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Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera health benefit

Also called "the elixir of youth" by the Russians,"the herb of immortality" by the old Egyptians or

Saturday, 23 April 2011 Comments

Aparjit

Aparajita (Clitoria tern

Aparajita has several synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like gokarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supu

Saturday, 23 April 2011 Comments

Arecanut

Arecanut

Image - Arecanut

PlantCharacteristics The arecanut palms grow under a variety of climatic and so

Monday, 14 March 2011 Comments

Ash Gourd

ASH GOURD (Benincasa his

Image - ASH GOURD (Benincasa his

PlantCharacteristics It is annual vine trailing on the soil surface. It is also k

Monday, 14 March 2011 Comments

Crops & Vegetables

Diseases of Sesame

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Alternaria leaf spot(Alternaria sesame)

Symptom

  • The pathogen attacks all parts of the plant at all stages.
  • Small, dark brown water soaked, round to irregular lesions, with concentric rings, 1-8 mm in diameter appear on the leaves and under excessive atmospheric and soil humidity the spot increases in size and number.
  • The lesions may also appear on the midrib and veins of the leaves.

Control

  • Grow resistant/tolerant variety like Krishna.
  • Destruction of crop residues and weeds.
  • Early planting i.e. immediately after onset of monsoon.
  • Follow intercropping system of sesamum + sunflower (3:1).

Bacterial blight (Xanthomonas campestris pv. Sesami)

Symptom

  • Plants of all stage are affected.
  • Water soaked, small and irregular spots are formed on the leaves which later increases and turn brown, under favourable conditions.
  • Leaves become dry and brittle, severely infected leaves defoliate.

Control

  • Crop rotation.
  • Use resistant variety like T-58.
  • Early planting i.e. immediately after onset of monsoon.
  • Destruction of crop residues.
  • Seed treatment with hot water at 52 o C for 10 minutes.

Bacterial leaf spot (Pseudomonas syringae pv. Sesami)

Symptom

  • Light brown angular spots with dark purple margin appear in the leaf veins.
  • Defoliation and death of plant may occur in severe leave and stem infection.
  • Sunken and shiny spots are appeared on the capsules.

Control

  • Use white seeded early varieties.
  • Crop rotation.
  • Use resistant varieties.
  • Destruction of crop residues.
  • Seed treatment with hot water at 52o C for 10 minutes.

Cercospora leafspot / White spot (Cercospora sesami, C. sesamicola)

Symptom

  • Disease appears as small, angular brown leaf spots of 3 mm diameter with gray centre and dark margin delimited by veins.
  • In severity of the disease defoliation occurs.
  • Under favourable conditions, the disease spreads to leaf petiole, stem and capsules producing linear dark coloured deep seated lesions.

Control

  • Grow resistant/tolerant variety like TKG-21.
  • Early planting i.e. immediately after onset of monsoon.
  • Follow intercropping system of sesamum + pearl millet (3:1).
  • Destruction of plant debris.

Corynespora blight (Corynespora cassiicola)

Symptom

  • On leaves purple brown specks which develop into large spots.
  • Infected leaves curl and defoliate.
  • On stem, purple brown elongated lesions appears.

Control

  • Destruction of weed and crop residues.
  • Field sanitation.
  • Early planting i.e. immediately after onset of monsoon.
  • Follow intercropping system of sesamum+pearl millet (3:1).

Damping off / Root Rot (Macrophomina phaseolina)

Symptom

  • The fungus attacks young seedling, their stem become water soaked soft and incapable of supporting the seedling which falls over and dies.
  • On older seedlings elongated brownish black lesions appear which increase in length and width girdling the stem and plant dies.

Control

  • Crop rotation.
  • Provide good drainage.
  • Late planting.
  • Inter cropping with moth bean (1:1 or 1:2).
  • Destruction of diseased plants.

Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora parasitica var. Sesami)

Symptom

  • Disease can attack at all stages of the plant.
  • Initial symptom is water soaked spots on leaves and stems.
  • The spots are chestnut brown in the beginning later turn to black.
  • Premature leaf fall occurs.
  • In humid weather, severity of disease increases, main root is affected, diseased plants are easily pulled out leaving lets and cortex behind, and produce shriveled seeds and gives blighted appearance.

Control

  • Follow two year crop rotation.
  • Deep summer ploughing.
  • Provide good drainage.
  • Late planting
  • Use resistant tolerant varieties like TKG-22, TKG-55 and JTS-8.
  • Intercropping system, sesamum+pearl millet(3:1) should be followed.
  • Destruction of crop debris.
  • Rougue out diseased plants.
  • Soil amendment with biological control agent like Trichoderma harzianum and Trichoderma viride or seed treatment with T. Harzianum/ T. viride / Bacillus subtilis (0.4%)

Powdery mildew (Oidium sp. Sphaerotheca fudiginia, Leveillula)

Symptom

  • Small cottony spots appear on the infected leaves which gradually spread on the lamina.
  • Defoliation of severely infected plant occurs before maturity.

Control

  • Field sanitation.
  • Destruction of crop residues.
  • Early planting i.e. immediately after onset of monsoon.
  • Follow intercropping system of sesamum + pearl millet (3:1).
  • Use resistant variety RT-127
  • Destruction of crop residues and alternate hosts.

Sesame phyllody (Phytoplasma like organism)

Symptom

  • All floral parts are transformed into green leafy structures followed by abundant vein clearing in different flower parts.
  • In severe infection, the entire inflorescences is replaced by short twisted leaves closely arranged on a stem with short internodes, abundant abnormal branches bend down.
  • Finally, plants look like witches broom.

Control

  • Delay in planting of sesamum about 3 weeks after onset of monsoon.
  • Use intercropping system, sesamum + pigeon pea (1:1).
  • Use resistant varieties.
  • Provide plant spacing.
  • Destruction of diseased plants.

Stem and root rot (Rhizoctonia bataticola & Macrophomina phaseolina)

Symptom

  • The affected plants show wilting.
  • At ground level stem becomes black which extends upward rupturing the stem.
  • Black dots appear on the infected stem which are the pycnidia of the fungus.
  • If wilted plant is uprooted, black coloured roots are observed having sclerotia of the fungus and looks as if charcoal is sprinkled on the root.
  • The roots become brittle.
  • In diseased plants black pods are seen which open prematurely exposing shriveled and discoloured seeds.

Control

  • Deep summer ploughing.
  • Provide good drainage.
  • Late planting.
  • Do crop rotation or change the field after every two years.
  • Follow intercropping system sesamum + mothbean 1:1 or 2:1 ratio.
  • Whenever necessary, irrigate field every two weeks to avoid stress condition.
  • Use resistant varieties.
  • Destruction of crop residues.
  • Soil incorporation of biological control agents like Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma viride.
  • Treat the seed with T. viride or T. harzianum or Bacillus subtilis (0.4%).

 


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Diseases of Maize

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Maydis leaf blight (MLB) - Bipolaris maydis

Symptoms

  • Young lesions are small and diamond shaped.
  • As they mature, they elongate. Lesions may coalesce, producing a complete “burning” of large areas of the leaves.
  • They vary in size and shape among inbreds and hybrids with different genetic background.
  • Race ‘O’ produced tan, elongated (2-6x 3-22 mm) lesion between the veins with limited margins, with buff to brown borders, usually attacks only leaves.

Control

  • Resistant varieties  – Deccan, VL 42, Prabhat, KH-5901, PRO-324, PRO-339, ICI-701, F-7013, F-7012, PEMH 1, PEMH 2, PEMH 3, Paras, Sartaj, Deccan 109.
  • Two applications of  captafol

Sorghum downy mildew (Peronosclerospora sorghi)

Symptoms

  • The chlorotic area of leaf always includes the base of the blade, and transverse margins usually sharply defined between the diseased and healthy tissues
  • A white, downy growth may appear on both surface of infected leaves. Sometimes tassels of diseased plant may exhibit phyllody.
  • Tolerant plant may show symptoms of systemic infection but have normal seed production.

