Spices and condiments

Spices and condiments

Spices and condiments (11)

(Ad hoc recommendation)

The tree is particularly well adapted to semi-arid tropical regions, but can be grown in heavy rainfall areas too, provided the soil is well drained. It is adaptable to poor soil also.


Propagation technique
It is propagated by means of seeds, grafts and budding. Healthy seeds are sown in polybags and seedlings are transplanted at 40-60 cm height. Due to erratic bearing of seedling progeny, grafts are successfully used as propagules. Side grafting, inarching and patch budding are commonly practised. Budding is done on nine month old saplings for higher success.


Cultural operations
Plants of 40-60 cm height are planted during June to November at 10 m x 10 m spacing in pits of 1 m3 size incorporated with 15 kg of FYM. Regular watering till the plants establish in the field is a must. Leader shoot is cut at 3 m above ground level to induce scaffold branches. Organic manures are generally used. Intercropping with vegetables, groundnut and sesame can be done till the fifth year.


Pests and diseases
Insects like Tribolium castaneum and fungi are serious problems in storage and field respectively. Spray application of Quinalphos 0.05 per cent at the time of fruiting, when infestation starts, can control the storage beetle.


Harvest and yield

Seedlings start to yield 8-10 years after planting, whereas grafts and budded seedlings give yield after 4-5 years. Stabilized yield of 250 kg/tree is obtained from 9-10 years onwards. Harvesting is done from January to April. There is also a tendency of alternate bearing as in the case of mango.


(Garcinia gummi-gutta var. gummi-gutta)
(Ad hoc recommendation)

Garcinia, the camboge tree is a big sized glabrous and evergreen forest tree commonly seen in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Karnataka, and also in Sri Lanka. The tree is very much adapted to hill tops and plain lands alike. But, its performance is best in river banks and valleys. It grows well in dry or occasionally waterlogged or flooded soils.

The economic part of the plant is its mature fruit, which is highly acidic. The extract obtained from the mature fruit rind, (-) hydroxy citric acid, attracts foreign markets, for its use in medicines controlling obesity.


Planting materials

Grafts prepared through soft wood grafting or side grafting and healthy seedlings raised in the nursery are used for cultivation. If seedlings are planted, 50-60 per cent will be male; and female takes 10-12 years for bearing. Hence planting of grafts is advocated as they ensure maternal characters including early bearing tendency.


Propagation by seedlings
Selection of mother trees: Locate mother trees that give a steady annual yield with a mean fruit weight of 200-275 g, high acid and low tannin content. Collect seeds from freshly harvested and fully ripe fruits and wash in running water and spread in a thin layer under roof. By the 20th day, seeds will be ready for sowing. Sow seeds at the rate of two per bag in polybags during the month of August-September. Usually seeds start sprouting in the month of December but the sprouts become visible above the soil surface only by February. In order to avoid delayed germination, simple seed treatment methods can be employed.


Method 1: In this method, the processed seeds (after drying under shade) are given a mechanical treatment. Remove seed coats of such seeds using a sharp knife without injuring the ivory coloured cotyledon. Sow these ivory coloured cotyledons afresh in polybags at a depth of 3 cm. Germination starts in 20-25 days after sowing.

Method 2: After removing the seed coats, treat the seeds with gibberellic acid @ 250 ppm for 6 hours, and thereafter soak them in mancozeb @ 4 g per l for 2 hours. Sow the seeds in nursery bags and irrigate daily. Seeds germinate in 16-20 days.

Method 3: Second method followed by transfer of the seeds to a white polypropylene cover of size 20 cm x 25 cm along with 30-50 ml of filtered water. Tie the polybag along with the air inside tightly using a rubber band. Such seeds germinate in 10-12 days after sowing. In a polybag, about 500-750 seeds can be incubated at a time. Pick up the sprouted seeds and sow in the nursery bags kept under shade.

Keep the seedlings under shade. Irrigate them regularly on alternate days during summer months. After 3-4 months, place the seedlings under direct sunlight to trigger robust growth. At this age, apply FYM @ 50 g per bag. In six to seven months time, seedlings will be ready for planting.


Propagation by grafting
Two types of grafting methods are employed viz. soft wood grafting and approach grafting.


Soft wood grafting

Select scions only from specific elite trees regular in bearing, which produce high yield of large and quality fruits.

Collection of scion: Select straight growing, healthy, young shoots emerging from the primary branches with whorled leaf arrangement. Cut them to a length of 6-10 cm and store in polybags under humid condition. Remove leaves partly and shape the cut end to a wedge of 3-4 cm length by giving slanting cuts on two opposite sides.

Preparation of rootstock: Stock-plants having 3-4 mm stem thickness are ideal for grafting. Behead the selected plants at two nodes below the terminal bud and remove all the leaves at the graft union. Use scion and rootstock of same thickness for grafting.


Grafting: Insert the wedge of the scion into the cleft made on the rootstock and secure the graft joint firmly with a black polythene tape, 1.5-2 cm wide and 30 cm long.

Care in the nursery: Immediately after grafting, cover the plants with a transparent polypropylene cover and keep under shade. By the 30th day, grafts will establish and new leaves will start emerging. Remove the polythene cover and keep under shade. Water the grafts daily using rose-can or micro-sprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from rootstock at frequent intervals. Three months after grafting the plants will be ready for planting in the main field. Just before planting in the main field, leave the grafts under open condition in 10-15 days for hardening.


Approach grafting
Here also stock plants having 3-4 mm thickness are preferred and they are brought to the place where the mother tree is located. Grafting is done as in other crops and is kept intact for 45 days by which time union occurs. Graft is detached from the mother tree in three steps. The main disadvantage is that only a limited number of grafts can be produced in this method. Forty five days 
after grafting, they will be ready for transferring to the main nursery for hardening. Grafts are to be watered daily using a rose-can or micro-sprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from rootstock at frequent intervals. Leaf folding pests common in the nursery can be controlled by spraying with quinalphos @ 2 ml l -1 at monthly intervals. One year old grafts can be used for field planting.



Prepare pits of size 1 m x 1 m at spacing of 10 m. Refill the pits with a mixture of topsoil and compost / FYM. Proper care should be given to avoid water stagnation in pits.

The plants can be raised as a pure crop or as a mixed crop in coconut and arecanut gardens. Take pits of size 0.75 m x 0.75 m x 0.75 m in hard and laterite soils; 0.50 m x 0.50 m x 0.50 m in sandy and alluvial soils, at a spacing of 4 m x 4 m for grafts and 7 m x 7 m for seedlings. In slopes of 15 per cent or more, for planting grafts, rows are spaced at 5 to 5.5 m and 3.5 m between trees in a row. For planting seedlings, rows are spaced at 8 to 12 m and at 6 to 8 m for trees in a row. Planting is generally done at the onset of monsoon showers. Under existing coconut plantation of 25 years and above, spacing shall be so adjusted that it should alternate with the palms in the rows. Under Kuttanad conditions, where bunds and channels alternate, planting can be done in between two palms. Fill the pits with topsoil and 5 kg of compost or well-decomposed cattle manure and 10 g of carbaryl 10 per cent dust, to avoid white ant attack, before planting. The graft union shall remain just above the ground level. Provide support to the young plants. One month after planting, gently remove the polythene tape around the graft union.


Management of plantation

Clean the field free of bushes and thick shades. Weed once in three months and mulch the basin with black polythene or dry leaves to avoid drying.


Apply 10 kg cattle manure or compost per seedling / graft during the first year. Gradually increase the quantity so that a well-grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of organic manure per year. Apply N:P2O5:K2O mixture at the rate of 20:18:50 g/plant during the first year. Double the dose in the second year and gradually increase it to 500:250:1000 g / plant / year at the 15th year.



Grafts will grow fast from the second year onwards. Give strong support with casuarina poles at this stage. By fifth year, the tree will have 3 to 4 m height. At this stage, height of the plant may be maintained at 3.5 to 4 m and by seventh year at 4 to 4.5 m by pruning.

