivars grow thin tendrils from leaves that coil around any available support and can climb to be 1–2 m high. A traditional approach to supporting climbing peas is to thrust branches pruned from trees or other woody plants upright into the soil, providing a lattice for the peas to climb. Branches used in this fashion are sometimes called pea brush. Metal fences, twine, or netting supported by a frame are used for the same purpose. In dense plantings, peas give each other some measure of mutual support. Pea plants can self-pollinate.

Field Cultivation

Dry peas serve as rotational crops in the Palouse area in a state of eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. It is considered as an alternative to the cereal grain production and provides the basis to break disease cycles in winter wheat, improve soil fertility status and improve weed control. "Peas reduced the fertilizer requirements

of maize by 20-32 kg/ha in India compared with wheat or fallow, respectively; in France it was estimated that about 50 kg/ha of N are returned to the soil by peas" . Pea growing seasons vary from 80-100 days in semi-arid regions and up to 150 days in humid and temperate areas .

Peas are propagated only from seed. "At higher temperatures germination is rapid, but seedlings may die from various pathogens in the soil. As temperature rises during growing season, yield drops off rapidly. In New York, yields are highest when seeds are planted during first 2 weeks of April; for each 2-week delay in planting, yield of shelled peas decreased about 400 kg/ha" . Thorough preparation of soil is very important, especially when the seed is broadcast or planted with a grain drill, as no subsequent cultivation is given

thereafter. In the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho peas are sown between March 25th at lower elevations to May 10th at higher elevations when the soil temperature is above 4°C; for planting winter peas, September 15th to the 30th has been recommended . Recommended plant densities vary tremendously depending on soil type, cultivar, seed size, and biotic factors, particularly diseases. In the Palouse area of Washington state, USA, spring peas are sown at the rate of 140-195 kg ha-1 or 89-108 seeds m-2, while fall sown peas are planted at the rate of 85-135 kg ha-1 or 71-104 seeds m-2 .

Peas are relatively unresponsive to fertilizers, particularly nitrogen; additions are necessary when nodulation is poor or fails completely. When the seeds are treated with the Rhizobium, care must be taken in the choice of fungicide seed treatments to prevent potential toxicity . The amount of nitrogen fixed through symbiosis with Rhizobia is reported to vary from 71 kg N per hectare in Alabama to 119 kg N per hectare in Wisconsin . The N concentration in pea leaf tissue is reported to range from 1.8 to 2.3% .


Peas grown for home use or for fresh market are picked by hand before the seeds are fully matured and still in the pod and are used for immediate consumption. In some cases, gardeners and commercial growers make two or three pickings, depending on maturity, while other growers make only one picking, in which the vines are pulled and all pods are removed. "Peas for processing are harvested with machines of various types.

Sometimes vines are cut with a mowing machine, windrowed and loaded onto trucks with a hay loader. Pea harvesters that mow the peas and load directly onto trucks are common in major pea growing areas. Pea vines are hauled to a vining station, where pods are separated from vines, after which seeds are separated from pods" . Current methods of processing pea harvest involve the use of "viners" that harvest the pods and remove the peas from the pods in one operation in the field. The peas are then transported to the processing plant where they are quickly processed. Dry peas are harvested when the pods are completely dry and can be threshed directly in the field by a combine. For dry peas timely harvest is important for maintaining quality and is usually done when the seed moisture content is less than 13%. Both premature harvesting and harvesting too late reduce the quality of the dry pea crop. If the pea crop is overmature, harvesting early in the morning or during the evening when relative humidity is low will minimize shattering and seed breakage .

Yields and Economics

Pea is among the four important cultivated legumes next to soybean, groundnut, and beans . Total world dry pea production rose from 8.127 million metric tons in 1979-81 to 14.529 million metric tons in 1994 while acreage varied from 7.488 to 8.060 million hectares for the same years . The highest productivity for pea was reported in France at 5088 kg per hectare in 1994, about eight times more than the African average yield. In 1994, USA total acreage was 54, 000 hectares with an average yield of 2587 kg per hectare . Important

production areas of the world include France, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark and United Kingdom in Europe; China and India in Asia; Canada and USA in North America; Chile in South America; Ethiopia in Africa, and Australia . "Throughout temperate regions both green and dried peas are an important garden and field crop. In the United States, ca. 550,000 MT are produced commercially for food annually, and ca. 200,000 MT of field peas for feed".

Pea is the predominant export crop in world trade and represents about 40% of the total trade in pulses . The major exporting countries, excluding the European Economic Commission (EEC), are Australia, Canada and the USA . Most of the peas from USA were exported to India, Haiti, Peru, and the Philippines in 1995 and had a total value of US$ 24,210,499 .