Control

  • Resistant varieties – Comp. A-9, Indimyt 345, EH-43861, KH-526, AH-36.

Brown stripe downy mildew  (Scleropthora rayssiae var. zeae)

Symptoms

  • Lesions start developing on lower leaves as narrow chlorosis or yellow stripes,3-7 mm wide,with well defined margin and are delimited by the veins.
  • The stripes later become reddish to purple.Lateral development of lesions causes sever striping and blotching.
  • Seed development may be suppressed,and plant may die prematurely if blotching occurs prior to flowering.
  • Sporangia on the leaves appear as a downy whitish to wooly growth on both surface of the lesions.
  • Floral or vegetative parts are not malformed, and the leaves do not shred.

Control

  • Resistant varieties -Prabhat, Kohinoor, ICI-703, PAC-9401, PMZ-2, SEEDTEC-2331, BIO-9681 (Y) etc.

Brown spot (Physoderma maydis)

Symptoms

  • The first noticeable symptoms develop on leaf blades and consist of small chlorotic spots, arranged as alternate bands of diseased and healthy tissue. Free water and high temperatures(23-300C) is favorable for this disease.
  • Spots on the mid-ribs are circular and dark brown, while lesions on the laminae continue as chlorotic spots.  Nodes and internodes also show brown lesions.
  • In severe infections, these may coalesce and induce stalk rotting and lodging.

Control

  • Planting corn early allows to escape infection.
  • Removing of Saccharum spontaneoum grass growing around the crop, can minimise the diease.
  • Systemic fungicides mainly based on  acylalamines such as, metalaxyl (Ridomil 25 WP, Apron 35 SD, Apron 35 FN)
  • Resistant varieties – Ganga 11,Deccan, Deccan 103,Composite Suwan1, F-9572 A, JKMH-178-4, FH-3113

Pythium stalk rot (Pythium aphanidermatum)

Symptoms

  • Usually the basal internodes become soft, dark brown water soaked, causing the plants lodge.
  • Damaged internodes commonly twist before the plants lodge.  Diseased plants can remain alive until all vascular bundles become affected.
  • Isolations in culture media are necessary to differentiate Pythium from Erwinia stalk rots.

Control

  • Planting time between 10 & 20 July in Northern India.
  • Maintain plant population around 50,000/ha.
  • Good field drainage.
  • Removal of previous crop debris.
  • Resistant varieties – Ganga,  Safed 2

Bacterial stalk rot (Erwinia chrysanthemi pv zeae)

Symptoms

  • The stalk near the ground become water-soaked with brownish discolouration and are easily breakable.
  • The rotting tissues emit a putrid smell.
  • Infected plants show dark colour and water soaking at the base of the stalk.  Plants die shortly after tasseling.
  • The bacterial decomposition produces an unpleasant odor.

Control

  • Planting crop on ridges. Avoid water logging and proper drainage

Charcoal stalk Rot (Macrophomina phaseolina)

Symptoms

  • Disease appears 1-2 weeks after the flowering.  The outside of the lower internode becomes straw coloured.
  • The pith becomes badly disintegrated.
  • The pathogen invades seedling roots.  When plants approach maturity, the internal parts of stems show a black discolouration and shredding of the vascular bundles.
  • This occurs mainly in lower stalk internodes.  Careful examination of rind and vascular bundles of infected plants easily reveals small black sclerotia which can overwinter and infect next crop.
  • Fungus may infect kernels which cause them blacken completely.
  • Disease favoured by high soil temperature 30-42o C and low soil moisture.

