Cocoa- Planting activities
Cocoa can be propagated through seeds and also by budded plants. Around 450 plants can be accommodated in an acre. The ideal time of planting is the May-June.
Seeds should be collected from biclonal or polyclonal seed gardens It ensures better genetic superiority of planting materials.
The seeds should be sown by December-January. Four to six month old seedlings will be ready for planting in May-June.
In case of budded plants, 3-4 clones should be planted together. Planting of single clone can lead to poor production due to the existence of self-incompatibility in cocoa.
Pits of 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm are taken one month in advance. The pits are then refilled with topsoil and 15-20 kg of compost or FYM to ground level.
The planting is done at ground level. The poly bag is carefully removed and seedlings with soil ball are planted at the center of the pit. The soil is pressed firmly with minimum disturbance.
The spacing needed for cocoa is 2.7 to 3 m. In coconut gardens, depending upon the spacing adopted, one or two rows of cocoa can be planted in between two rows of coconut.
In arecanut where the normal spacing is 2.7 m, cocoa is planted at the centre of four areca palms along alternate rows of inter spaces only.