Tue, Dec 6, 2016 | updated 05:32 PM IST

Preservation of tulip bulbs in Kashmir on full swing

Updated: Sep 18, 2016 08:31 IST

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Sept.18 (ANI): The preservation process of tulip bulbs has begun in full swing in Srinagar's cold storage points in order to make the next tulip season successful.

For the last few years, Srinagar's Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden which was previously known as the Model Floriculture Center; has been a major draw for tourists. It is the largest tulip garden in Asia, spread over an area of about 12 hectares and is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake. The garden was opened in 2007 with the aim to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir Valley.

Every year, close to two million tulips are planted, and according to the Department of Floriculture, there are about 70 plus varieties of tulips that are put on display.

To attract visitors again to Kashmir in the coming season, the authorities said they are very busy with preservation process of tulip bulbs.

They said that as the temperature currently is hot and not good for the tulip bulbs, the Department of Floriculture has issued orders for the harvesting of tulip bulbs and the preservation process which is very important for the safety and shelf life of bulbs.

Javaid Masood, Assistant Floriculture Officer, Tulip Garden, told ANI, "There are different phases for the development of tulips. This is an activity that goes on for 12 months. It is hard work and a continuous process, and includes activities like tulip planting, tulip harvesting and tulip storage. There area lot of phases to be completed, then only are we able to put up a tulip garden show."

"These bulbs are a prized commodity. The price of one tulip bulb is between Rs.18 and Rs.20. We have to take steps to preserve these bulbs, each one of them,, treat each one of them with care, with powders like fungicide to prevent them from being susceptible to post-harvest diseases," he added.

Masood further told ANI, "Temperature is an important feature of this preservation process. We have to keep the temperature in these storage spaces at an acceptable level so that the bulbs are disease free. Because the temperature outside is hot, the temperature in the storage space is controlled at an acceptable level, and this ensures the safety of the tulip crop."

Gulzar Ahmad, an employee with the Department of Floriculture, said the floriculture authorities operate their cold stores where the bulbs are kept cold and in proper temperature with the help of an air conditioned atmosphere.

"A tremendous amount of hard work goes into operating these cold stores manually with use of traditional methods. Out of the 12 months, one mont is set aside to prepare the tulip garden for the visitors. The remaining eleven months are used for maintaining these bulbs. From June onwards, we have to put these bulbs in cold storage; we have to treat them with medicines and make sure that they are disease free," Ahmad said.

He further stated, "In November, we have to start the planting process. During the storage period and process, we have to take special care to avoid any kind of damage, prevent any kind of disease. Diseased bulbs have to be removed immediately and burnt so that the other bulbs are not infected. We have to use air conditioners and set them at a particular temperature to maintain all of these bulbs."

Experts look after these bulbs by applying all time practiced methods, including spreading the white chemical, light water showering and giving proper names of the varieties of the bulbs.

For better preservation authorities have also install fans, AC, s and other gadgets aimed to maintain the temperature of cold stores for the betterment of more than ten lakh bulbs which people can see during next season in shape of a colorful and attractive tulip garden.

Altaf Ahmad, a technician in floriculture, told ANI, "Tulip bulbs are very delicate and we have to carry out several operations. We get them from the field; we have to treat them first and then this is followed by the grading process. We have to keep them in cooling temperatures so that in freezing temperatures, we get the optimum temperatures to prevent their exposure to humid conditions. The bulbs are kept in below room temperature conditions; segregation also takes place according to grading, Distinctions are made between large and small bulbs; good and bad bulbs. Those that are damaged are thrown away." (ANI)