Control

  • Avoiding water stress at flowering time can reduce disease incidence,
  • Apply Trichoderma in furrows after mixing with FYM @ 1kg/100kg  FYM/acre (mix 10 days before use in field)

Fusarium stalk rot (Fusarium moniliforme)

Symptoms

  • Affected plant wilt,leaves change from light to dull green, and the lower stalks become straw coloured.
  • Reddish discoloration occurs inside the infected stalk.
  • The internal pith tissue disintegrates, leaving only the vascular bundles.
  • Fungus enter through roots and grow up in to lower stem.
  • If infection occurs just after flowering, husks appear bleached and straw coloured.

Control

  • Seed from infected areas should not be planted.
  • Rotation with other crops.
  • Resistant varieties – Ranjit and Ganga 5
  • Single Cross – CM 103 x CM 104, CM 400 x CM 300

 


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Organic cultivation of Ginger

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Ginger is cultivated in many states in India. Dry ginger has good demand abroad especially in the Middle East markets. India is the largest exporter of dry ginger.
Ginger is a tropical crop adapted for cultivation even in regions of subtropical climate such as the high ranges. This crop thrives best in well drained friable loamy soils rich in humus. Being an exhaustive crop, it may not be desirable to grow ginger in the same field year after year. Therefore, it is essential to convert the whole farm as organic with ginger as one of the crops in rotation. The crop cannot withstand water logging and hence soils with good drainage are preferred for its cultivation. In order to cultivate ginger organically an isolation distance of 25m wide is to be left on all around from the conventional farm. The produce from this isolation belt shall not be treated as organic. Being an annual crop, the conversion period required will be two years. Ginger can be cultivated organically as an inter or mixed crop provided all the other crops are grown following organic methods. It is desirable to include a leguminous crop in rotation with ginger. Ginger-banana-legume or ginger-vegetable-legume can be adopted.

Sources of planting material

Carefully preserved seed rhizomes free from pests and diseases, which are collected from organically cultivated farms can be used for planting. However, to begin with seed material from high yielding local varieties may be used in the absence of organically produced seed. Seed rhizomes should not be treated with any chemicals.

Preparation of land and planting

While preparing the land, minimum tillage operations may be adopted. Beds of 15 cm height, 1 m width and of convenient length may be prepared giving at least 50 cm spacing between beds. Solarisation of the beds is beneficial in checking the multipli­cation of pest and disease causing organisms. The polythene sheets used for soil solarisation should be kept away safely after the work is completed.
At the time of planting, apply 25 g powdered neem cake and mix well with the soil in each pit taken at a spacing of 20-25 cm within and between rows. Seed rhizomes may be put in shallow pits and mixed with well rotten cattle manure or compost mixed with Trichoderma (10 g compost inoculated with Trichoderma).

Cultural practices

Mulching the ginger beds with green leaves is an essential operation to enhance germination of seed rhizomes and to prevent washing off soil due to heavy rain. This also helps to add organic matter to the soil and conserve moisture during the later part of the cropping season. The first mulching is to be done with green leaves @ 10 - 12 t/ha at the time of planting. It is to be repeated @ 5 t/ha at 40th and 90th day after planting. Use of Lantana camara and Vitex negundo as mulch may reduce the infestation of shoot borer. Cow dung slurry or liquid manure may be poured on the bed after each mulching to enhance microbial activity and nutrient availability. Weeding may be carried out depending on the intensity of weed growth. Such materials may be used for mulching. Proper drainage channels are to be provided in the inter rows to drain off stagnant water.

Manuring

Application of well rotten cow dung or compost @ 5-6 t/ha may be made as a basal dose while planting the rhizomes in the pits. Enriched compost giving a start to phosphorus and potassium requirements may be highly useful. In addition, application of neem cake @ 2 t/ha is also desirable.