Biotic Factors

Peas are adversely affected by: Ascochyla pisi, Cladosporium pisicola (leaf spot or scab), Erysiphe polygoni (powdery mildew), Fusarium oxysporum (wilt), Peronospora pisi (downy mildew), Phythium sp. (pre emergence damping-off), Botrytis cinerea (grey mold), Aphanomyces euteiches (common root rot), Thielaviopsis basicola (black root rot), and Sclerotina sclerotiorum (sclerotina white mold). Pea Early Browning Virus (PEBV), Pea Enation Mosaic virus (PEMV), Pea Mosaic Virus (PMV), Pea top yellows (PTY), Pea seed-borne Mosaic Virus (PSbMV) and Pea Streak Virus (PSV) constitute diseases caused by viruses, while the most important bacterial disease is caused by Pseudomonas pisi (bacterial blight) .

Insect pests include Aphis cracivora (Groundnut aphid), Acyrthosiphon pisum (Pea aphid), Kakothrips robustus (Pea thrips), Bruchis pisorum (Pea seed beetle), Callosobruchus chinensis (Adzuki bean seed beetle), Apion sp. (Seed weevil), Sitona lineatus (Bean weevil), Contarina pisi (Pea midge), Helicoverpa armigera (African bollworm), Diachrysia obliqua (Pod borer), Agriotis sp. (Cut worms), Cydia nigricana (Pea moth), Phytomuza horticola (Leaf minor), Heliothis Zea (American bollworm), Etiella Zinckenella (Lima bean pod borer), Ophiomyia phaseoli (Bean fly), Delia platura (Bean seed fly), Tetranychus sp. (Spider mites), Pratylenchus penetrants (Root lesion nematodes), Ditylenchus dipsaci (Stem nematode), Heterodera goettingiana (Pea cyst nematode), and Meloidogyne javanica (Root knot nematode) .


Crop improvement depends on the germplasm diversity existing in the crop of interest. Pea and other cool season food legume crops are produced under the vagaries of stresses, both biotic and abiotic. Evaluation of the germplasm for these stress conditions is critical to sustained pea production. Also incorporation of new

traits into existing cultivars has been reported . To this effect, selection against devastating diseases such pea root rot caused by Aphanomyces euteches, fusarium wilt, downy and powdery mildew, virus resistance and insect resistance has been successful . Incorporation of traits available in germplasm collections into adapted backgrounds has been proposed and appropriate breeding methods have been suggested . "Assigned to the Near Eastern, Mediterranean, and African Centers of Diversity, peas are reported to exhibit tolerance to aluminum, disease, frost, fungus, hydrogen fluoride, high pH, heat, laterite, low pH, mildew, slope, smog, virus, and wilt" . The Regional Plant Introduction Station located at Pullman, Washington maintains a collection of 2800 pea accessions. There are at least 16 other gene banks reported to have a considerable number of pea accessions . Most of the genetic diversity present in peas is reported to be available in the Near East, Mediterranean region Central Asia and Ethiopia . The wild prototype of garden pea has never been found, but some writers believe that it was an ancient Egyptian plant. At present, it is grown throughout the world.


There are many varieties (cultivars) of garden peas. Some of the most common include:

Alaska,                                                              55 days (smooth seeded)
Thomas Laxton/Laxton's Progress/Progress #9, 60-65 days
Mr. Big,                                                            60 days, 2000 AAS winner
Little Marvel,                                                     63 days, 1934 AAS winner
Early Perfection,                                                65 days (This variety is the foundation of many improved                                                                                varieties and crosses, including Dark-Seeded Early                                                                                        Perfection and Bolero, the latter being one of the most                                                                                    successful commercial varieties.)
Kelvedon Wonder,                                           65 days, 1997 RHS AGM winner
Homesteader/Lincoln,                                       67 days (heirloom, known as Greenfeast in AU, NZ)
Wando,                                                            68 days
Green Arrow,                                                   70 days
Tall Telephone/Alderman,                                 75 days (heirloom, tall climber)

Other variations of P. sativum include:
Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon is commonly known as the snow pea.
Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv. is known as the sugar or snap pea.

Both of these are eaten whole before the pod reaches maturity and are hence also known as mange-tout, French for "eat all". The snow pea pod is eaten flat, while in sugar/snap peas, the pod becomes cylindrical, but is eaten while still crisp, before the seeds inside develop.

Pests and diseases

The pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus) is an insect that damages peas and other pod fruits. It is native to Europe, but has spread to other places such as Alberta, Canada. They are about 3.5 millimetres (0.14 in)—5.5 millimetres (0.22 in) long and are distinguishable by three light-coloured stripes running length-wise down the thorax. The weevil larvae feed on the root nodules of pea plants, which are essential to the plants' supply of nitrogen, and thus diminish leaf and stem growth. Adult weevils feed on the leaves and create a notched, "c-shaped" appearance on the outside of the leaves.


