Horticulture

Horticulture in Kashmir

Nature has endowed Kashmir with innumerable gifts, its towering snow clad mountains, bubbling streams, transparent and sparkling lakes, flower meadows, colorful orchards and rare fauna have always attracted numerous tourists from all corners of the world. The age-old traditional fruit cultivation has profusely colored the serenity and tranquility of Kashmir's landscape. Kashmir, the land of fauna, flora and fruits possesses a rich history of fruit cultivation. Years before the time of warrior King 'Lalita Ditya' and though the golden periods of benevolent kings like 'Awantiwaraman' and Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin 'Badshah', Kashmir has remained the symbol of fruits and flowers.

The horticulture industry in Kashmir has become the bulwark of rural economy in the state. This industry earns a revenue of over Rs. 50 crores yearly and provides job facilities to the thousands of people directly and indirectly. Here are some choicest varieties of Kashmir fruit :

Apple

Lawrence describes it as "the most popular apple in Kashmir ------- a sweet fruit ripening in October and keeping its condition for a long time and finding favour with the natives of India for its sweetness and its handsome appearance" Ambri is indigenous to Kashmir and continues to enjoy superiority by virtue of its crisp, sweet flesh and excellent aroma. The fruit is blushed red, striped, medium-sized and oblong to conical in shape with longer storage life. The fruit matures in the last week of September to first week of October. It is an excellent dessert variety.

This variety has crisp juicy, greenish white and sweet flesh and is usually medium-sized, as a result of which it has become very popular with consumers. Oblate-shaped, blushed and patchy red with a smooth surface, it matures in the last week of September. A good dessert variety.

Delicious (Red Delicious) A world-renowned variety. It is one of the most widely grown apples. The fruit is tapering in shape with characteristic five lobes at the apex. Skin is smooth, striped and blushed red. Flesh is fine grained, greenish white, sweet, very juicy and crisp with good aroma. Size is medium to large and it matures by the end of September. A good dessert variety. Hazaratbali (Benoni)

A medium-sized apple with rounds to slightly conical in shape and red to striped skin; white juicy and sweet flesh. It is the earliest variety of apple available from the valley, maturing in mid-July.

Nakh Kashmiri (Chinese Sandy Pear) This variety gets its name from grained flesh. A conical shaped, small to medium sized variety with crisp, white and juicy flesh. The skin is thick and green in color that turns yellow on ripening. Carries well in storage and is an excellent dessert variety.

Gilas Double This variety is large-sized and attractive with cream-red color. The flesh is firm and juicy but slightly acidic. A good keeper; excellent for canning, and dessert purposes.

Gilas Misri Large sized and red colored; its skin is firm and flesh is sweet and juicy. A good dessert variety.

Walnut

Fruit medium to above medium, pointed, halves accuminate. Skin thick, downy, Yellow base with scattered red patches. Flesh firm, creamy yellow, moderately juicy, sweet with acidic blend when fully ripe. Free stone. The fruit is ready for harvest in 3rd week of August.

Saffron

Fruit medium, from oblong to rather ovate, slightly irregular in shape. Cavity rather deep to medium in depth, regular and acute. Skin yellow when fresh (brown yellow when dried) sweet, moderately flavored, stone free kernel sweet. Ready for picking in the last week of June.

Strawberry

Fruit medium, roundish, regular, skin smooth and thin flesh deep red, juicy, sweet and soft full of aroma, stone cling type.

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