Plant protection

Diseases

Soft rot or rhizome rot caused by Pythium aphanidermatum is a major disease of ginger. While selecting the area for ginger cultivation care should be taken to see that the area is well drained as water stagnation pre-disposes the plants to infection. Hence provide adequate drainage. Select seed rhizomes from disease free areas since this disease is also seed borne. Solarisation of soil done at the time of bed preparation can reduce the fungus inoculum. However, if the disease is noticed, the affected clumps are to be removed carefully along with the soil surrounding the rhizome to reduce the spread. Trichoderma may be applied at the time of planting and subsequently if necessary. Restricted use of Bordeaux mixture (1 %) in disease prone areas may be made to control it.
The bacterial wilt caused by Pseudomonas solanacearum can be managed by treating the seed rhizomes with streptocycline (200 ppm) for 30 minutes and shade drying before planting. In case the disease is noticed in the field, a uniform drenching of all the beds with Bordeaux mixture (1 %) may be made.
Regular field surveillance and adoption of phytosanitary measures are necessary for pest management. The shoot borer Conogethes punctiferalis is the most important pest of ginger. It appears during July-October. period. Spot out the shoots infested by the borer. Cut open the shoot and pick out the caterpillar and destroy. Spray neem oil (O.5%) at fortnightly intervals if found necessary. Light traps will be useful in attracting and collecting the adult moths.

Harvesting and post harvest operations

The crop is ready to harvest in about eight to ten months depending upon the maturity of the variety. When fully mature leaves turn yellow and start drying up gradually. Clumps are lifted carefully with a spade or digging fork and rhizomes are separated from dried leaves, roots and adhering soil. The average yield of fresh ginger per hectare varies with varieties ranging from 15 to 25 tonnes.
For making vegetable ginger, harvesting is done from the 6th month onwards. The rhizomes are thoroughly washed in water twice or thrice after harvest and sun-dried for a day.
For preparing dry ginger the produce is kept soaked in water overnight. Rhizomes are then rubbed well to clean them. After cleaning, rhizomes are removed from the water and the outer skin is removed with a bamboo splinter or wooden knife having pointed ends. Iron knife is not recommended, as colour will be faded. In order to get rid of the last bit of the skin or dirt, the dry rhizomes are rubbed together. The peeled rhizomes are washed and dried in the sun uniformly for one week. Rhizomes are to be dried to a moisture level of 11 % and they are stored properly to avoid infestation by storage pests. Storage of dry ginger for longer periods is not desirable. The yield of dry ginger is 16-25 per cent of the fresh ginger depending upon the variety and location where the crop is grown. Burning of sulphur for processing ginger is not allowed.

Preservation of seed rhizomes

The rhizomes to be used as seed material should be preserved carefully. The indigenous practices like spreading layers of leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla called in Malayalam 'panal' being followed by farmers can very well be adopted for this purpose. In order to get good germination, the seed rhizomes are to be stored properly in pits under shade. For seed materials, big and healthy rhizomes from disease-free plants are selected immediately after harvest. For this purpose, healthy and disease-free clumps are marked in the field when the crop is 6-8 months old and still green. Seed rhizomes are stored in pits of convenient size made inside the shed to protect from the sun and rain. Walls of the pits may be coated with cow dung paste. Seed rhizomes are stored in these pits in layers along with well dried sand or saw dust (i.e. put one layer of seed rhizomes, then put 2 cm thick layer of sand or saw dust). Sufficient gap is to be left at the top of the pits for adequate aeration. The pits can be covered with wooden plank with one or two small holes for aeration. Seed rhizomes in pits need inspection once in twenty days to remove shriveled and disease affected rhizomes. Seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits dug in the ground under the shade of a tree provided there is no chance for water to enter the pits. In some areas, the rhizomes are loosely heaped over a layer of sand or paddy husk and covered with dry leaves in a thatched shed.