Pests and diseases
Hard scales and beetles are found to infest the crop. Hard scales desap the leaves and tender shoots. Both the adult beetles and their grubs defoliate the crop inflicting heavy loss of yield. Control these pests by spraying dimethoate @ 1 ml/l. Leaf folders are very common in the nursery against which quinalphos @ 2 ml/l may be sprayed. Incidence of hoppers is observed on grafts and large trees. This causes withering of leaves, drying up of branches and yield loss. Control them by spraying carbaryl 50 WP 2g + dichlorovos 1 ml per litre of water. Sooty mould is seen associated with hard scales. Seedling blight in the nursery stage is very common. Control it by drenching nursery bed with 1per cent Bordeaux mixture or using mancozeb @ 5 g l-1. In grafts and large trees, sometimes, fungal thread blights have been observed to cause leaf and twig blight. Adopt proper pruning and spray 1per cent Bordeaux mixture or mancozeb 0.3 per cent.


Seedlings start bearing generally at the age of 10-12 years. Grafts start bearing from the third year onwards and will attain full bearing at the age of 12 to 15 years. Flowering occurs in January-March and fruits mature in July. There are reports of off-season bearers, which bear two times a year, i.e., during January-July and September-February. Mature fruits, which are orange yellow in colour, drop off from the tree. Harvest mature fruits manually before they fall. Immediately after harvest, wash the fruits in running water and separate the fruit rind for processing.

Separated fruit rind is first sun dried and then either smoke-dried or oven-dried at 70-80ºC. In order to increase the storage life and to impart softness, mix the dried rind with common salt @ 150 g and coconut oil @ 50 ml per kg of dried rind.

Turmeric is a tropical herb and can be grown on different types of soil under irrigated and rainfed conditions. Rich loamy soils having good drainage are ideal for the crop. It is a shade tolerant crop with shallow roots suitable for intercropping and also as a component crop in the homesteads where low to medium shade is available.

Preparation of land

Prepare the land to a fine tilth during February-March. On receipt of pre-monsoon showers in April, prepare beds of size 3 m x 1.2 m with a spacing of 40 cm between beds.

Seed material

Whole or split mother rhizomes are used for planting. Select well developed, healthy and disease free rhizomes. Treat the rhizomes in any of the copper oxychloride fungicides and store in cool, dry place or in earthen pits plastered with mud and cowdung.



Cultivars: Tekurpetta, Sugantham, Kodur, Armoor, Alleppey.

Improved varieties: Suvarna, Suguna, Sudarshana, Prabha, Prathibha, Kanthi, Sobha, Sona, Varna, IISR Kedaram and IISR Alleppey Supreme(Resistant to leaf blotch).

Season and method of planting
Plant during April with the receipt of pre-monsoon showers. Take small pits in the beds in rows with a spacing of 25cm x 25cm. Plant finger rhizomes flat with buds facing upwards and cover with soil or dry powdered cattle manure. The seed rate is about 2000-2500 kg per ha.



Apply cattle manure or compost as basal dose at 40 t ha-1 at the time of land preparation or by spreading over the beds after planting. Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 30:30:60 kg ha-1. Full dose of P2O5 and half dose of K2O may be applied as basal; 2/3 dose of N may be applied at 30 days after planting; and 1/3 N and remaining K2O may be applied 60 days after planting.


Mulch the crop immediately after planting with green leaves @ 15 t ha-1. Repeat mulching after 50 days with the same quantity of green leaves.



Weed the crop thrice at 60, 120 and 150 days after planting, depending upon weed intensity. Earth up the crop after 60 days.


Chilli, maize and colocasia can be grown as intercrops.


Harvesting and curing
Time of harvest depends upon variety and usually extends from January to March. Harvest early varieties at 7-8 months, medium varieties at 8-9 months and long duration varieties at 9-10 months after planting.


Improved method of processing

Cleaning: Harvested turmeric rhizomes are cleaned off mud and other extraneous materials adhering to them and subjected to curing within 2-3 days after harvest so as to ensure the quality of the end product.


Boiling: Fingers and mother rhizomes will have to be boiled separately. Boiling is usually done in MS pans of suitable size. Cleaned rhizomes (approximately 50 kg) are taken in a perforated trough of size 0.9 m x 0.55 m x 0.4 m made of GI or MS sheet with extended handle. The trough containing the rhizomes is then immersed in MS pan (1 m x 0.62 m x 0.48 m) containing clean water sufficient to immerse the rhizomes. The whole mass is boiled till the rhizomes become soft. The correct stage of cooking can be judged by piercing a wooden needle through the rhizome. If the rhizomes are properly cooked, the needle will pass through the rhizome without resistance. The cooked rhizomes are taken out of the pan by lifting the trough and draining the solution into the pan.


Drying: The fingers are then dried in the sun by spreading them as a thin layer on bamboo mats or drying floor. Artificial drying at a maximum temperature of 60ºC gives a bright coloured product than that of sun drying especially for sliced turmeric.



In order to smoothen the rough and hard outer surface of the boiled dried turmeric and also to improve its colour, it is subjected to polishing. There are two types of polishing: hand polishing and machine polishing.


Hand polishing: The method of hand polishing is simple, which consists of rubbing turmeric fingers on hard surface or trampling them under feet wrapped in gunny bags. The improved method is by using hand-operated barrel or drum mounted on a central axis, the sides of which are made of expanded metal mesh. When the drum filled with turmeric is rotated, polishing is effected by abrasion of the surface against the mesh as well as by mutual rubbing against each other as they roll inside the drum.


Machine polishing: This method consists of an octagonal or hexagonal wooden drum mounted on a central axis and rotated by power.

Turmeric oleoresin

This is obtained by the solvent extraction of the ground spice with organic solvents like acetone, ethylene dichloride and ethanol for 4-5 hours. It is orange red in colour. Oleoresin yield ranges from 7.9 to 10.4 per cent. One kg of oleoresin replaces 8 kg of ground spice.


Plant protection

No major incidence of pest or disease is noticed in the crop. Shoot borers can be controlled by spraying 0.05 per cent dimethoate or 0.05 per cent quinalphos.

Leaf spot and leaf blotch can be controlled by spraying 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture or 0.2 per cent mancozeb. If symptoms of early wilt or rhizome rot appear, drench the soil with cheshunt compound or 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture.

Pepper requires a warm and humid climate. Though an annual rainfall of 250 cm is ideal for the proper growth of the crop, it can also come up well in low rainfall areas, if the pattern and distribution of rainfall are conducive. About 70 mm of rainfall within a period of 20 days may be sufficient for triggering of flushing and flowering process in the plant, but once the process is set on, there should be continuous, rainfall until fruit development starts. Any dry spell, even for a few days, within this critical period will result in substantial reduction of yield. Very long spells of dry weather are unfavourable for the crop growth.


The plant tolerates a minimum temperature of 10ºC and maximum of 40ºC, the optimum being 20 - 30ºC. It can be grown from sea level upto an altitude of 1200 m.


Pepper prefers a light porous and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Water stagnation in the soil, even for a very short period, is injurious for the plant. So, heavy textured soils in locations where drainage facilities are inadequate should be avoided.



Improved varieties:Panniyur-1, Panniyur-2, Panniyur-3, Panniyur-4, Panniyur-5, Panniyur-6, Panniyur-7, Subhakara, Sreekara, Panchami, Pournami. IISR Sakthi and IISR Thevam are tolerant to Phytophthora foot rot.

Local varieties: Kottanadan, Kuthiravally, Arakulam Munda, Balankotta, Kalluvally and Karimunda.


Selection of site

Sites with slight to moderate slope are ideal for pepper cultivation, as they promote drainage. Slopes facing south are to be avoided as far as possible. When such slopes are to be used for cultivation, the young plants may be sufficiently protected from the scorching sun during summer.


Selection of mother plants
Cultivate varieties, which are proven to be highly productive. Select mother plants, which give regularly high yields and possess other desirable attributes such as vigorous growth, maximum number of spikes per unit area, long spikes, close setting of berries, disease tolerance etc. Selected mother plants should be in the age group of 5-12 years. Mark and label selected mother plants in October-November.