Beneficial about Green Peas

Green peas is an exotic food in terms of nutrient composition. Because of their sweet taste and starchy texture, it is  known that green peas must contain some sugar and starch (and they do). But they also contain a unique assortment of health-protective phytonutrients. One of these phytonutrients--a polyphenol called coumestrol--has recently come to the forefront of research with respect to stomach cancer protection. A Mexico City-based study has shown that daily consumption of green peas along with other legumes lowers risk of stomach cancer (gastric cancer), especially when daily coumestrol intake from these legumes is approximately 2 milligrams or higher. Since one cup of green peas contains at least 10 milligrams of coumestrol, it's not difficult for us to obtain this remarkable health benefit.

The unique phytonutrients in green peas also provide us with key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Included in these phytonutrients are some recently-discovered green pea phytonutrients called saponins. Due to their almost exclusive appearance in peas, these phytonutrients actually contain the scientific word for peas (Pisum) in their names: pisumsaponins I and II, and pisomosides A and B. When coupled with other phytonutrients in green peas--including phenolic acids like ferulic and caffeic acid, and flavanols like catechin and epicatechin--the combined impact on our health may be far-reaching. For example, some researchers have now speculated that the association between green pea and legume intake and lowered risk of type 2 diabetes may be connected not only with the relatively low glycemic index of green peas (about 45-50) and their strong fiber and protein content, but also with this unusual combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.

Green peas stand out as an environmentally friendly food. Agricultural research has shown that pea crops can provide the soil with important benefits. First, peas belong to a category of crops called "nitrogen fixing" crops. With the help of bacteria in the soil, peas and other pulse crops are able to take nitrogen gas from the air and convert it into more complex and usable forms. This process increases nitrogen available in the soil without the need for added fertilizer. Peas also have a relatively shallow root system which can help prevent erosion of the soil, and once the peas have been picked, the plant remainders tend to break down relatively easily for soil replenishment. Finally, rotation of peas with other crops has been shown to lower the risk of pest problems. These environmentally friendly aspects of pea production add to their desirability as a regular part of our diet.

Even though green peas are an extremely low-fat food (with approximately one-third gram of total fat per cup) the type of fat and fat-soluble nutrients they contain is impressive. Recent research has shown that green peas are a reliable source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In one cup of green peas, you can expect to find about 30 milligrams of ALA. About 130 milligrams of the essential omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, can also be found in a cup of green peas. This very small but high-quality fat content of green peas helps provide us with important fat-soluble nutrients from this legume, including sizable amounts of beta-carotene and small but valuable amounts of vitamin E.

Culinary use

 In early times, peas were grown mostly for their dry seeds. In modern times, however, peas are usually boiled or steamed, which breaks down the cell walls and makes the taste sweeter and the nutrients more bioavailable. Along with broad beans and lentils, these formed an important part of the diet of most people in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe during the Middle Ages. By the 17th and 18th centuries, it had become popular to eat peas "green", that is, while they are immature and right after they are picked. This was especially true in France and England, where the eating of green peas was said to be "both a fashion and a madness". New cultivars of peas were developed by the English during this time, which became known as "garden" or "English" peas. The popularity of green peas spread to North America. Thomas Jefferson grew more than 30 cultivars of peas on his estate. With the invention of canning and freezing of foods, green peas became available year-round, and not just in the spring as before.

Fresh peas are often eaten boiled and flavored with butter and/or spearmint as a side dish vegetable. Salt and pepper are also commonly added to peas when served. Fresh peas are also used in pot pies, salads and casseroles. Pod peas (particularly sweet cultivars called mange tout and "sugar peas", or the flatter "snow peas," called hé lán dòu,  in Chinese) are used in stir-fried dishes, particularly those in American Chinese cuisine.Pea  pods do not keep well once picked, and if not used quickly, are best preserved by drying, canning or freezing within a few hours of harvest.

In India, fresh peas are used in various dishes such as aloo matar (curried potatoes with peas) or matar paneer (paneer cheese with peas), though they can be substituted with frozen peas as well. Peas are also eaten raw, as they are sweet when fresh off the bush. Split peas are also used to make dhal, particularly in Guyana, and Trinidad, where there is a significant population of Indians.

Dried peas are often made into a soup or simply eaten on their own. In Japan, China, Taiwan and some Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, peas are roasted and salted, and eaten as snacks. In the UK, dried yellow split peas are used to make pease pudding (or "pease porridge"), a traditional dish. In North America, a similarly traditional dish is split pea soup.

Pea soup is eaten in many other parts of the world, including northern Europe, parts of middle Europe, Russia, Iran, Iraq and India. In Sweden it is called ärtsoppa, and is eaten as a traditional Swedish food which predates the Viking era. This food was made from a fast-growing pea that would mature in a short growing season. Ärtsoppa was especially popular among the many poor who traditionally only had one pot and everything was cooked together for a dinner using a tripod to hold the pot over the fire.

