Growing Curry Leaf Plants:
The following details are about “Growing Curry Leaf Plants“.
GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS – INTRODUCTION OF CURRY LEAVES:
The curry leaves are very popular spice generally used in small quantities in many cuisines. The presence of volatile oil gives us a nice aroma to the food and improves the ability of digestion. The use of curry leaves was first mentioned in the Tamil literature in the late 1st – 4th century A.D. The curry leaves are considered to have first originated from the Himalayas. The Ravi river located in Pakistan is expected to have distributed the plant roots to Assam in India and Chittagong in Bangladesh. This plant is also widely distributed to the southwards of India in places like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, but now-a day it is also cultivated in West Bengal and Assam.
The Curry leaves are scientifically named as Murraya Koenigii. The tree is found extensively in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It belongs to the family of Rutaceae. The tree almost looks like neem tree and the leaves are also called as “sweet neem leaves”. The leaves are often used in curries for the fragrance and flavour. These are cultivated in various countries like China, Australia, Ceylon and Nigeria. It is believed that each and every part of the tree is useful in some or the other way.
GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS – CHARACTERISTICS OF CURRY LEAVES:
- The curry leaf tree is small in size. They grow up to 4-6 m in length and the width of the tree trunk is 40 cm. The diameter of the trunk 16 inches on an average.
- The leaves are pinnate with 11-21 leaflets.
- Each leaflet is of 2-4 cm length and 1-2 cm broad.
- The plant also produces a flower which is white in colour.
- These flowers help in self pollinating which produce small shiny black berries.
- Those berries are pulpy, edible and sweet in taste, but the flavour is medicinal.
GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS – PROPERTIES OF CURRY LEAVES:
- It is believed that the curry leaves contain carbohydrates, energy, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron and minerals.
- Nicotinic acid is also present in the curry leaves.
- The curry leaves contain vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
- Fat content in curry leaves is 0.1 grams per 100 grams.
- Antioxidants, amino acids, flavonoids, plant sterols and glycosides are all found in small quantities in the curry leaves.
SOIL AND CLIMATE REQUIREMENTS IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
The soil which is more suitable for GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS is light textured red loamy soil. Although any soil is suitable for the cultivation of the curry leaves, but it is believed that for commercial cultivation red loamy type of soil would be extremely beneficial. They can tolerate the temperature up to 37˚C and also temperatures less than 6˚C can harm the growth of the plants. There is no particular climate specification for this plant because it thrives in dry humid climates also.
LAND PREPARATION AND PLANTING IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
Like any other plant the commercial cultivation of curry leaves need some land preparation. The land should be harrowed two to three times and the land should be cleaned by removing stones and pebbles. It should be made plain and fine before planting the seedlings. In small pits with more depth, fertile soil transplantation can be done directly. The pit size should be at least 1.5 x 1.5 x 2 ft. Before six months of planting, the pits are dug and are left open to the climatic conditions for few months, then the pits are filled with rotten compost and green leaves as manure.
In general, the curry leaf plant does not need to be fertilized with inorganic sources for better growth. For a commercial crop the farm needs high yield, then fertilization is required. The crops generally require Farm Yard Manure (FYM) of 20 kg and Nitrogen: Phosphorous: Potassium @ 150:25:50 grams per year.
The planting should be done with 90- 120 cm of space on either side of the plants. Before planting the seeds, pits of dimensions 30 x 30 x 30 cm should be dug and filled with top soil mixed with well decomposed Farmyard manure. The seeds which are healthy should be planted in the center of the pits. The pits should be facilitated with easy and light irrigation.
PROPAGATION METHOD IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
The curry leaves may be propagated through seeds. For high-yielding in plants, the well-ripe fruits are collected and the seedlings are raised. The seeds are sown in poly bags or in the nursery which are filled with 1:1:1 sand mixture, soil and farmyard manure. In 3 weeks the seeds get germinated. One year old seedlings are planted onto the main area.
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The plants have many root suckers which can be used for propagation. These are planted in the main field in the rainy season by separating them from the main plant. The root suckers are treated with proper chemicals for protecting them from various diseases.
MANURE AND FERTILIZERS IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
The curry leaf plant doesn’t require any inorganic fertilizers. Only for the reason of higher yield, manure and the fertilizers should sometimes be supplied to the plant. The crop requires 10 kg of farmyard manure and N: P: K ratio of 60:80:40 grams per plant in a year. During the monsoon fertilizers need to be applied to the plants.
IRRIGATION METHOD IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
In non-rainy season, irrigation should be supplied to the plants regularly. The plant should be irrigated with an interval of 3 days. If there are no rains, the field should be kept weed free. The plants should be pruned and trained to maintain 1 cm of height. To encourage lateral branching, the buds are removed from the terminals. A curry leaf plant may have 5-6 branches minimum. We should adopt rain water and external irrigation methods for conserving water in the soil. The most advantageous practice for soil moisture retention for the crop is mulching.
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WEED CONTROL MEASURES IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
To prevent weeds, hoeing the field should be done periodically so that the weeds are reduced and the plants grow properly and produce good yields. The application of pre-emergency herbicides can also be applied to prevent weeds near young curry leaf plants.
TOPPING MEASURES FOR GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
In the curry leaf tree the leaves are the economically important part. For the maximum encouragement of leaf production in the plants they have to be topped first around 100 cm height. By doing this the branching is profuse on all sides. The plant should again be pruned regularly for the encouragement of branching. The additional dosage of N: P: K in required proportions is to be supplied to the plants. By topping they acquire good shape in leaves and branches. The leaves need enough sunlight for growing.
PEST AND DISEASES CONTROL MEASURES IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
In general, the curry leaf plant doesn’t get infected by diseases and pest. For the protection of plants the very mild dosage of pesticide can be sprayed 15 days before the harvesting of the leaves. The soil borne diseases may affect the plants, but these diseases can be controlled by using 1-2 kg of neem cake per plant in a year.
GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS – HARVESTING OF CURRY LEAVES:
The leaf quality decreases if the curry leaf plant is allowed to fruit and flower. The process of pruning or topping is also considered as a part of harvesting the leaves. Before the flowering season, pruning and harvesting should be done. The leaves should be harvested before the arrival of winter so that the leaves don’t start shedding.
YIELD IN GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
The tree which is grown completely produces 100 kg of leaves. The complete growth of the tree occurs after 15 months from planting. The commercial yield starts after 3 years from sowing. The curry leaf tree can produce leaves until 20-25 years. The average yield from curry leaf trees is 20-25 tonnes per hectare.
GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS – PACKING OF CURRY LEAVES:
The packing should be in such a way that the leaves should be devoid of moisture and therefore, air tight containers should be used in packing.
GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS – USES OF CURRY LEAVES:
- Diarrhoea is cured by the curry leaves.
- This is also used for the culinary purpose.
- It protects us from the Gastrointestinal problems.
- As it contains antioxidants and vitamins, it helps in reducing oxidative stress.
- It also reduces the rate of diabetes. As it contains anti-diabetic properties in it.
- The curry leaves also help to fight against cancer.
- The cholesterol levels are reduced by the curry leaves.
- It improves the growth of hair. Curry leaves paste can be applied to the hair in order to treat gray hair.
- Improves eye sight.
- It protects us against pathogen attack.
- The juice of curry leaves can be applied to the burns, cuts, bruises, skin irritations and insect bites. It can be applied for the recovering and healing of skin.
CONCLUSION OF GROWING CURRY LEAF PLANTS:
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The curry plant is a perennial plant and can grow in the wild. It can grow anywhere without any care for two years. The oil from the curry leaf plant is used in perfume industries.