Cardamon planting procedures and production techniques

The botanical name of Cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum (Maton.); it belongs to the family Zingiberaceae

Varieties: Malabar, Mysore, Vazhukka, Mudigree-1, CCS 1, ICRI 1, ICRI 2, PV 1, SRP 14 and Green Gold.

Soil and climate: Thick shady areas with loamy soil are ideal. Grown at an elevation from 600 to 1500 m. Areas exposed to heavy winds are unsuitable. Adequate drainage must be provided.

Season: June - December.

Seeds and sowing: Seedlings/suckers.
Propagation from Seeds: Collect seeds from healthy and good yielding plants. To plant one hectare 600 grams of seeds will be sufficient. Sow fresh seeds. Treatment with commercial grade Sulphuric acid or Hydrochloric acid for 20 minutes. Sowing in the beds, after washing with water will increase the percentage of germination. Prepare the beds to a fine tilth. A mixture of equal quantity of well rotten cattle manure, wood ash and jungle soil is incorporated in the nursery beds.
Provide mulching and shading to seed beds. Sow the seeds on the surface of the bed and just cover the seeds with a thin layer of fine sand. The beds should be kept moist but not too wet.
Germination starts usually a month after sowing and goes on for three months. When the seedlings are about one year old, they are transplanted to secondary nursery.

Preparation of the field: Dig pits of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm size and fill with compost and top soil. Contour planting may be done in slopy areas.

Larger types : 2.5 x 2.0 m.
Smaller types : 2.0 x 1.5 m.

Irrigation: Generally Cardamom is grown as a rainfed crop, but provide sprinkler irrigation during summer for increased yields.

Manuring: Apply compost 25 t/ha; 75 kg N; 75 kg P and 150 kg K/ha in two split doses during June - July and October - November.

Aftercultivation: Shade regulation is important. Weed the field as and when necessary. Towards the end of monsoon rains a light raking or digging and mulching is given around the plant to a
radius of about 75 cm to conserve moisture during the dry period.

Plant protection against Pests
Thrips: Spray monocrotophos 36 WSC 2 ml/lit.
Hairy caterpillar: Spray phosalone 35 EC 1 ml/lit.
Shoot and fruit borer: Spray monocrotophos 36 WSC 2 ml/lit.
Setup pheromone trap @ 12/ha to attract and destroy the female moths.
Mites: Spray dicofol 18.5 EC 2 ml/lit.
Rhizome weevil: Soil drenching of lindane 20 EC @ 2 ml/litre

Protection against Diseases
Mosaic or Katte disease: This is a serious disease affecting the productivity of Cardamom.
This is transmitted by banana aphid which can be controlled by regular spraying with Methyl demeton 25 EC, Dimethoate 30 EC or Phosphomidon 40 SL at 750 ml/ha.
Damping off or clump rot or rhizome rot: Drench nursery with 1 lit of Formaldehyde in 50 lit water for 3 sq.m. before sowing. Prophylactic drench with 0.25% Mancozeb or 1% Bordeaux mixture immediately after germination to control Pythium and 0.05% Carbendazim after 15 days to control Rhizoctonia.
Capsule rot or panicle rot or Azhukal: Three sprays with 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.25%
Copper oxychloride or 0.2% Mancozeb just before onset of South West monsoon in early August and in September. Drench soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Harvest: Harvesting commences from the third year onwards. But good yields are expected from 5th year. Harvesting is generally done once in a month. Pick only those fruits which are just ripe but not fully ripe. Fully ripe fruits tend to split on drying and do not develop the desirable dark green colour.

Yield: 200 - 250 kg/ha.

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