In Chinese cuisine, pea sprouts  are commonly used in stir-fries. Pea leaves are often considered a delicacy, as well.

In Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and other parts of the Mediterranean, peas are made into a stew with meat and potatoes.

In Hungary and Serbia, pea soup is often served with dumplings and spiced with hot paprika.

In the United Kingdom, dried, rehydrated and mashed marrowfat peas, known by the public as mushy peas, are popular, originally in the north of England, but now ubiquitously, and especially as an accompaniment to fish and chips or meat pies, particularly in fish and chip shops. Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes added to soften the peas. In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the pea to be Britain's seventh favourite culinary vegetable.

Processed peas are mature peas which have been dried, soaked and then heat treated (processed) to prevent spoilage—in the same manner as pasteurising. Cooked peas are sometimes sold dried and coated with wasabi, salt, or other spices.


Bioplastics can be made using pea starch.

Nutritional value

Peas are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and lutein. Dry weight is about one-quarter protein and one-quarter sugar. Pea seed peptide fractions have less ability to scavenge free radicals than glutathione, but greater ability to chelate metals and inhibit linoleic acid oxidation.

Peas in science

In the mid-19th century, Austrian scientist Gregor Mendel's observations of pea pods led to the principles of Mendelian genetics, the foundation of modern genetics.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

"Seeds are thought to cause dysentery when eaten raw. In Spain, flour is considered emollient and resolvent, applied as a cataplasm. It has been reported that seeds contain trypsin and chymotrypsin which could be used for contraceptive, ecbolic. fungistatic and spermicide". There are no significant amounts of toxicity or anti-metabolites in peas.Some people are allergic to peas, as well as lentils.


According to etymologists, the term pea was taken from the Latin pisum, which is the latinisation of the Greek πίσον (pison), neut. of πίσος (pisos), "pea". It was adopted into English as the noun pease (plural peasen), as in pease pudding. However, by analogy with other plurals ending in -s, speakers began construing pease as a plural and constructing the singular form by dropping the "s", giving the term "pea". This process is known as back-formation.

The name "marrowfat pea" for mature dried peas is recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary as early as 1733. The fact that an export cultivar popular in Japan is called Maro has led some people to assume mistakenly that the English name "marrowfat" is derived from Japanese.

How to Select and Store

Only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh; the rest are either frozen or canned. When trying to decide between frozen and canned green peas, the following information may be helpful:
Frozen peas are better able to retain their color, texture, and flavor than canned peas. Recent research has confirmed that these "important sensory characteristics" of green peas are not affected by freezing over periods of 1-3 months.

Both canned and frozen peas may contain relatively high levels of sodium. Unless labeled as "low sodium" or "reduced sodium" or containing "50% less sodium" or something similar, you can expect to find 650-800 milligrams of sodium in one cup of canned green peas. Some of this sodium can be removed by thorough rinsing�and we definitely encourage you to do so. Reduced sodium canned peas will often bring the sodium content down to 250-300 milligrams of sodium. Even in this case, you can lower the sodium even further by thoroughly rinsing the peas. In the case of frozen green peas, it's not uncommon to find 300 milligrams of sodium in one cup of frozen green peas�approximately the same amount as found in reduced sodium canned peas. This relatively high sodium level in frozen peas results from green pea processing methods, not from the natural sodium content of the peas. When large batches of peas are prepared for freezing, producers separate out the older and starchier peas prior to freezing. A common method used to separate out the starchier peas is to immerse them in salty water. This process, called the salt brine process, allows the younger, more tender, and less starchy peas to float on top of the salt water, while letting the older, less tender, and starchier peas to sink to the bottom. Even though the younger and less starchy peas are rinsed with water after being separated out, they can still contain relatively high levels of sodium.

Neither frozen peas nor canned peas have an unlimited shelf life. In the case of frozen peas, it's not uncommon to see "use by" dates that indicate a 24-30 month shelf life. However, based on the overall research findings on nutrient content of frozen peas during storage, we recommend that you consume your frozen peas within 6-12 months of the packing date. (If no packing date is available, just make the "use by" date 50% sooner.)

Overall, we recommend the selection of frozen peas over canned peas and recognize the convenience of frozen over fresh. However, we also encourage you to consider fresh peas whenever possible, and to choose them according to the following guidelines.

When purchasing fresh garden peas, look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety and smooth. Their color should be a lively medium green. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided. Additionally, do not choose pods that are puffy, water soaked or have mildew residue. The pods should contain peas of sufficient number and size that there is not much empty room in the pod. You can tell this by gently shaking the pod and noticing whether there is a slight rattling sound. All varieties of fresh peas should be displayed in a refrigerated case since heat will hasten the conversion of their sugar content into starch.

Unlike the rounded pods of garden peas, the pods of snow peas are flat. You should be able to see the shape of the peas through the non-opaque shiny pod. Choose smaller ones as they tend to be sweeter.