Raising of rooted cuttings
Pepper is propagated vegetatively from cuttings. Select runner shoots produced at the base of mother plants and keep them coiled and raised to prevent from striking roots in the soil. Separate them from the vines in February-March.The middle one-third portion of runner shoot is preferred for planting. Very tender and too hard portions of the shoots are to be avoided. The shoots are cut into pieces with 2-3 nodes in each. Two node semi-hard wood cuttings are to be planted for rooting of pepper cuttings. Leaves, if any, are to be clipped off leaving a small portion of the petioles on the stem. Satisfactory rooting and survival of cuttings (over 70 per cent) could be achieved even without any hormone treatment. Plant the cuttings in polythene bags filled with potting mixture. The potting mixture is prepared by mixing two parts of fertile topsoil, one part of river sand and one part of well rotten cattle manure. Substituting granite powder (a waste material from stone quarries) for sand in conventional potting mixture (2:1:1) is good for growth of pepper cuttings and is economical. Recommended for black pepper nurseries for large scale multiplication. Solarized potting mixture supplemented with nutrient solution (urea, superphosphate, MOP and magnesium sulphate in 4:3:2:1 ratio) and fortified with biocontrol consortia promotes growth and helps in production of disease free rooted cuttings. When polythene bags are used, sufficient number of holes (16-20) may be provided at the base to ensure good drainage. The cuttings should be planted at least one node deep in the soil. The cutting after planting should be kept under good shade. In large nurseries, pandals are to be constructed for this purpose. The cuttings are to be well protected from direct sunlight and frequent watering is recommended in the nursery to maintain a humid and cool atmosphere around the cuttings. Watering 2-3 times a day is sufficient. Heavy watering, which makes the soil slushy and causes water logging is to be avoided.


Serpentine method of propagation
Three node cuttings planted in polythene bags are kept in a corner of the nursery. When the plant develops two leaves they are trailed horizontally in polythene bags containing potting mixture kept below each tender node. Each node will be pressed into the mixture with polythene bags with `V' shaped midribs of coconut leaves. As new shoots arise these will be trailed horizontally in polythene bags containing potting mixture. Upward growth of cutting is not arrested. Once twenty nodes get rooted first 10 bags in the rooted nodes will be separated by cutting at the inter nodes. The inter nodal stub will be pushed back into the potting mixture. These stubs also produce a second root system. Daily irrigation is to be given using a rose can. After three months it will be ready for planting in the main field. On an average 60 cuttings will be obtained in a year by this method from each mother cutting. Recommended in black pepper nurseries for large scale multiplication.


Field planting

Planting of standards is to be taken up in April-May with the onset of pre-monsoon showers. Murukku (Erythrina indica) Karayam or Killingil (Garuga pinnata), Ailanthus sp., subabul (Leucaenea leucocephala) etc. are suitable standards for growing pepper. Because of prevalence of Erythrina gall wasp avoid using Erythrina as standard. Only species tolerant to Erythrina gall wasp is Erythrina variegata (heavily throny). In high altitude areas, dadap(E. lithosperma) and Silver oak (Grevillea robusta) can be successfully used as standard for pepper. Seedlings of subabul and silver oak are to be planted 2-3 years before planting pepper. The cuttings of standards are to be planted in narrow holes of 40 to 50 cm depth. The spacing recommended is 3 m x 3 m on plain lands and 2 m between plants in rows across the slope and 4 m between rows on sloppy lands. The soil should be pressed well around the standards to avoid air pockets and keep the standards firm in the soil.


For planting pepper, prepare pits on the northern side of standards, 15 cm away from it. The pit size should be 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm. Fill the pits with a mixture of topsoil and compost or well rotten cattle manure @ 5 kg per pit. With the onset of southwest monsoon in June-July, plant 2 rooted cuttings in the pits at a distance of about 30 cm away from the standards. Press the soil around the cuttings and form a small mound slopping outward and away from the cuttings to prevent water stagnation around the plants. The growing portions of the cuttings are to be trailed and tied to the standards. Provide shade to the plants if the land is exposed and if there is a break in the rainfall. When pepper is trailed on arecanut, plant the cuttings 1.0 m away from palm and 1.5 m when coconut is used as the support. Trail the pepper vines on a temporary stake for 1-2 years. When they attain sufficient length to reach the tree trunk, remove the stake without causing damage to the vines and tie the pepper plants on to the tree trunk and trail them on it.


Management after planting
If the terrain of the land is sloppy or uneven, carry out contour bunding or terracing to prevent soil erosion. Carry out digging around the standards and vines at a radius of about 1 m from the base or in the entire plantation, twice during the year, the first at the onset of southwest monsoon and the second towards the end of northeast monsoon. Weeding around the plants is to be done according to necessity. However, in foot rot affected gardens, digging should be avoided and weeds removed by slashing. In the early stages, tie the vines to the standards, if found necessary.


Where pepper is grown in large areas, growing of cover crops like Calapagonium muconoides is recommended. When such cover crops are grown, they are to be cut back regularly from the base of the plants to prevent them from twining along with the pepper vines. Lowering of vines after one year's growth will promote lateral branch production.


Intercropping of pepper gardens with ginger, turmeric, colocasia and elephant foot yam is advantageous. Banana as an intercrop in yielding gardens reduces pepper yield. Therefore, this is not recommended beyond three to four years after planting of pepper vines. However, in the early years, banana provides shade to the young plants and protects them from drying up during summer months.


When pepper is grown in open places, shading and watering of the young seedlings may be done during summer months for the first 1 to 3 years according to necessity. The young plants may be completely covered with dry arecanut leaves, coconut leaves or twigs of trees until summer months are over. Mulching the basins of pepper vines during summer months is highly advantageous. Saw dust, arecanut husk and dry leaves are suitable mulching materials. Removal of unwanted terminal shoot growths and hanging shoots should be done as and when necessary.

Prune and train the standards in March-April every year to remove excessive overgrowth and to give them a proper shape. The effective height of the standard is to be limited to about 6 m. A second pruning of the standards may be done in July-August, if there is excessive shade in the garden.


After regular bearing for about 20 years, the vines of most varieties start declining in yield. The age of decline in yield varies with variety and agroclimatic and management factors. So underplanting should be attempted at about 20 years after planting or when a regular declining trend in yield appears. The old and senile vines can be removed 3-5years after underplanting depending upon the growth of the young vines.



Manuring for pepper vines is to be done in basins taken around the plant, 10-15 cm deep and 50-75 cm radius, depending up on the growth of the plants. Apply cattle manure / compost / green leaves @10 kg / plant / annum just at the onset of southwest monsoon and cover lightly with soil. It is desirable to apply lime at the rate of 500 g/vine in April-May, with the receipt of pre-monsoon showers, in alternate years.


Recommended nutrient dosage for pepper (3 years and above) is:

N:P2O5:K 2O g/vine/year

50:50:150 (general recommendation)
50:50:200 (for Panniyur and similar areas)

140:55:275 (for Kozhikode and similar areas)

Note: Apply 1/3 dose for one year old plants and 1/2 dose for two year old plants.

The fertilizers may be applied in two split doses, the first in May-June with the receipt of a few soaking rains and the second in August-September. Apply fertilizers in a circle of radius 30 cm around the vine in the case of plants trailed on erythrina (Nadan murukku) or teak pole (dead standard) soil application of Zinc @ 6 kg ha-1 as zinc sulphate or foliar spray of Zn @ 0.5 per cent

during flowering and pin head stage of black pepper is recommended in Zinc deficient areas of black pepper cultivation for increasing the yield and quality. Application of Molybdenum @ 1 kg ha-1 is recommended for areas deficient in soil molybdenum availability.


Irrigating pepper plants of Panniyur-1 variety at IW/CPE ratio of 0.25 from November / December till the end of March and withholding irrigation thereafter till monsoon break, increases pepper yield by about 50 per cent. The depth of irrigation recommended is 10 mm (100 litres of water per irrigation at an interval of about 8-10 days under Panniyur conditions). The water is to

be applied in basins taken around the plants at a radius of 75 cm. The basins may be mulched with dry leaves or other suitable materials.


Bush pepper
For production of bush pepper, two to four node semi hard wood lateral branches are to be collected with a segment of orthotropic shoot intact and planted in the nursery for rooting during May-June. Well rooted plants are used for field planting. The rooted cuttings are to be planted at 3 pits or pots. Fertilizers can be applied @ 1.0, 0.5 and 2.0 g/pot of N, P2O5 and K2O respectively at bimonthly interval. Alternatively, application of 15 g groundnut cake or 33 g of neem cake can also meet the N requirement of the crop. The bushy nature of the plant will have to be ensured by proper pruning of the viny growth. The potted plants are to be kept preferably under partial shade. It is necessary that re-potting is carried out after every two years.


