Package of Practices for Cultivation of Cardamom
Botanical Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Cardamom Elettaria cardamomum popularly known as ‘Queen of Spices’, is a dried fruit of a tall perennial herbaceous plant. In India, Cardamom is cultivated in Kerala (60%), Karnataka (31%) and Tamilnadu (9%). Due to its delicate aroma, Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Till the seventies, India was enjoying a near monopoly position both in its production and export in the world. Racently, ‘Guatemala has emerged as a main competitor.
1. The natural habitat of cardamom is evergreen forests of the Western Ghats.
2. Grow in areas receiving annual rainfall of 150-400 cm.
3. Temperature of 10 – 35 QC and altitude 600-1500 m above mean sea level are ideal.
1. Cardemom is generally grown in forest loamy soils, which are usually acidic (pH 5.0 – 6.5)
2. Cardemom is grown in evergreen forests with organic matter enriched surface soil.
3. Soils rich in N and low to medium P and K are ideal.
4. The soil should be fairly deep with good drainage.
1. Cardampmis propagated both through seeds and vegetatively.
2. Vegetative-method is becoming popular as this ensures large, scale.: production of true to type planting material of high yielding lines.
3. The suckers, free from pests and diseases are better suited for clonal multiplication of high yielding varieties.
4. Timber culture technology for rapid multiplication of cardamom dunes is adopted by the organized industrial sector.
About 10-18 months old seedlings are used for planting hr the field. Preparation of land consists of clearing all under growth and thinning out except shade trees or branches to have an even over head canopy. Pits of 45 x 45 x 30 cm2 size are dug in April-May and filled with a mixture of top soil and compost – or well rotten farm yard manure. Close planting (2 x ‘1 m) is advisable along the contour. The spacing adopted for Melabar type is 2×2 m between plants and rows, in Karnataka.
The planting is carried out during the rainy season commencing from June. The time for planting in low lying areas is ideal after the cessation of heavy monsoon showers. Cloudy days with light drizzles are ideal for planting.
Seedlings are planted up to collar region in the depression. Deep planting should be avoided as it results in suppression of growth and causes death of plants due to decaying of under ground rhizomes; The seedlings are supported by stakes and mulched.
Manuring and Fertilization:
Cardamom responds very well to organic and inorganic fertilizers.
1. A dose of 75:75:150 kg NPK/ha should be applied.
2. Organic manures like compost or cattle manure may be given @ 5 kg/clump.
3. Neem-oil cake is applied @ 1 kg/clump.
4. Fertilizers are applied in splits under rain fed conditions in May and September. The first: application helps in production of suckers and development of capsules whereas the second whelps in initiation of panicles and suckers.
5. In irrigated plantation, application of fertilizer in 4 split doses at a quarterly interval is beneficial.
Harvesting and Post Harvest Management:
1. Cardamom comes to bearing 2-3 years after planting.
2. The fruits mature at 3Q:40 days intervals, necessitating 5-6 pickings.
3. Harvesting season isOctober-November.
4. In Kerala and T.N., harvesting starts from. Aug.-Sept and continues till Feb–Mar. .
5. In Karnataka, harvesting starts in July-Aug. and continues upto Dec. -Jan.
6. Capsules are harvested just short of foil ripeness.
7. Over mature’ fruits split on drying floor, whereas the unripe fruits shrivel on drying.
Average Yield : 500 k/ha dry capsules.