To test the quality of snap peas, snap one open and see whether it is crisp. They should be bright green in color, firm and plump.

Garden peas are generally available from spring through the beginning of winter. Snow peas can usually be found throughout the year in Asian markets and from spring through the beginning of winter in supermarkets. Snap peas are more limited in their availability. They are generally available from late spring through early summer.

If you will not be using fresh peas on the day of purchase, which is the best way to enjoy them, you should refrigerate them as quickly as possible in order to preserve their sugar content, preventing it from turning into starch. Unwashed, unshelled peas stored in the refrigerator in a bag or unsealed container will keep for several days. Fresh peas can also be blanched for one or two minutes and then frozen. If you decide to blanch and freeze your green peas, we recommend a maximum storage period of 6-12 months.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Carrot cultivation

Scientific classification
Kingdom        : Plantae
(unranked)      : Angiosperms
(unranked)      : Eudicots
(unranked)      : Asterids
Order             : Apiales
Family            : Apiaceae
Genus             : Daucus
Species           : D. carota
Binomial name : Daucus carota
The carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Etymology: from Late Latin carōta, from Greek καρότον karōton, originally from the Indo-European root ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape) is a root vegetable, usually

orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot, although the greens are edible as well. It is a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot.


It is a biennial plant which grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot, which stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year. The flowering stem grows to about 1 metre (3 ft) tall, with an umbel of white flowers that produce a fruit called a mericarp by botanists, which is a type of schizocarp.


Habitat for carrots is mainly limited by temperature. While types of carrots can be found just about anywhere, Daucus carota var. sativus grows best in temperate zones. When grown outside of temperate zones cultivation techniques are needed in order to replicate cooler temperatures. Increased elevation is often used in subtropical areas to help reduce temperature and increase crop yields. Other factors in addition to temperature do contribute to the preferred habitat for Daucus carota var. sativus but temperature plays the largest role.

Other factors that make up the habitat of Daucus carota var. sativus include soil, sun exposure, nutrition, and drainage. Almost any type of soil is suitable to grow Daucus carota var. sativus , but the plants tend to prefer loam. Loam is a type of soil that is a hybrid of sand and clay. In addition to loam, carrots require a moist, yet well drained soil. If the soil becomes wet conditions become favorable for fungi to grow and interactions, which are explained in the interaction section of this page, begin to develop. The nutrition content of the soil is also a factor in the growth of Daucus carota var. sativus. If soil is devoid of nutrient it is unlikely that carrots will thrive in the area. It is preferred that the soil has a relatively high content of organic material to provide adequate nutrients. Lastly, Daucus carota var. sativus prefers to be located where the plant can receive full sunlight. Full sunlight allows the plant to reach optimal growth levels.

Daucus carota var. sativus is a plant developed from wild varieties for cultivation. The conditions under which carrots are grown are highly monitored to ensure optimal growth. All species that occupy the same habitat are considered competition and measures are taken to eradicate them. Major producers of carrots include China, The United States, and Russia. These three countries account for a large portion of the commercial cultivation.

Methods of consumption and uses

Carrots can be eaten in a variety of ways. Only 3% of the β-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion: this can be improved to 39% by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil.Alterrnatively they may be chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as baby and pet foods. A well known dish is carrots julienne. Grated carrots are used in carrot cakes, as well as carrot puddings, an old English dish thought to have originated in the early 19th century. The greens are edible as a leaf vegetable, but are rarely eaten by humans. Together with onion and celery, carrots are one of the primary vegetables used in a mirepoix to make various broths.

In India carrots are used in a variety of ways, as salads or as vegetables added to spicy rice or daal dishes. The most popular variation in north India is the Gaajar Kaa Halwaa carrot dessert, which has carrots grated and cooked in milk until the whole mixture is solid, after which nuts and butter are added. Carrot salads are usually made with grated carrots in western parts with a seasoning of mustard seeds and green chillies popped in hot oil, while adding carrots to rice usually is in julienne shape.

The variety of carrot found in north India is rare everywhere except in Central Asia and other contiguous regions, and is now growing in popularity in larger cosmopolitan cities in South India. The north Indian carrot is pink-red comparable to plum or raspberry or deep red apple in colour (without a touch of yellow or blue) while most other carrot varieties in world are from orange to yellow in colour, comparable to hallowe'en pumpkins.

Ever since the late 1980s, baby carrots or mini-carrots (carrots that have been peeled and cut into uniform cylinders) have been a popular ready-to-eat snack food available in many supermarkets.

Carrot juice is also widely marketed, especially as a health drink, either stand-alone or blended with fruits and other vegetables.

Companion plant

Carrots are useful companion plants for gardeners. There is experimental evidence[citation needed] that growing it intercropped with tomatoes increases tomato production. If left to flower, it (like any umbellifer) attracts predatory wasps which kill many garden pests.