Irrigating black pepper vines with 8 litres of water through drip per day during Oct - May enhances yield and quality in bush pepper with high BC ratio. Recommended for bush pepper grown as intercrop in coconut gardens.


Plant protection 


For the control of pollu caused by the flea beetle Longitarsus nigripennis, spray any one of the following insecticides namely, dimethoate or quinalphos at 0.05 per cent concentration. The spraying is to be given at the time of spike emergence (June-July), at berry formation (September-October) and once again at berry maturing stage, if needed. It can also be controlled by spraying cypermethrin 0.01 per cent twice, first at the berry formation stage and the second one-month after the first spray (Sept-Oct.).


For controlling pepper leaf gall thrips, dimethoate 0.05 per cent may be used.


Three different types of scale insects are found infesting black pepper in high ranges of Idukki district. They are black pepper mussel scale (Lepidosaphes piperis Gr.) infesting all parts of vines, coconut scale (Aspidiotus destructorSign) feeding from undersurface of leaf and soft scale Marsipococcus marsupiale Gr. confining to upper leaf surface. Infestation by mussel scale causes significant loss of yield as it affects all parts of plant including berries.

Two sprayings of dimethoate 0.05 per cent at fortnightly intervals after the harvest of berries effectively control black pepper mussel scale.

Soft scale (Lecanium sp.) is occasionally found to infest the foliage and vines at higher elevations. This scale insect can be controlled by spraying quinalphos 0.05 per cent.This treatment will be adequate to control the mealy bugs also. Root mealy bugs can be controlled by drenching the basins of vines with chlorpyriphos 0.075 per cent. Adequate precaution has to be taken to

ensure that the insecticide solution reaches the root zone of the vines. Many of the vines infested by root mealy bugs are also likely to be infected with Phytophthora and nematodes. For controlling hard scale, spot application of dimethoate 0.1 per cent is recommended.


Top shoot borer can be controlled by spraying dimethoate (0.05 per cent) on the tender shoots and flushes. The spraying has to be repeated to protect newly emerging shoots and flushes.


For control of the burrowing nematode Radopholus similis and the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita, adopt the following measures:
(a) Use nematode free rooted cuttings for raising new plantations.
(b) Apply talc based formulation of Bacillus macerans @ 10g/vine in basins (106 cfu/g) at the time of planting of vines or just before the monsoon period in established plantations. 


Phytophthora (foot rot)

For controlling the disease, adopt the following management practices:


All infected or dead vines along the root system are to be removed and burnt. Wherever water stagnation is a problem, effective drainage of both surface and sub-soil is to be ensured. To avoid soil splash and consequent disease initiation and spread, a legume cover in the plantation should be ensured. Runner shoots are to be pruned or tied back to vines before the onset of monsoon. At the onset of monsoon, the branches of support trees may be lopped off to allow penetration of sunlight and avoid build up of humidity.


Apply 1 kg lime and 2 kg neem cake per standard per year as pre-monsoon dose. The application of neem cake should be four weeks after lime application.


Chemical control
For the control of Phytophthora foot rot, any of the following control measures can be adopted.

1. After the receipt of monsoon showers (May-June), all the vines are to be drenched over a radius 45-50 cm with 0.2 per cent copper oxychloride @ 5-10 litres per vine. This varies according to the age of the plant. A foliar spray with 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture is also to be given. Drenching and spraying are to be repeated just before the northeast monsoon. A third round of drenching may be given during October if the monsoon is prolonged.


2. After the receipt of a few monsoon showers (May-June), all the vines are to be drenched over a radius of 45-50 cm with 0.3 per cent potassium phosphonate @ 5-10 litres per vine. This varies according to the age of the plant. A foliar spray with 0.12 per cent potassium phosphonate is also to be given. A second drenching and spraying with 0.3 per cent potassium phosphonate is to be repeated just before the northeast monsoon. If the monsoon is prolonged, a third round of drenching may be given during October.


Inoculate pepper vines with native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Trichoderma and Pseudomonas fluorescens at the time of planting in the nursery and field and apply during the pre-monsoon period in the established plantations to control foot rot. In the field, apply the biocontrol agents around the base of the vine (see the chapter on biocontrol agents against plant pathogens).


Note: (1) All chemical control measures are prophylactic in nature and application of chemicals in advanced stages of disease will not be effective in combating the disease.

(2) In Phytophthora sick fields, use only chemical control measures.


Replanting / rejuvenation

Total replanting has to be undertaken in gardens where the mortality is 50-60 per cent or above. Where the mortality is below 50 per cent, timely plant protection measures as described above should be given to all the existing vines as prophylactic measure and gaps filled up. Gap filling or replanting should be taken up only after a period of one year. At the time of replanting, soil drenching with Bordeaux mixture or copper oxychloride should be given. While replanting, farmers should be encouraged to use recommended varieties.


Fungal pollu (Anthracnose)

For the control of fungal pollu or anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum gloeo-sporioides, spray 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture, once before flowering starts (late June and early July) and then at berry formation stage (late August). Minimize shade in the garden.

Foliar spray of carbendazim @ 1g l-1 or a formulation containing combination of carbendazim + mancozeb @ 1g l-1 during the month of June can effectively control the disease.


Wherever Phytophthora foot rot management is undertaken properly, separate control measures for pollu disease may not be necessary.


Note: Since Bordeaux mixture application for pepper is to be given mostly at a time when the monsoon is very active, it is to be ensured that a sticker is added to the fungicide. The cheapest and most effective sticker is rosin washing soda mixture.

Rotting disease
For control of rotting disease of cuttings in the nursery, VAM and Trichoderma can be applied in the potting mixture. VAM inoculum consisting of infected root bits and soils can be applied @100 cc per kg of potting mixture and Trichoderma @ 1g kg-1 of potting mixture. For the control of foliar infection apply potassium phosphonate @ 3 ml litre-1 at fortnightly interval. In case, biocontrol agents are not incorporated in the potting mixture, 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture spray at weekly interval may be resorted to. When the cuttings start germination, ensure good aeration in the nursery. Heavy watering, which causes water stagnation is to be avoided. Instead, light and frequent watering should be resorted to. Remove shade as soon as continuous rain sets in.


In certain pockets, instead of normal spike with berries, leaf-like structures are produced. This is caused by Phytoplasma. Such vines, if noticed, must be uprooted and destroyed. Planting material should not be collected from such vines.

Stunted disease
The symptoms due to this disease include shortening of internode and narrowing of leaves with mottling. Such leaves also become leathery and deformed. This is caused by a virus. Since the disease is systemic and transmitted through planting materials, avoid collecting planting materials from such vines. Once it is noticed, uproot the vines to avoid further spread.


Waiting period of insecticide / fungicide

Dimethoate             20 days
Quinalphos             20 days
Mancozeb               30 days

Harvesting and processing

Black pepper

Black pepper of commerce is produced from whole, unripe but fully developed berries. The harvested berries are piled up in a heap to initiate browning. Then berries are detached from the stalk by threshing. Then they are spread on suitable drying floor. During sun-drying, berries are raked to ensure uniform drying and to avoid mould development. Drying the berries for 3-5 days reduces the moisture content to 10-12 per cent.The dried berries are cleaned, graded and packed in double lined gunny bags.


Blanching the berries in boiling water for one minute prior to sun drying accelerates browning process as well as the rate of drying. It also gives a uniform lustrous black colour to the finished product and prevents mouldiness of berries. Prolonged blanching should be avoided since it can deactivate the enzymes responsible for browning process.

White pepper
White pepper is prepared from ripe berries or by decorticating black pepper. Bright red berries, after harvest are detached from the stalk and packed in gunny bags. The bags are allowed to soak in slow running water for about one week during which bacterial rotting occurs and pericarp gets loosened. Then the berries are trampled under feet to remove any adhering pericarp, washed in water and then sun dried to reduce the moisture content to 10-12 per cent and to achieve a cream or white colour. White pepper is garbled, sorted and packed in gunny bags. Approximately 25 kg white pepper is obtained from 100 kg ripe berries.

