Other field operations

Other field operations practiced in cardamom fields are trashing, raking, digging and earthing up. Trashing consists of removing old and drying shoots of cardamom plants. From second year after planting, trashing is to be carried out every year. Trashing facilitates better sunlight penetration and aeration, there by promoting tiller initiation and growth as well as reduction in thrips and aphids population. It also helps in better pollination by honeybees (Korikanthimath and Venugopal, 1989). In the rainfed areas, trashing time is May, after the receipt of pre-monsoon showers. The trashed leaves and leafy stems may be heaped between the rows and allowed to decay or used for composting.

Towards the end of monsoon rains, a light raking or soil digging is done around plants at a radius of about 75 cm. The soil mulch thus formed around plants would help to conserve moisture for the ensuing dry period. This practice is particularly useful in low rainfall areas. Digging, not less than 25 cm deep once in 2 years, may be recommended to the whole area and immediate application of farmyard manure or organic manure such as bone meal, sterameal, groundnut cake, etc. that will produce a fairly good result. Digging can also be done in patches; however, it is necessary every year, particularly in clayey soil (Kuttappa, 1969).

Towards the end of the rainy season a thin layer of fresh fertile soil, rich in organic matter may be provided to the base of the clump, covering up to the collar region. The soil is taken by scraping between the rows or collecting soil from trenches/check pits. The thin layer of soil applied in the centre of clumps will not only keep them intact and cover the exposed roots but also will check the walking habit (radial growth) of cardamom (Korikanthimath and Venugopal, 1989). Care must be taken not to heap up the soil above collar region of the clump.

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