Daucus carota var. sativus creates its own food through a process called photosynthesis. Plants that produce their own food are called autotrophs and make up the base of the food web. The carrots placement at the base of the food web explains why it serves as a source of food for many of the organisms it interacts with.

Photosynthesis is a complex process that Daucus carota var. sativus uses to create its own food. This process utilizes CO2 as a source of carbon to create sugars, which nourish the plant. The basic equation for this process is carbon dioxide + water + energy = sugar + oxygen + water.

Carrot, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy                     173 kJ (41 kcal)
Carbohydrates             9 g
- Sugars                       5g
- Dietary fibre               3 g
Fat                            0.2 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A equiv.       835 μg (104%)
- beta-carotene       8285 μg (77%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin 256 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)      0.04 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)     0.05 mg (4%)
Niacin (vit. B3)          1.2 mg (8%)
Vitamin B6                 0.1 mg (8%)
Folate (vit. B9)         19 μg (5%)
Vitamin C                   7 mg (8%)
Calcium                    33 mg (3%)
Iron                       0.66 mg (5%)
Magnesium               18 mg (5%)
Phosphorus               35 mg (5%)
Potassium                240 mg (5%)
Sodium                     2.4 mg (0%)

Carrot seeds

The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange colour from β-carotene, which is metabolised into vitamin A in humans when bile salts are present in the intestines. Massive overconsumption of carrots can cause

carotenosis, a benign condition in which the skin turns orange. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals.

Lack of vitamin A can cause poor vision, including night vision, and vision can be restored by adding it back into the diet. An urban legend says eating large amounts of carrots will allow one to see in the dark. The legend developed from stories of British gunners in World War II, who were able to shoot down German

planes in the darkness of night. The legend arose during the Battle of Britain when the RAF circulated a story about their pilots' carrot consumption as an attempt to cover up the discovery and effective use of radar technologies in engaging enemy planes, as well as the use of red light (which does not destroy night vision) in aircraft instruments. It reinforced existing German folklore and helped to encourage Britons—looking to improve their night vision during the blackouts—to grow and eat the vegetable.

Ethnomedically, the roots are used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and tonsillitis or constipation.


The wild ancestors of the carrot are likely to have come from Iran and Afghanistan, which remains the centre of diversity of D. carota, the wild carrot. Selective breeding over the centuries of a naturally occurring subspecies of the wild carrot, Daucus carota subsp. sativus, to reduce bitterness, increase sweetness and minimise the woody core, has produced the familiar garden vegetable.

 In early use, carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds, not their roots. Some relatives of the carrot are still grown for these, such as parsley, fennel, dill and cumin. The first mention of the root in classical sources is in the 1st century. The modern carrot appears to have been introduced to Europe in the 8–10th centuries.The 12th c. Arab Andalusian agriculturist, Ibn al-'Awwam, describes both red and yellow carrots; Simeon Seth also mentions both colours in the 11th century. Orange-coloured carrots appeared in the Netherlands in the 17th century. These, the modern carrots, were intended by the antiquary John Aubrey (1626–1697) when he noted in his memoranda "Carrots were first sown at Beckington in Somersetshire Some very old Man there [in 1668] did remember their first bringing hither."

In addition to wild carrot, these alternative (mostly historical) names are recorded for Daucus carota: bee's-nest, bee's-nest plant, bird's-nest, bird's-nest plant, bird's-nest root, carota, carotte (French), carrot, common carrot, crow's-nest, daucon, dawke, devil's-plague, fiddle, gallicam, garden carrot, gelbe Rübe (German), gingidium, hill-trot, laceflower, mirrot, Möhre (German), parsnip (misapplied), Queen Anne's lace, rantipole, staphylinos, and zanahoria (Spanish).


Carrots grow best in full sun but tolerate some shade In order to avoid growing deformed carrots it is better to plant them in loose soil free from rocks. The seeds, which are 1-3mm in diameter, should be sown about
11 day old carrot plants in a sand bed

2cm deep. Carrots take around 4 months to mature and it is suggested that carrot seeds are sown from mid - February to July.
carrot field


There are different colors of carrots now available in the markets  . They are of Atomic Red, Bambino, Cosmic Purple, Lunar White and Solar Yellow. Smoothly tapered roots grow to 8 inches x 2 inches in loose soil.

Carrot cultivars can be grouped into two broad classes, eastern carrots and western carrots. More recently, a number of novelty cultivars have been bred for particular characteristics.

The city of Holtville, California, promotes itself as "Carrot Capital of the World", and holds an annual festival devoted entirely to the carrot.

Eastern carrots

Eastern carrots were domesticated in Central Asia, probably in modern-day Iran and Afghanistan in the 10th century, or possibly earlier. Specimens of the eastern carrot that survive to the present day are commonly

purple or yellow, and often have branched roots. The purple colour common in these carrots comes from anthocyanin pigments.