Improved CFTRI method
Fully mature but unripe berries are harvested and boiled in water for 10-15 minutes to soften the pericarp. After cooling, the skin is rubbed off either mechanically or manually, washed and sun dried to obtain white pepper. Since no retting operation is involved, the product will be free from any unpleasant odour. However, white pepper produced by this method gives pepper powder of light brown colour due to gelatinisation of starch in contrast to pure white powder obtained by traditional method.


Decorticated black pepper
This is a form of white pepper produced by mechanical decortication of the outer skin of black pepper. This is generally done when white pepper is in short supply. The appearance of decorticated kernel is inferior to traditionally prepared white pepper, but is satisfactory when ground. Also the milling operation requires considerable skill to avoid excessive volatile oil loss.

Dehydrated green pepper

In this method, under-mature berries are harvested and subjected to heat treatment for inactivating the enzymes responsible for browning reaction.Then the berries are dehydrated under controlled conditions wherein maximum retention of green colour is obtained. Dehydrated green pepper after reconstitution in water resembles freshly harvested green pepper. The advantage is that the season of availability can be extended and the berries could be stored for a year or more. Dry recovery comes to 20 per cent.


Canned green pepper

Green pepper after harvest is preserved in two per cent brine solution and the product is heat sterilized. This product has the additional advantage over dehydrated green pepper in that it retains the natural colour, texture and flavour.


Bottled green pepper

Green pepper is preserved without spoilage in 20 per cent brine solution containing 100 ppm SO2 and 0.2 per cent citric acid. Addition of citric acid prevents blackening of berries.


Cured green pepper

To overcome the disadvantages of poor texture and weak flavour of dehydrated greenpepper and the high unit weight and packing cost of canned and bottled green pepper, cured green pepper has been developed. Berries are thoroughly cleaned in water, steeped in saturated brine solution for 2-3 months, drained and packed in suitable flexible polyethylene pouches.


Freeze-dried green pepper

Most of the moisture from fresh tender green pepper is removed by freezing the berries at -30ºC to -40ºC under high vacuum. The colour, aroma and texture of freeze-dried green pepper are superior to sun dried or mechanically dehydrated green pepper. Freeze-dried green pepper has 2-4 per cent moisture and is very light.

Pepper oil
Black pepper is crushed to coarse powder and steam distilled to obtain 2.5 to 3.5 per cent colourless to pale green essential oil which becomes viscous on ageing. It is used in perfumery and in flavouring. Oil can also be distilled from white pepper but high price of white pepper and low oil yield do not favour its commercial production.


Pepper oleoresin
Extraction of black pepper with organic solvents like acetone, ethanol or dichloro-ethane provides 10-13 per cent oleoresin possessing the odour, flavour and pungent principles of the spice. The content of the pungent alkaloid piperine ranges from 4 to 6 per cent in dry pepper and 35 to 50 per cent in oleoresin. When freshly made, pepper oleoresin is a dark green, viscous, heavy liquid with a strong aroma. One kg of oleoresin when dispersed on an inert base can replace 15 to 20 kg of spice for flavouring purpose.

Table 23. Drying percentage and oil content of Panniyur varieties of pepper



P 1 P 2 P 3 P 4 P 5 P 6 P 7
Drying % 35.3 35.7 27.8 34.7 35.7 32.9 33.6
Piperine % 5.30 6.50 4.80 4.40 5.30 4.94 5.57
Oleoresin % 11.78 12.20 10.40 11.30 12.33 8.27 10.61
Essential oil % 3.31 3.40 3.12 3.12 3.80 1.33 1.50

Nutmeg requires a hot, humid climate without pronounced dry season. The soil should be rich in organic matter and well drained. The tree prefers partial shade. Sheltered valleys are the best suited. It can be grown up to about 900 m above MSL.

Variety: IISR-Viswashree


Seeds and sowing

Fully ripe tree-burst fruits are selected for raising seedlings. The fleshy rind and the mace are removed before sowing. The seeds should be sown immediately after collection. If there is any delay in sowing, the seeds should be kept in baskets filled with damp soil. The seedbeds of 100-120 cm width, 15 cm height and of convenient length may be prepared in cool and shady places. A mixture of garden soil and sand in the ratio 3:1 may be used for preparing nursery beds. Over this, sand is spread to a thickness of 2-3 cm and the seeds dibbled 2 cm below the surface at a spacing of about 12 cm on either side. Seeds germinate within 50-80 days after sowing. When the plumule produces two elongated opposite leaves, the seedlings are to be transferred from beds to polybags.

Vegetative propagation of nutmeg through epicotyl grafting is recommended for all nutmeg nurseries.


Since the nutmeg trees require shade, suitable fast growing shade trees like Albizia, Erythrina etc. are planted in advance. Banana can also be grown as a shade crop in the early stages. Pits of 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm are dug at a spacing of 8 m x 8 m with the onset of southwest monsoon. The pits are filled with topsoil and compost or well decomposed cattle manure and seedlings are planted.


Apply 10 kg cattle manure or compost per seedling during the first year. Increase the quantity gradually till a well grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of organic manures per year. Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 20:18:50 g/plant during the first year. This may be doubled in the next year. Gradually increase the N:P2O5:K2O dose to 500:250:1000 g/plant/year to obtain full dose from 15th year onwards.



Fruits are available throughout the year, but the peak period of harvest is from June to July. When fruits are fully ripe, the nuts split open. These are either plucked from the tree or allowed to drop. The two major products are nutmeg and mace. Dried nutmeg and mace are directly used as spice and also for the preparation of their derivatives.


After de-rinding the nutmeg fruit, red feathery aril (mace) is separated from pericarp. The mace is detached, flattened and sun dried on mats for 3-5 days or in artificial heat drier.


The nuts are sun dried for four to eight weeks or in artificial heat drier until kernel rattle inside the shell. They are stored in warm dry place prior to shelling.



Nutmeg and mace oleoresins are prepared by extracting the ground spice with organic solvents. Yield of oleoresin is 10-12 per cent for nutmeg and 10-13 per cent for mace. Mace oleoresin possesses a fine, fresh fruity character.


Nutmeg butter
Nutmeg contains 25-40 per cent of fixed oil that can be obtained by pressing the crushed nuts between plates in the presence of steam or by extracting with solvents. The product, known as nutmeg butter, is a highly aromatic, orange coloured fat with the consistency of butter at ambient temperature.


Nutmeg oil
This is obtained as pale yellow to white volatile liquid possessing a fresh warm aromatic odour. The yield ranges from 7 to 16 per cent. The unshelled nuts are coarsely crushed in a mechanical cracker and steam distilled.


Mace oil

The mace yields 4-17 per cent colourless to pale yellow liquid possessing organoleptic properties similar to nutmeg oil. Nutmeg and mace oil are also used for flavouring.


The hard scale Saissetia nigra occurs on the pencil thick branches and desaps the tissues. The infested shoots invariably develop sooty mould cover. It can be controlled by spot spraying with quinalphos 0.025 per cent.


Leaf spot and shot hole (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

Sunken spots surrounded by a yellow halo are the initial symptoms. Subsequently the central portion of the necrotic region drops off resulting in shot hole symptoms. Dieback symptoms are also observed in some of the mature branches. On young seedlings drying of the leaves and subsequent defoliation are seen. The disease can be controlled by spraying 1per cent Bordeaux mixture two or three times during rainyseason.

Fruit rot
This is caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Botryodiplodia theobromae. Water soaked lesions are seen on the fruits, the tissues of which become discoloured and disintegrated. Premature splitting of the pericarp and rotting of mace and seed are the main symptoms of the disease. The internal tissues are found rotten. The fallen fruits become enveloped with the growth of the organism. The disease can be controlled by spraying 1per cent Bordeaux mixture.


The other diseases include leaf blight (Botryodiplodia theobromae), leaf spot (Alternaria citri), sooty mould (Phragmocapnius sp.) and the algal leaf spot (Cephaleuros sp.).

It is an under exploited spice crop, which grows luxuriantly in tropical soils with good drainage. The rhizomes of mango ginger are used for preparing pickles, chutney, preserve, candy, sauce and salad and in meat and other culinary preparations. The rhizome has excellent medicinal properties and finds extensive use in the indigenous system of medicine. It is, appetizer, antipyretic, 
aphrodisiac and laxative. It is useful in biliousness, itching, skin diseases, bronchitis, asthma, hiccough and inflammation due to injuries. The rhizomes and roots are carminative and stomachic and in crushed pulp form they are applied over contusions, sprains and bruises for rapid healing.