 


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Diseases of Rice

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Nursery disease
Blast (Pyricularia Oryzae Cavara)

Symptoms

  • Disease can infect paddy at all growth stages and all aerial parts of plant (Leaf, neck and node).
  • Among the three leaf and neck infections are more severe.
  • Small specks originate on leaves - subsequently enlarge into spindle shaped Spots(0.5 to 1.5cm length, 0.3 to 0.5cm width) with ashy center.
  • Several spots coalesce to form big irregular patches
  • Unde severe leads to
  • lodging of crop (after ear emergence)

Neck Blast

  • Neck region develops a black color and shriveled completely / Partially grain set inhibited, panicle breaks at the neck and hangs.

Internode Blast

Control

  • Use of tolerant varieties (Penna, Pinakini, Tikkana, Sreeranga, Simphapuri, Palghuna, Swarnamukhi, Swathi, Prabhat, IR - 64, Jaya, IR - 36, MTU 9992, MTU 1005, MTU 7414).
  • Burning of straw and stubbles after harvest.

Bacterial Leaf Blight

Symptoms

  • Seedling wilt or kresek
  • Water-soaked to yellowish stripes on leaf blades or starting at leaf tips then later increase in length and width with a wavy margin.
  • Appearance of bacterial ooze that looks like a milky or opaque dewdrop on young lesions early in the morning.
  • Lesions turn yellow to white as the disease advances.
  • Green water-soaked layer along the cut portion or leaf tip of leaves as early symptom.

Control

  • Secure disease free seed
  • Grow nurseries preferably in isolated upland conditions
  • Drain the field (except at flowering stage of the crop)
  • Destruction of wild collateral hosts
  • Avoid flow of water from affected fields
  • Grow tolerant varities (Swarna, Ajaya, Deepti, Badva mashuri, MTU-9992).

Sheath Rot (Sarocladium oryzae)

Symptoms

  • Irregular spots or lesions, with dark reddish brown margins and gray center
  • Discoloration in the flag leaf sheath
  • Lesions enlarge and often coalesce and may cover the entire leaf sheath
  • Severe infection causes entire or parts of young panicles to remain within the sheath
  • Unemerged panicles rot and florets turn red-brown to dark brown
  • Whitish powdery growth inside the affected sheaths and young panicles
  • Infected panicles sterile, shrivelled, or with partially filled grain

Control

  • Destruction of the infected plant debris by burning.

Brown Spot ( Helminthosporium oryzae)
Symptoms

  • Occur in nursery as well as main crop
  • Causes blight of seedlings
  • Leaf spotting is very common
  • Isolated brown, round to oval (resemble sesame seed)
  • Spots measures 0.5 to 2.0mm in breadth - coalasee to form large pathces.
  • Seed also infected (black or brown spots on glumes) (spots are covered by olivaceous velvety growth)
  • Infection also occur on panicle neck with brown colour appearance
  • 50% yield reduction in severe cases

Control

  • The fungus is seed transmitted, a hot water seed treatment (53-54°C) for 10-12 minutes.

False Smut (Ustilaginoidea viridis)

Symptoms

  • Individual rice grain transformed into a mass of yellow fruiting bodies
  • growth of velvety spores that enclose floral parts
  • immature spores slightly flattened, smooth, yellow, and covered by a membrane
  • growth of spores result to broken membrane
  • mature spores orange and turn yellowish green or greenish black
  • only few grains in a panicle are usually infected and the rest are normal

Control

  • Destruction of straw and stubble.

Tungro Virus (Rice Tungro Virus)

Symptoms

  • Plants affected by tungro exhibit stunting and reduced tillering. Their leaves become yellow or orange-yellow, may also have rust-colored spots.
  • discoloration begins from leaf tip and extends down to the blade or the lower leaf portion.
  • delayed flowering, - panicles small and not completely exserted.
  • most panicles sterile or partially filled grains.

Control

  • Grow tolerant varieties like MTU 9992, MTU 1002, MTU 1003, MTU 1005, Surekha, Vikramarya, Bharani, IR 36 etc.,
  • In epidemic areas follow rotation with pulses or oil seeds.