Western carrots

The western carrot emerged in the Netherlands in the 17th century, from Iran with violet colour, its orange colour making it popular in those countries as an emblem of the House of Orange and the struggle for Dutch independence. The orange colour results from abundant carotenes in these cultivars. While orange carrots are the norm in the West, other colours do exist, including white, yellow, red, and purple. These other colours of carrot are raised primarily as novelty crops.

Western carrot cultivars are commonly classified by their root shape:
Chantenay carrots are shorter than other cultivars, but have greater girth, sometimes growing up to 8 centimetres (3 in) in diameter. They have broad shoulders and taper towards a blunt, rounded tip. They are most commonly diced for use in canned or prepared foods.
Danvers carrots have a conical shape, having well-defined shoulders and tapering to a point at the tip. They are somewhat shorter than Imperator cultivars, but more tolerant of heavy soil. Danvers cultivars are often puréed as baby food. They were developed in 1871 in Danvers, Ma.
Imperator carrots are the carrots most commonly sold whole in United States supermarkets; their roots are longer than other cultivars of carrot, and taper to a point at the tip.
Nantes carrots are nearly cylindrical in shape, and are blunt and rounded at both the top and tip. Nantes cultivars are often sweeter than other carrots.

While any carrot can be harvested before reaching its full size as a more tender "baby" carrot, some fast-maturing cultivars have been bred to produce smaller roots[citation needed]. The most extreme examples produce round roots about 2.5 centimetres (1 in) in diameter. These small cultivars are also more tolerant of heavy or stony soil than long-rooted cultivars such as 'Nantes' or 'Imperator'. The "baby carrots" sold ready-to-eat in supermarkets are, however, often not from a smaller cultivar of carrot, but are simply full-sized carrots that have been sliced and peeled to make carrot sticks of a uniform shape and size.

Carrot flowers are pollinated primarily by bees. Seed growers use honeybees or mason bees for their pollination needs.

Carrots are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Common Swift, Garden Dart, Ghost Moth, Large Yellow Underwing and Setaceous Hebrew Character.

One particular variety lacks the usual orange pigment from carotenes, owing its white colour to a recessive gene for tocopherol (Vitamin E). Derived from Daucus carota L. and patented at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the variety is intended to supplement the dietary intake of Vitamin E.

Orange Carrots

Orange carrots arrived from natural mutations of yellow forms, and then by human selection and development, probably in the Netherlands. It is thought that humans made selections from a genepool involving yellow rooted eastern carrots, cultivated white-rooted derivatives of wild carrot (grown as medicinal plants since classical times) and wild unselected populations of adjacent Daucus Carota subspecies in Europe and the Mediterranean. It is thought that Dutch breeders used a mutant seed from North Africa to develop the orange variety into a stable and reliable plant for domestication.

Some scholars think that orange carrots did not to appear until the 16th century, although there is a Byzantine manuscript of 512 ad, and an 11th century illuminated script, both of which depict an orange rooted carrot, and suggesting it was around long before.

Orange roots, containing the pigment carotene, were not noted until the 16th century in Holland. A tale, probably apocryphal, has it that the orange carrot was bred in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century to honour William of Orange. Though the stabilised orange carrot does date from around seventeenth century Netherlands, it is unlikely that honouring William of Orange had anything to do with it!

Experts believe the colour comes from beta carotene with some alpha carotene, a pigment the body converts to Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and vision in dim light. Dutch breeders recently studied the health qualities of purple carrots and believe they give us extra protection against various forms of cancer and heart disease. They contain purple pigments called anthocyanins, and act as anti-oxidants that protect the body.

Purple Carrots

Purple Carrots come back from their roots - re-introduced to England .
The carrot returned to its roots and went on sale in the summer of 2002 in England in its original colour - purple - the first time in five centuries. There is also talk of bringing back black and white varieties together with a rainbow version!

Supermarket buyers were not too keen to try out purple carrots and sadly sales plummeted.. After pink tomatoes and green tomato ketchup they believed British consumers were keen to experiment.

Carrots are the second most popular vegetable after the potato. The first commercial crop was grown near Ely, Cambridgeshire, and dark purple carrots with orange insides were sold at Sainsbury's stores in July. They attempted to brighten up the nation's dinner plates served as a violet purée, with its classic partner, the green pea, or in a salad. These carrots  are different and have had a little extra care and attention in the way they have been raised.

These carrots are  healthy and  sweeter. They also look stunning sliced raw.This  unusual colour will influence children to eat more vegetables while parents can rest assured that there is nothing artificial about the carrots.

Purple carrots are being explored as a source of such dyes is the purple carrot, ancient ancestor to the modern, orange version. Originally used as a clothing dye by Afghan royalty, the purple carrot is now being investigated as a potential source of food colorings. Researchers are at work to stabilize the purple pigment in the vegetables, which can turn brown when heated, red in acidic foods and blue in alkaline ones.

