|Better Farming Series 22 - Cocoa (FAO - INADES, 1977, 32 p.)|
|Choosing seeds and growing seedlings|
9. A good grower should sow cocoa seeds in nursery beds:
Choose a small plot, quite flat, with light and rich soil.
If the site is near a little stream, watering will be easier.
Till the soil fairly deeply, and break up all the lumps of earth so that you get a fine filth.
Make beds of soil 120 centimetres wide:
· Leave a little path of 60 centimetres between one bed and the next, so that you can walk between the beds.
· Take a piece of string and mark out little furrows in each bed.
· Leave 25 centimetres between one furrow and the next.
· In each furrow, leave 25 centimetres between seeds.
Do not push the seed in too deeply, otherwise it will not have enough air and will not grow well.
Nursery bed for cocoa tree seedlings
Cocoa seeds can also be sown In baskets or bags.
10. When the seedlings are lifted from the nursery bed, the roots may break and little earth remains around the roots.
To avoid this, water the beds before lifting the seed
Sometimes the young seedlings do not grow well and do not gain much height.
Some of them die.
11. To make the cocoa trees grow better, sow your seeds in small baskets or polyethylene bags. These baskets or bags can be about 30 centimetres high and 20 centimetres wide. Fill them with fine soil mixed with manure. Put the baskets or bags in rows and leave a little path between the rows.
Young cocoa tree in a basket
You should take good care of the asedlings in seed beds or baskets.
12. Young cocoa tree seedlings are very delicate; you must protect them from the sun. Put them in the shade.
In order to protect the seed beds or the baskets from the sun put up a screen 180 centimetres high above each bed. You can cover this screen with palm fronds.
Young seedlings need a lot of water. Water them every day.
Remove the weeds which take nourishment away from the seedlings. Look for insects and kill them, pull out diseased plants and burn them.
Cocoa seed bed under a screen