Mango ginger is botanically related to neither mango nor ginger, but to turmeric (Curcuma longa). Morphologically mango ginger plant is similar to turmeric, but has shorter crop duration of six months. The rhizomes are pale yellow inside with lighter colour outside, have sweet smell of unripe mango when crushed. The crop comes up well in open conditions, but tolerates low levels of shade and therefore partially shaded situations can also be utilized for its cultivation. It can be well accommodated as an intercrop in coconut gardens and in rotation with other short duration crops like vegetables and also as a crop component in homesteads.

Preparation of land
Prepare the land to a good tilth during February-March subject to the availability of pre-monsoon showers. Prepare beds of convenient length, 1.2 m width, 25 cm height and 40 cm spacing between beds.

Seed material and varieties
Whole or split mother rhizomes or well developed, healthy and disease free finger rhizomes weighing 15-20 g are suitable for planting. In Kerala, local varieties are used for cultivation. Amba is a released variety from High Altitude Research Station, Pottangi, Orissa.


Season and method of planting
Plant during April with the commencement of pre-monsoon showers. Take small pits in the beds with a spacing of 25 cm x 30 cm and at a depth of 4-5 cm. Adopt a seed rate of 1500 kg ha-1.



Apply cattle manure or compost as basal dose @ 30-40 t ha-1, spread over the beds and mix well. Apply N:P2O5:K2O fertilizer @ 30:30:60 kg ha-1. Full dose of P2O5 and half dose of K2O may be applied as basal. Apply two-third dose of nitrogen 30 days after planting and remaining N and K2O at 60 days after planting.



Mulch the crop immediately after planting with green leaves @ 15 t ha-1. Repeat mulching after 50 days with same quantity of green leaves.



The rhizomes germinate within 3-4 weeks. Remove weeds 45 days after planting and repeat if necessary. Earth up the crop after 60 days of planting.

Plant protection

Compared to the related crops ginger and turmeric, the crop is free from pests and diseases. But when large scale cultivation is taken up, the attack of shoot borer (Conogethes punctiferalis) causes damage to the crop. Appearance of dead heart in the field is the main symptom. To reduce the pest population, pull out the dead hearts with the larvae inside and burn it. If infestation is 
severe, spray dimethoate or quinalphos at 0.05per cent.

GINGER (Zingiber officinale)


Ginger is a tropical plant adapted for cultivation even in regions of subtropical climate such as the high ranges. It prefers a rich soil with high humus content. Being an exhausting crop, ginger is not cultivated continuously in the same field but shifting cultivation is practised. The crop cannot withstand waterlogging and hence soils with good drainage are preferred for its cultivation. It is shade tolerant / loving crop with shallow roots and therefore suitable for intercropping and as a component in the homesteads where low to medium shade is available.


Preparation of land

Clear the field during February-March and burn the weeds, stubbles, roots etc. in situ. Prepare the land by ploughing or digging. Prepare beds of convenient length (across the slope where the land is undulating), 1 m width, 25 cm height with 40 cm spacing between the beds. Provide drainage channels, one for every 25 beds on flat lands.

Dry ginger type: Cultivars: Maran, Wayanad, Manantoddy, Himachal, Valluvanad, Kuruppampady. 
Improved varieties: IISR-Varada, IISR-Rejatha and IISR-Mahima.

Green ginger type : Rio-De-Janeiro, China and Wayanad Local

Dual purpose type: Athira (tolerant to rhizome rot and bacterial wilt).

Rio-De-Janeiro and Karthika (tolerant to rhizome rot and bacterial wilt).

Planting material
Ginger rhizomes are used for planting. For selection and preservation of seeds, adopt the following methods:


Mark healthy and disease free plants in the field when the crop is 6-8 months old and still green. Select best rhizomes free from pest and disease from the marked plants. Handle seed rhizomes carefully to avoid damage to buds. Soak the selected rhizomes for 30 minutes in a solution of mancozeb and malathion to give terminal concentration of 0.3 per cent for the former and 0.1 per cent for the latter. Dry the treated rhizomes in shade by spreading on the floor. Store the treated rhizomes in pits dug under shade, the floor of which is lined with sand or saw dust. It is advisable to spread layers of leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla (panal). Cover the pits with coconut fronds.

Examine the stored rhizomes at monthly intervals and remove the rhizomes that show signs of rotting. This will help to keep the inoculum level low. Provide one or two holes for better aeration. Treat the seed rhizomes similarly before planting also.


Season and method of planting

The best time for planting ginger is during the first fortnight of April, after receipt of pre-monsoon showers. For irrigated ginger, the best suited time for planting is middle of February (for vegetable ginger).


Plant rhizome bits of 15 g weight in small pits at a spacing of 20 cm x 20 cm to 25 cm x 25 cm and at a depth of 4-5 cm with at least one viable healthy bud facing upwards. 

Seed rate             1500 kg ha-1

Apply manures and fertilizers at the following rates:


FYM                                             30 t ha-1
N:P2O5:K2O             75:50:50: kg/ha/year

Full dose of P2O5 and 50 per cent of K2O may be applied as basal. Half the quantity of N may be applied 60 days after planting. The remaining quantity of N and K2O may be applied 120 days after planting.


Immediately after planting, mulch the beds thickly with green leaves @ 15 t ha-1. Repeat mulching with green leaves twice @ 7.5 t ha-1 first 44-60 days and second 90-120 days after planting. Grow green manure crops like daincha and sun hemp in the interspaces of beds, along with ginger and harvest the green manure crop during second mulching of ginger beds.



Remove weeds by hand weeding before each mulching. Repeat weeding according to weed growth during the fifth and sixth month after planting. Earth up the crop during the first mulching and avoid water stagnation.

Plant protection

1. For controlling shoot borer, spray dimethoate or quinalphos at 0.05 per cent

2. For controlling rhizome rot, adopt the following measures:

a. Select sites having proper drainage.

b. Select seed rhizomes from disease free areas.

c. Treat seed rhizomes with 0.3 per cent mancozeb.

d. When incidence of rhizome rot is noted in the field, dig out the affected plants and drench the beds with cheshunt compound or 1.0 per cent Bordeaux mixture or 0.3 per cent mancozeb.

e. Inoculation with native arbuscular mycorrhiza, Trichoderma and Pseudomonas fluorescens at the time of planting is recommended as a biocontrol measure.

3. For controlling the leaf spot disease, 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture, 0.3 per cent mancozeb or 0.2 per cent thiram may be sprayed.

4. For control of nematode in endemic area, apply neem cake @ 1.0 t ha-1 at planting followed by application of neem cake @ 1.0 t ha-1 at 45 days after planting (DAP).

Harvesting and processing

For vegetable ginger, the crop can be harvested from sixth month onwards. For dry ginger, harvest the crop between 245-260 days. After harvest, the fibrous roots attached to the rhizomes are trimmed off and soil is removed by washing. Rhizomes are soaked in water overnight and then cleaned. The skin is removed by scrapping with sharp bamboo splits or such other materials. Never use metallic substances since they will discolour the rhizomes. After scrapping, the rhizomes are sun dried for a week with frequent turnings. They are again rubbed well by hand to remove any outer skin.

Ginger oil

Ginger oil is prepared commercially by steam distillation of dried powdered ginger. The yield of oil varies from 1.3 to 3.0 per cent. The major use of ginger oil is as a flavouring agent for beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.


Ginger oleoresin
Oleoresin from ginger is obtained conventionally by extraction of dried powdered ginger with organic solvents like ethyl acetate, ethanol or acetone. Commercial dried ginger yields 3.5-10.0 per cent oleoresin. Ginger oleoresin is a dark brown viscous liquid responsible for the flavour and pungency of the spice.

VANILLA (Vanilla planifolia)

Vanilla is a tropical orchid requiring a warm climate with frequent rains, preferring an annual rainfall of 150-300 cm. Uncleared jungle areas are ideal for establishing vanilla plantations. In such locations, it would be necessary to retain the natural shade provided by lofty trees and to leave the soil or the rich humus layer on the top undisturbed. Vanilla is cultivated on varied type of soils from sandy loam to laterites. It requires filtered sunlight. In the absence of natural shade, trees should be grown to provide shade.

