Methods of planting

The systems of planting vary according to the land, soil fertility and the probable period over which the plantations are expected to last. In some places seedlings are planted in holes, just scooped out at the time of planting. In other areas, considerable care is taken in the preparation of planting pits. The spots where pits are to be dug are marked with stakes, soil dug out from pits, and they are filled with surface soil mixed with leaf mould, compost or cattle manure (Subbaiah, 1940).

A pit size of 60 X 60 X 45 cm3 is commonly used. Trials also were carried out in some estates with pits 90 cm3 or even 120 X 120 X 30 cm3. In South and North Karnataka, pits are smaller, usually 45 cm3 (Mayne, 1951).

In Kerala, for planting var. Mysore and Vazhukka, usually pits of 60 X 45 X 45 cm are used. Normally pits are opened during April—May after the pre-monsoon showers. Pits are filled with a mixture of topsoil and compost or well rotten farmyard manure and 100 g of rock phosphate. In sloppy land, contour terraces are to be made sufficiently in advance and pits taken along the contour (Anonymous, 1985, 1986).

Most cardamom growing tracts are situated on hill slopes of Western Ghats. The undulating terrain and the heavy rainfall in the region increase the problem of soil erosion and run off losses of rainwater and nutrients. So it is imperative to conserve adequate soil moisture and make provisions for safe disposal of water. In view of this, background studies were conducted on systems of planting-cum-fertilizer levels in cardamom under rainfed condition at IISR (Cardamom Research Centre, Appangala) from 1985 onwards. In such trials the maiden yields obtained just 2 years after planting were the highest. The impact of systems of planting coupled with graded doses of fertilizers on the growth and yield of cardamom is given in Table 4.1. Korikanthimath (1989) reported greater moisture retention under the trench system than under the pit system of planting, and concluded that the trench system is better than the pit system.

Trenches may be taken at a width of 45 cm and depth of 30 cm to any running length across the slope or along the contour. Top 15 cm fertile soil may be taken out and kept separately on top (higher) side and the lower 15 cm depth soil excavated from trenches placed below the trench. The top 15 cm depth soil may be filled back in the trenches along with cattle manure. While closing the pits about 5 cm deep space may

Table 4.1 Yield of dry cardamom (kg/ha) as influenced by systems of planting and fertilisers levels

Systems of planting (A)

NPK fertilizers (kg/ha) (B)

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