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Variety

ICRI-1(malabar), ICRI-2(mysore), PV-1(malabar), MCC-12(vazhukka), MCC-16(vazhukka), MCC-40(malabar), Njallani

Planting time

The planting is carried out during the rainy season commencing from June. Seedlings are to be planted upto the collar region for better growth. Cloudy days with light drizzle are ideal for planting. Generally in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the seedlings are transplanted in March-May at a spacing of 20x 20 cm and mulched immediately. Beds are to be covered with an over head pandal and should be watered regularly.

Planting material

Vegetative propagation has the disadvantage of spreading the katte disease,which is of viral origin.This disease is not trasmitted through seeds.Hence in areas where the disease is widespread,it would be safer to use seedlings for propagation.

Type of planting

Pits of 45x45x30cm size are dug in April-May and filled with a mixture of top soil and compost or well decomposed farm yard manure. In slopy land, contour terraces may be made and pits may be taken along the contour and a close planting (2mx1m) is advisable along the contour.

Irrigation

In order to overcome the dry spell during summer, it is necessary to irrigate the crop to get maximum production as it helps in initiation of panicles, flowering and fruit set. They may be irrigated at an interval of 10-15days till the onset of monsoon.Methods of irrigation such as pot irrigation, hose irrigation, springlers or drip irrigation can be used.

Weeding

Weeding should be done regularly in the early stages of growth.

Two weedings in an year during June-July and October-November, and one digging of the soil around the bushes during August-September is recommended.

Fertilizer application

Fertilizers should be applied for each field according to the recommendations after the soil test.A fertilizer dose of 75kg nitrogen (N), 75kg phosphorus (P2O5) and 150g potash (K2O) per ha is recommended under irrigated condition for high yielding plantation yielding 100 kg/ha and above and a dose of 30:60:30 kg/ha is recommended for gardens under rainfed condition. Organic manures like compost or cattle manure may be given @5 kg per clump. Fertilizer is applied in two split doses. The first application during May will help in the production of suckers and development of capsules and the second application during late September will help the initiation of panicles and sucker. Only half the dose of fertilizer is to be applied during the first year and full dose is given from second year onwards. Application of fertilizer is done at a radius of 30cm and covered with a thin layer of soil.

Harvesting

Cardamom plants normally start bearing two years after planting. In most of the areas the peak period of harvest is during October-November. Picking is carried out at an interval of 15-25 days. Ripe capsules are harvested in order to get maximum green colour during curing. After harvest, capsules are dried either in fuel kiln or electrical drier or in the sun. It has been found that soaking the freshly harvested green cardamom capsules in 2% washing soda solution for 10 minutes prior to drying helps to retain the green colour during drying. When drier is used, it should be dried at 45-50o C for 14-18 hours, while for kiln, over night drying at 50-60 o C is required. The capsules kept for drying are spread thinly and stirred frequently to ensure uniform drying. The dried capsules are rubbed with hands or coir mat or wire mesh and winnowed to remove any foreign matter. They are then sorted out according to size and colour, and stored in black polythene lined gunny bags to retain the green colour during storage.

Value addition

Value-added products of large cardamom, such as essential oil and oleoresin, have high market values and export potentials .Cardomom oleoresin is used for flavouring food.The essential oil of Cardamom is extracted by steam distillation from the seeds of the fruit gathered just before they are ripe. The yield is 1-5 %.