Preparation of land

Clear the land of jungle growth and prepare for planting. Being a creeper, the plant requires support up to a height of about 130-135 cm. Cuttings of Plumaria alba, Erythrina lithosperma, Jatropha carcas and Glyricidia maculata are suitable as live supports. The growth of live standard is to be adjusted to make them branch at a height of 120-150 cm to facilitate trailing of the vines and artificial hand pollination.

Time and method of planting

Vanilla is propagated by planting shoot cuttings in situ. Plant cuttings of 60 cm length. Longer cuttings bear earlier than shorter cuttings. Rooted cuttings as well as tissue culture derived plants can also be used for planting.


Plant the cutting with the onset of monsoon rains. Set out the cutting at a spacing of 2.7 m between plants and 1.8 m between rows in pits of size 40 cm x 40 cm x 40 cm. Trail the vines on the live supports and when they attain a height of 135 cm trail them horizontally on bamboo poles tied to vertical supports or branches of support plants in loops touching the ground.



Being a surface rooting plant, manuring should be confined to the surface layer of soil. Provide heavy and frequent mulching to the vines. Apply 120 g of N in the form of leaf mould or FYM in two split doses in June-July and September-October.


Vanilla cannot withstand even the slightest root disturbance. Hence remove weeds from the plant base by hand weeding and use them as mulch.


Being closely planted, no intercrops are raised in a pure plantation of vanilla. But vanilla can be planted as an intercrop in coffee, coconut, arecanut etc.

Pollination, harvesting and curing
Flowering of vine commences usually by about the third year. The inflorescence is produced in the leaf axils. There is a tendency for some of the vines to maintain only vegetative growth. A light nipping off or pruning of the terminal shoots hastens flowering. Due to the peculiar structure of the flowers, self-pollination is impossible. Hence hand pollination is adopted for fruit set. Best time for pollinating the flowers is between 6 am and 1 pm and a success of 80-85 per cent can be obtained. Successful fertilization is indicated by the retention of calyx and the stigma even after four days of pollination.

The pods ripen in about 9-11 months time. Before attaining maturity the fruit is dark green in colour and when ripe yellowing commences from the tip of the pod. Collect the pods at this time, as this is the optimum time for harvesting the pod. If allowed to remain on the vine further, the pods split. Free vanillin is not present in the beans when they are harvested. They also do not have the aroma. Vanillin is developed as a result of enzyme action on a glycoside occurring during the process of curing of beans.


Harvested beans are subjected to curing which is characterized by four phases.
1. Killing or wilting beans to arrest the vegetative development in the fresh beans and initiate the enzymatic reactions responsible for the production of aroma and flavour. Killing is indicated by the development of a brown colouration of the bean.

2. Raising temperature of the killed beans (sweating) to promote the desired enzymatic reactions and to achieve rapid drying so as to prevent harmful fermentation.
3. Slow drying at ambient temperature until the beans have reached about one-third of original weight for the development of various fragrant substances.
4. Conditioning the beans by storing them in closed boxes for three months or longer to permit the full development of desired aroma and flavour.


Curing of vanilla involves immersing the beans (2-3 days after harvest) in hot water at a temperature of 63 to 65ºC for three minutes for the cessation of vegetative life. After a rapid drying on woolen blankets, when the beans are still very hot, they are kept in chests lined with blankets. Next day they are spread out in sun on blanket for three to four hours and rolled up to retain the heat. Repeat this for six to eight days during which beans lose their weight, become supple and can be twisted on finger without breaking. This is followed by slow drying in the shade for a period of two to three months. Properly dried beans are kept in trunks where the fragrance is fully developed. Finally, they are graded according to size and bundled and placed in iron boxes lined with paraffin  paper. The vanillin content of properly cured beans will be about 2.5 per cent.

Plant protection
The occurrence of a wilt disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum has been observed. For control of wilt disease adopt the following measures.

1. Remove diseased plants along with surrounding soil where the disease is observed.

2. Remove weeds around the plants.

3. Mulch the base of the vine with dry leaves before and after monsoon.
4. Avoid injury to roots during cultivation.
5. Drench soil around the base of vine with 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture.


Fungal diseases like shoot tip rot, stem and bean rot caused by Phytophthora sp. as well as immature bean drop are noticed. The disease affected portions are to be removed regularly and 1per cent Bordeaux mixture should be applied on the affected plants.

CLOVE (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove requires a warm humid tropical climate with an annual rainfall from 150-250 cm. It grows well from mean sea level up to an altitude of 800-900 m. Deep loam soils with high humus content and black loams of semi-forest regions with good drainage are suited for the cultivation of the crop.

Selection of site
Select partially shaded sites having adequate protection from high winds. Avoid exposed and shady locations.


Seeds and sowing
Clove is propagated through seeds obtained from fully developed fruits known as mother of clove. Collect fully developed fruits from regular bearing mother trees. Dehusk the fruits immediately after collection by soaking in water and peeling. Prepare raised nursery beds with fertile soil rich in humus under the shade of trees. Sow the seeds flat at a depth 2-5 cm and a spacing of 12-15 cm. Water the beds regularly. Seedlings can either be retained in the nursery till they attain a height of 25-30 cm when they are ready for transplanting or potted when they are six months old and transplanted after another 12-18 months.

Select 18 months old seedlings for planting. Prepare pits of size 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm at a spacing of 6 m x 6 m about a month in advance of planting. Allow to weather. Fill up the pits with mixture of burnt earth, compost and topsoil. Plant the seedlings during the rainy season, May-June or August-September. Provide shade and irrigation during breaks in the monsoon and summer. Banana or glyricidia may be planted to provide shade.


Clove is generally grown as a mixed crop with coffee, coconut, arecanut etc.



Apply cattle manure or compost at the rate of 15 kg per tree per annum during May-June.The recommended fertilizer dose is N:P2O5: K2O @ 20:18:50 g per plant during the first year and @ 40:36:100 g per plant during the second year. Increase gradually the dose to 300:250:750 g per plant per year for a well grown tree of 15 years or more. Apply organic manures in May-June with the commencement of southwest monsoon. Apply fertilizers in two equal split doses in May-June along with the organic manures and in September-October in shallow trenches dug around the plant about 1 to 1.25 m away from the base.


Conduct weeding and intercultivation whenever necessary. Cut and remove dead and diseased branches of fully grown trees to prevent over crowding. Spray 1per cent Bordeaux mixture to control dieback.


Harvesting and curing
The trees begin to yield from 7-8 years after planting. The stage of harvest of flower buds determine the quality of the final dried product. Buds are harvested when the base of calyx has turned from green to pink in colour. If allowed to develop beyond this stage, the buds open, petals drop and an inferior quality spice is obtained on drying.

Prior to drying, buds are removed from the stem by holding the cluster in one hand and pressing it against the palm of the other with a slight twisting movement. The clove buds and stems are piled separately for drying. Buds may be sorted to remove over ripe cloves and fallen flowers. Drying should be done immediately after the buds are separated from the clusters. If left too long in heaps, they ferment and the dried spice has a whitish shriveled appearance (khoker clove).


The traditional method of drying is by exposing them to sun in mats. The green buds are spread out in a thin layer on the drying floor and are raked from time to time to ensure the development of a uniform colour and to prevent mould formation. In sunny weather, drying is completed in 4-5 days giving a bright coloured dried spice of attractive appearance. During drying, clove loses about two-third of its original fresh green weight. When properly dried, it will turn bright brown and does not bend when pressed. The dried cloves are sorted to remove mother of cloves and khoker cloves, bagged and stored in a dry place. The stem after separation of buds is dried in a similar manner as the spice, without allowing mould formation and fermentation.


Clove bud oil

The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of comminuted buds or whole cloves. On distillation, about 17 per cent essential oil is obtained which is a colourless or yellow liquid possessing odour and flavour characteristic of the spice. Finest oil contains 85-89 per cent eugenol. Clove bud oil is used for flavouring food and in perfumery.


Clove stem oil
Clove stem oil is obtained from dried peduncles and stem of clove buds (5-7 per cent) on steam distillation. The eugenol content of the oil ranges from 90-95 per cent. This oil possesses a coarser and woodier odour than bud oil.