Leaf streak (Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola)

  • Initially, small, dark-green and water-soaked streaks on interveins from tillering to booting stage.

Control

  • Proper, planting spacing, the use of resistant varieties, and hot water treated seeds.

 


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Organic cultivation of Cardamom

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Small cardamom is a sought after spice in the Middle East market. It is cultivated in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. India is the second largest producer of small cardamom.In organic cultivation of cardamom, the methods to be followed should conform to the standards laid down for the purpose. An isolation belt of at least 25 m wide is to be left from all around the conventional plantation. The produce from this area shall not be treated as organic. A conversion period of three years is required for an existing plantation for organic cultivation. For replanted and new planted areas, the produce from the fourth year onwards only shall be considered as organic produce. If organically produced planting materials are used and if at least two years have elapsed without use of any inorganic inputs in the field prior to planting, the yield from such a crop shall be considered as organic. In case of cultivation in virgin lands and farms wherein no chemical inputs have been applied in the past, the conversion period can be relaxed. In the case of wild cardamom plants available in the forest, the entire produce can be considered as organic.

Sources of planting material

Initially the seeds can be collected from any elite plantation even if they are not grown organically. However, the methods followed for raising seedlings should conform to the organic standards. If rhizomes are to be used as planting material, the plantation should have been following organic methods of production at least one year prior to collection. Tissue culture plantlets should not be used as planting materials in order to keep integrity with the natural methods of propagation. Acid treatment of seeds should be avoided, treatment of seeds with Trichodermaculture (50 ml spore suspension for 100 g of seed) is desirable as a prophylactic measure for managing nursery rot diseases. At the time of preparation of beds, incorporation of VAM multiplied in recommended organic medium may be done. For raising polybag seedlings (preferably bio-degradable polybags), potting mixture may be prepared by using 3: 1: 1 soil rich in organic matter, well rotten cow dung or vermicompost and sand. To this VAM andTrichoderma can also be added (250 g of mass multiple media mixed with 25 kg of well rotten cow dung). If growth of the seedlings is not adequate, spraying vermiwash once in a month is desirable (20 ml per plant). The diseases in the nurseries may be managed by regular surveillance and adopting phytosanitary measures. Restricted application of Bordeaux mixture 1 % may be done to control rot disease at the initial stage itself. Changing the nursery site is benefited to ward off pests and diseases and for vigorous growth of seedlings.

Preparation of land for planting

In sloppy areas, adequate soil and water conservation measures are necessary while preparing the land for planting. Planting in trenches across the slopes in low rainfall areas, diagonal planting and mulching the soil will help in soil and water conservation.

Cultural practices

Clean weeding is to be limited to the plant bases (50 cm) and the inter rows are to be maintained by slash weeding. The weeded materials should be used for mulching. Trashed materials and fallen leaves may also be used for mulching. Trashing the dry leaves and leaf sheaths as well as removal of yielded old suckers along with rhizomes may be carried out once in a year about a month after completion of final harvest which can be used for composting. The inter rows should not be dug at any cost. Water not contaminated with insecticides, fungicides, other chemicals and fertilizer leachates should only be used for irrigation under organic system of cultivation. This implies that the watersheds for irrigation sources should also be maintained following organic methods of production. In areas where adequate soil conservation measures and mulching have been practiced, there will not be any necessity for earthing up.

To facilitate penetration of sufficient light, restricted lopping of shade tree branches may be made. However, even under such situations no tree top shall be cut. In areas which are overexposed, planting of shade trees is an essential operation and while doing so, maximum bio-diversity suited to the local situation may be considered. Trees having desirable characters such as defoliation during rainy season, self pruning habit, flowering during summer and medicinal value may be considered. If such trees belong to leguminous species they are preferred. Restricted loppings and leaf litter may be used for green leaf manuring or composting. Preservation of bee fauna is an integral part of organic cultivation. Integration of apiculture will not only ensure bio diversity, but also help in increasing the production through assured pollination.