The carrots are given their purple colour by anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that also gives blueberries and red grapes their colour.Purple carrots are now propositioned as the next superfood.

The findings of the recent Australian study revealed the ancient carrot to be packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness - up tp 28 times more anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that are responsible for the purple-red pigment in raspberries and blueberries, than there are in orange carrots.

Purple carrots are the original carrots from the ancient Persia. These are  one of the wide variety of fruit and vegetables that are almost lost in the era of single supermarket varieties, just like other ancient tomato varieties.Purple carrots should be eaten coupled with a moderate diet and exercise.

Production trends

Carrot and Turnip output in 2005. Green: largest producer (China). Yellow: other major producers. Red: minor producers

In 2009, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 33.582 million tonnes of carrots and turnips were produced worldwide. With 15.168 million tonnes, China was by far the largest producer and accounted for 45.2 % of the global output, followed by Russia (1.518 million tonnes) and the United States (1.304 million tonnes).


Carrots can be stored for several months in the refrigerator or over winter in moist sand in a cool place.

How to grow garlics

Garlic isn’t hard to grow. In fact, growing garlic plants is almost ridiculously easy. It has a few important requirements that are easily met: decent soil, adequate moisture, and, of course, planting and harvesting at the right time.

When is the right time for planting garlic? Plant garlic four to six weeks before the ground freezes in your area. You can fudge the planting time a little. It can be  planted as early as September  and as late as february  and

can have decent crops. Roots will start to grow soon after you plant. Our aim is to get good root development before the plants go dormant. Green shoots may appear in the fall, which is fine.

6 easy steps for a bumper crop of garlic

1. Prepare the soil

To grow nice, big heads of garlic, you need loose, fertile soil. Loosen the soil with a digging fork, spread a 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of organic matter over the area, and dig it in. For organic matter,one can  use a well-aged mixture of compost, leaf mold, and aged rabbit manure. To avoid disease problems, don’t plant garlic in the same spot two years running. Prepare several shallow furrows in the soil that are 6 inches apart.

2. Choose your varieties

There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardnecks have cloves growing around a hard central stalk. This stalk forms a curling scape (or flower stem) on top, which many growers cut off to redirect energy to the bulb. Softneck garlics form more cloves, with big ones around the outside of the head and numerous small ones at the center. Softnecks also tend to keep longer once harvested than hardnecks. Break apart a large head of garlic, and plant only the biggest cloves. The bigger the clove, the greater the likelihood it will yield a nice, big head of garlic. Save the smaller cloves to use in the kitchen.

3. Plant a clove, get a head 

To plant, place the cloves 4 inches apart in a furrow. Hold each clove pointed end up, and push it into the soil about 2 inches deep. After all the cloves are in the ground, smooth the soil surface using your fingers or a rake to fill in the holes, and water well. If you’re planting more than one variety, be sure to label each one clearly. One can  also make a map of his  planting, in case the labels go astray. One can  wait to mulch for a month or more after planting to give the soil a chance to cool down. When it’s leaf-raking season, one can  put several inches of chopped leaves over the bed.

4. Fertilize and water 

Top growth starts in earnest in spring, when the weather warms and the days lengthen. One can  fertilize twice with a solution of liquid kelp and fish emulsion: once, when the garlic has started growing strongly and, again, a month later. Garlic isn’t greedy for water, but it doesn’t like to dry out, either. When the soil feels dry an inch below the surface, it’s time to water. One can stop watering when cloves grows to the full size .

5. Time the harvest carefully

Harvest  when the plants have five or six green leaves, with no more than one or two beginning to turn brown. Each green leaf represents a wrapper layer surrounding the head. During harvest, you’re liable to damage the outer layer. Later, while cleaning the heads, you’re apt to lose another one or two layers. Your goal is to end

up with two or three tight, papery layers enclosing each bulb. To harvest, drive a garden fork beneath the plants (be careful not to damage the bulbs), gently pry them loose, and then pull them out. Shake off any excess soil, and lay the plants in a pile. As soon as you’ve finished harvesting, move the plants to an airy location that is protected from sun and rain. If you’re growing more than one variety, keep each variety separate and well labeled so that you know what’s what.

6. Cure, clean, and store the heads 

To cure garlic in preparation for storage, hang the bare bulbs with their foliage in bundles or spread them out on a table or rack. You can begin eating them right away, but bulbs intended for storage must be cured.

After a few weeks of curing, it’s bulb-cleaning time. Trim the stalks to 12 inch above the bulb, and trim the roots close to the bulb. Rub off the outer layer of skin around the bulb, and use a nailbrush or toothbrush to

gently remove any soil clinging to the base. Try not to remove more wrapper layers than you have to. Store the bulbs in a well-ventilated, dark spot. If you want, set aside the biggest bulbs for planting in the fall.