Clove leaf oil
Clove leaves on distillation yield 2-3 per cent oil as a dark brown liquid with a harsh woody odour. When rectified, it turns pale yellow and smells sweeter with a eugenol content of 80 to 85 per cent.



Clove oleoresin may be prepared by cold or hot extraction of crushed spices using organic solvents like acetone giving a recovery of 18-22 per cent. The oleoresin is chiefly used in perfumery and when used for flavouring it is dispersed on salt, flour etc.

Plant protection



Infestation of shoot borer Sinoxylon sp. on tender shoots of young plants can be prevented by prophylactic application of carbaryl 0.15 per cent. Prune off the laterals of old trees showing dieback symptoms. Do not allow dried glyricidia and other twigs to remain in the plantation, to ensure that the beetles will not multiply on these materials and subsequently initiate infestation in cloves.

Leaf spot, twig blight and flower bud shedding (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

Three types of symptoms are seen viz., leaf spot, twig blight and flower bud shedding. On the leaves, necrotic spots of variable sizes and shapes are noticed. Severely affected leaves wither, drop and dry up. In the nursery seedlings, dieback symptoms are seen. Extension of the symptoms from the leaves through petioles results in the infection of twigs. The affected branches stand without leaves or only with young leaves at the tips. The flower buds are attacked by spread of infection from the twigs. Shedding of flower buds occur during periods of heavy and continuous rainfall.


Spraying 1per cent Bordeaux mixture at 1-1.5 month intervals reduces disease intensity, defoliation and flower bud shedding. The spraying has to be commenced just prior to flower bud formation and continued till the harvest of flower buds for effective control. Destruction of the weed Clerodendron from the clove garden is recommended to reduce the disease since the pathogen survives on this weed during adverse conditions.

The other diseases of clove are: 
Grey blight of clove (Pestalotia palmarum), Leaf spot of clove (Cylindrocladium quinqueseptatum), Leaf spot of clove (Alternaria citri), Sooty mould of clove (Phragmocapnius sp.), Algal leaf spot of clove (Cephaleuros sp.) and Little leaf of clove (suspected to be due to Phytoplasma).

CINNAMON (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

Cinnamon grows in areas up to an altitude of about 1800 m. Humid tropical evergreen rain forest conditions favour the best growth of cinnamon. Well-drained, deep sandy soil, rich in humus is suitable for the crop. Avoid marshy areas and hard laterites.


Navasree, Nithyasree and Sugandini.


Seeds and sowing

Cinnamon is usually propagated through seeds. Sow seeds immediately after harvest on raised beds. Pot seedlings when they are six months old.


Vegetative propagation

For raising cinnamon from cuttings; semi hardwood cuttings of about 10 cm length with 2 leaves are taken and dipped in IBA 2000 ppm and planted either in polythene bags filled with sand or a mixture of sand and coirdust in the ratio 1:1 or in sand beds raised in a shaded place. The cuttings in polythene bags must also be kept in a shaded place or in a nursery. The cuttings are to be watered regularly 2-3 times a day for maintaining adequate moisture and prevent wilting. Rooting takes place in 45-60 days. The well rooted cuttings can be transplanted to polythene bags filled with potting mixture and maintained in a shaded place and watered regularly.

Air Layering

Air layering is recommended for all cinnamon nurseries. It is done on semi hardwood shoots. A ring of bark is removed from the semi hardwood portion of the shoot and a rooting hormone (IBA 2000 ppm or IAA 2000 ppm) is applied on the portion where the bark has been removed. Moist coir dust or coir husk is placed around the region where the hormone has been applied and is secured in position by wrapping with a polythene sheet of 20 cm length. This would also avoid moisture loss. Rooting takes place in 40-60 days. The well rooted air layers are separated from the mother plant and bagged in polythene bags filled with potting mixture and kept in a shaded place or nursery by watering the plants twice daily.



Select seedlings with green leaf petioles. Plant seedlings in the main field when they are 1-2 years old with the commencement of southwest monsoon. Planting is done in pits of size 60 cm x 60 cm at a spacing of 2 m x 2 m. Dig the pits sufficiently early to allow weathering. Fill the pit with leaf mould and topsoil before planting.



Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 20:20:25 g per seedling in the first year and double this dose in the second year. Cattle manure or compost at 20 kg per plant per annum may also be applied. Increase the dose of N:P2O5:K2O gradually to 200:180:200 g per tree per year for grown up plants of 10 years and above. Apply organic manures in May-June and fertilizers in two equal split doses, in

May-June and September-October.



Weed regularly in the early stages of growth. Irrigate the seedlings till they get established, if there is long drought period. Prune plants when they are 2-3 years old at a height of 15 cm above ground level. Cut the side shoots growing from the base to encourage growth of more side shoots till the whole plant assumes the shape of a low bush.


Harvesting and curing

The plants will be ready for harvest in about 3 years after planting. Harvesting is done during two seasons, the first in May and second in November. The correct time for cutting the shoots for peeling is determined by noting the sap circulation between the wood and corky layer. Peelers can judge this by making a test cut on the stem with a sharp knife. If the bark separates readily, the cutting is taken immediately. Stems measuring 2.0 to 2.5 cm in diameter and 1.5 to 2.0 m length are cut early in the morning and twigs and leaves are detached. The outer brown skin is first scrapped off and the stem is rubbed briskly to loosen the bark. Two cuts are made round the stem about 30 cm apart and two longitudinal slits are made on opposite sides of the stem. The bark is separated from the wood with curved knife. The detached pieces of bark are made into compound quills. The best and longest quills are used on the outside while inside is filled with smaller pieces. The compound quills are rolled by hand to press the outside edges together and are neatly trimmed. They are dried in shade as direct exposure to sun can result in warping. The dried quills consist of mixture of coarse and fine types and are yellowish brown in colour.

The quills are graded as Fine or Continental, Mexican and Hamburg or Ordinary. The Fine consists of quills of uniform thickness, colour and quality and the joints of the quills are neat. Mexican grades are intermediate in quality. The Hamburg grade consists of thicker and darker quills. The lower grades are exported as: (a) Quillings: The broken lengths and fragments of quills of all

grades are bulked and sold as quillings; (b) Featherings: This grade consists of the inner bark of twigs and twisted shoots that do not give straight quills of normal length.


Chips: This includes the trimmings of the cut shoots, shavings of outer and inner bark, which cannot be separated, or which are obtained from small twigs and odd pieces of thick outer bark.



Cinnamon oleoresin is prepared by extracting cinnamon bark with organic solvent. Oleoresin yield varies from 10 to 12 per cent. The oleoresin is dispersed on sugar, salt and used for flavouring processed foods.


Cinnamon bark oil

A pale yellow liquid possessing the delicate aroma of the spice is obtained by steam distillation of quills (0.2 to 0.5 per cent). Its major component is cinnamaldehyde (55 per cent) but other components like eugenol, eugenyl acetate, ketones, esters and terpenes also impart the characteristic odour and flavour to this oil. Cinnamon bark oil is used in flavouring bakery foods, sauces,

pickles, confectionery, soft drinks, dental and pharmaceutical preparations and also in perfumery.


Cinnamon leaf oil

Cinnamon leaf oil is produced by steam distillation of leaves yielding 0.5 to 0.7 per cent oil. It is yellow to brownish yellow in colour and possesses a warm, spicy but rather harsh odour. The major constituent is eugenol (70 to 90 per cent) while the cinnamaldehyde content is less than five per cent. The oil is used in perfumery and flavouring, and also as a source of eugenol.

Cinnamon root bark oil

The root bark contains 1.0 to 2.8 per cent oil containing camphor as the main constituent. Cinnamaldehyde as well as traces of eugenol are found in the oil, having less commercial relevance.

Plant protection
Leaf spot and dieback disease (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

On young nursery seedlings, small brown specks appear which gradually enlarge resulting in drying of the leaf. From the leaves, the infection spreads to the stem, resulting in necrosis from the apex downwards.

On old seedlings and mature trees, light and dark brown concentric zonation occurs. Spraying 1per cent Bordeaux mixture during rainy season controls the disease.


The other diseases of cinnamon include grey blight caused by Pestalotiopsis palmarum, sooty mould caused by Phragmocapnius sp. and algal leaf spot by Cephaleuros sp.