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Farming Methodologies & Practices

We use the international best practice of drip fertigation. The benefits of this type of farming include:
• Increases fruit yield
• Improves fruit quality viz., weight, size and rind colour
• Improves fertilizer & water use efficiency
• Better control over rest period
• Higher crop growth rates
• Increased root penetration & proliferation

We grow our pomegranates in the Swartland area of the Western Cape in South Africa which is ideally suited for pomegranates owing to its hot, dry summers and cooler, wet winters. In general the following climate requirements should also be
considered:
• Suitable crop for semi-arid and arid regions
• Requires hot and dry climate during fruit development and ripening
• Humid climate lowers the quality of fruits and increases incidence of fungal diseases
• Temperatures below –11 degrees Celsius cause injury to the plants
• Crop can be established up to an altitude of 1820m above sea level

Before planting we need to ensure that the soil has the right chemical composition. Pomegranates need the following soil requirements:
• Prefers well drained, sandy loam to deep loamy, or alluvial soils
• Soil pH between 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal
• Tolerates soil salinity up to 6 dS/m
• Quality and colour development is good in light soils

 Flower and fruit thinning:

The Objective is:
• Regulate the flower & fruit load on the tree to get large sized export quality fruits
• Fruits borne on strong spurs attain better size and quality
• Retain only 100 – 140 fruits on a fully grown tree i.e., from 6th year onwards

Techniques include thinning out the:
• Fruits borne on weak spurs and terminal portions of spur
• Deformed fruits
• Insect and disease infested fruits
• Retain 1 or 2 fruits per cluster
• Remove thorns nearby the fruits to prevent skin damage to fruits

Pruning:
• Pomegranate plants do not require excessive pruning except for removal of water suckers, criss-cross branches,
dead & diseased twigs, to give a shape to the tree
• Fruits are borne terminally on short spurs, arising from matured shoots
• A little thinning & pruning of old spurs to encourage new growth is required
• Rejuvenation pruning may be required with advance in age as the fruit bearing capacity of old mature
branches declines

Some useful tips for pruning:
• Fruitful and differentiated buds are located at the distal portion of the branches
• Pruning of terminal portion of a branch lowers down  the total flower production
• Pruning does not affect sex ratio and fruit quality
• Pruning affects total fruits, marketable and unmarketable fruits
• Fruit size and yield of higher grade fruits are more with high intensity pruning
• Minimizes the bending of branches and staking

Water and Irrigation Management:
• Although pomegranates are highly tolerant to drought, they respond very well to irrigation
• Water requirement is a function of evaporative demand of the atmosphere
• Adequate and regular irrigation without large variation in the root zone
• Soil moisture is essential for better fruit development and to avoid fruit cracking
• Drip irrigation with fertigation is superior to ring basin method of irrigation in terms yield (30 – 35%)
and water economy (43%)
• Irrigation with saline water (>4.5 dS/m) affects normal fruit development

Harvesting:
• It is a non-climacteric fruit, hence should be picked when fully ripe
• Harvesting of immature or over-mature fruits affects quality
• Fruit colour is not a sure guide to maturity
• Fruits become ready for picking 135 – 150 days after fruit set in different varieties
• The calyx at the distal end of the fruit gets closed and fruit get suppressed on sides on maturity
• Ripe fruits give a distinct sound of grains cracking inside when slightly pressed from outside
• A grown-up well managed tree gives 100 - 140 fruits annually, with a life span of 40 - 80 years

 

Disclaimer: Information on this page gives some insight to our farming practices which may change from time to time and is consistent within the area and soil type in which we farm. These practices may not be suitable for all types of pomegranates, regions, soil types and weather conditions.