Manuring
Application of organic manures such as neem cake @ 1 kg or poultry manure/farmyard manure/compost/vermicompost @ 2kg per plant may be done once in a year during May-June. Application of Mussorie rock phosphate or bone meal may be done, if found necessary, based on soil analysis.

Plant protection
Diseases

The major fungal diseases affecting cardamom are azhukal (Phytophthora medii) and clump rot (Pythium vexans, Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium sp.). Incorporation of Trichoderma multiplied in suitable organic medium in the plant base (1 kg per clump) prior to the onset of monsoon season (May) is a prophylactic operation for clump rot disease. Use of Bordeaux mixture 1 % when found necessary may be resorted to. Regular rouging of virus affected plants should be made to reduce the spread. Rouged plants should be destroyed by burning.

Pests

Removal of drooping dry leaves, dry leaf sheath, old panicles and other dry plant parts is an important sanitation method recommended for reducing the pest inoculum in the plantation. Mechanical collection and destruction of egg masses of pests, larvae of hairy caterpillar (Eupterote sp) and beetles of root grub (Balepta fuliscorna) are other approaches in reducing the pest damage. As soon as bore holes of stem borer (Conogethes punctiferalis) are noticed, injection of Bacillus thuringiensis preparation into the bore hole (0.5 ml in 10 ml water) will kill the larva so that subsequent resurgence can be reduced. Wherever organic methods of cultivation are adopted outbreak of white flies (Dialeurodes cardamomi) is seldom observed. However in the event of such outbreak, collection of adults using yellow sticky trap and control of nymphs by spraying neem oil with soft soap made out of minimum caustic soda (500 ml neem and 500 g soft soap in 100 litres of water) is to be followed. In areas prone for nematodes,(Meloidogine sp.) application of crushed neem seed can take care of the problems. Application of fish oil rosin soap may be made for managing thrips (Sciothrips cardamomi). Malabar varieties are found to be tolerant to thrips to a certain extent. Regular surveillance is absolutely essential for timely detection and adoption of remedial measures against the pests affecting cardamom.

Harvest and post harvest operation

After harvesting, the freshly harvested capsules need to be cleaned from dirt. Curing of cardamom capsules is done by reducing the moisture from 80% to 8-12% at an optimum temperature by retaining green colour to the maximum extent. Cardamom can be cured by two methods.

Sun drying

Cardamom is directly dried under the sunlight. Sun drying generally requires 5-6 days. It is not dependable during rainy season. This practice is followed only in some parts of Karnataka. By this method, it is not possible to obtain good green colour.

Conventional curing

This is the most commonly adopted method for curing cardamom. It requires a structure fitted with furnace, flue pipes, chimney, ventilators etc. It is a masonry structure consisting of two apartments, a curing room and a furnace room. Curing room is a tall one provided with ceiling at the roof and fitted with wire gauge on the beams at the middle of the room parallel to the ground floor, making the room into two compartments. Flue pipes having a radius of about 25 cms made of galvanized iron sheets are provided in the ground floor from one end to the other from the furnace to chimney pipe to expel the smoke through the roof. Racks holding rectangular trays are also fitted to the side walls for accommodating larger quantities of cardamom.

Capsules are spread in a single layer on the racks and trays. After spreading, the curing room is closed and heating is done by burning firewood in the furnace and the heat produced is conducted. Only fallen trees and lopped branches should be used as fuel. The hot smoke passes through the pipes bringing the room temperature to 45 to 50°C. This temperature is maintained for 3 to 4 hours. At this stage capsules sweat and give off moisture. Ventilators are then opened for sudden cooling and sweeping out vapour from the drying capsules. Ventilators are closed after vapour is escaped completely and temperature is maintained at 40°C for about 24 to 30 hours. Temperature is raised again to 45°C for one hour. The whole process of curing takes about 28 to 36 hours. In general, quality of capsules cured by this method is very good. Community curing is cheap and less polluting.

 


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